Tigers’ Centerhalf Back Ally Dykes dedicates her season to tackling oppression
Sports can be spaces that provide tools, communities and experiences to help alleviate suffering and move people toward flourishing. Sports can positively impact people in the moment of experience and over time through accumulated experiences. Sports help build important mental, emotional, physical and social resources for people to experience a sense of thriving as they move toward their full potential.
My own involvement with sports has changed my life in ways I can’t fit in this piece. They are loyal and consistent for me in my rawest and most difficult moments, and they are consistently growth producing and supportive of my development in a way that helps me connect with the truest, most embodied and fullest version of myself. Sports help me experience a sense of value and belonging unmatched anywhere else. These reliable and empowering resources are something every person deserves the right to access and experience, but right now an entire group of people are being increasingly denied these life-saving and life-giving resources.
Marginalized communities and individuals in our society are the ones who need the spaces, messages and resources that sports provide the most, and instead oppressive bills are being passed that further marginalize the trans community and deny their inclusion in sports. Sports are being used as a tool to further push trans people aside and deny their existence. The antidote to this oppressive exclusion is proactive inclusion through values-based actions taken consistently as a sports community. The current context of the oppression of trans girls and women in sport highlights the need for urgency to act toward inclusion and emphasize their belonging.
I dedicated my season to tackling oppression by raising money to donate to the organization Athlete Ally, whose work is focused on making sports inclusive for all. For every tackle I make, I am donating $1 to the organization, and the Centennial Tigers are matching my donation. Several of my teammates are joining me in this campaign.
I asked for my donations to go toward their work to make sports safe and inclusive for the trans community. This campaign to tackle oppression is motivated by the strong desire and realized responsibility we have as a community to counteract harmful messages of oppression and provide safe spaces for people to experience and embody the life-giving emotions that can contribute to human flourishing. Please consider sharing and supporting.
If you want to follow along, I post updates biweekly on Instagram on my account: @the.desire.path. I also have a page for my campaign, which can be found at give.classy.org/tacklingoppression. If you want to get involved, I would love to use your unique strengths, passions and community involvements to help have a bigger impact than I could have alone.
The trans community needs to see more people taking actions to promote their support, belonging and inclusion, and I hope that you choose to join in taking action to help make sports inclusive for all.