Starting today, there is a new gender equity project launching into the ultimate community, Step Up, Step Out. Organized by the Gender Equity Action Group, a group of leaders in the gequity movement from across the nation, in collaboration with Upwind Ultimate, the project is focused on a facet of equity that is less often explored: the role of men in making ultimate more equitable. The campaign consists of videos of male ultimate players simply talking about gender equity in ultimate and describing the importance of men getting involved in the work that’s being done towards a more equitable sport. The goal of the project is to show male-identified ultimate players that they have a role in this movement, and they are not alone in speaking up.
The first video can be found here. It includes a number of elite club and semi-pro players, Callahan winners and national team representatives. Big names in the ultimate community are choosing to “step up” and show that gender equity in ultimate is not just a problem for female players to deal with, but something our community must address together. To follow the campaign, you can find Step Up, Step Out on YouTube and Instagram, and Upwind Ultimate on their website, Facebook and Twitter.
Read the full press release below:
The Gender Equity Action Group (GEAG) announces a new, collaborative project: Step Up, Step Out.
The work around gender equity in the past year has been inspiring. Voices internal and external to the GEAG have been working tirelessly to educate, advocate, and demand positive changes for women in our sport. Great work has been done. But much of this work has been lead by women. We believe men in ultimate have a responsibility to be louder; to learn, to converse, to educate, and to collectively step up and out into the gender equity movement in ultimate.
What is Step Up, Step Out?
Step Up, Step Out is a series of videos showcasing male ultimate players’ thoughts about gender equity in ultimate. The goal of the project is to encourage males in our sport to share and understand perspectives, to model and encourage community conversation, and to inspire more action towards gender equity. Leaders within GEAG and Upwind Ultimate collaborated to produce the project. We hope that Step up, Step Out will engage and mobilize more males in the community to affect change at the local, national, and global level.
Here is the first video. Please share via social media, using the hashtag #StepUpStepOut. Talk to a friend about it. Write a blog post. Whatever taking action in your community looks like-- just step up, and step out.
Step Up, Step Out Platforms:
Step Up Step Out Social Media
#StepUpStepOut will be a video series published on it’s own youtube and Instagram account. The Upwind Ultimate facebook page and website will also host content.
The GEAG will make all announcements and post all resources following the video series via Upwind Ultimate’s media outlets.Questions Answered:
Why are men the focus of this series?
Men benefit from systems and biases present in sports, and more men need to acknowledge their privilege and use it to inspire positive change. We believe that too many are being silent on major issues in our sport, especially around gender equity. These same men are the ones most highlighted and featured in the public eye. It's time to speak up.
Men aren't looking for a pat on the back, or trying to “save the day.” It's about doing what’s right; we’re doing our part.
What about women?
This project has included and involved women from the beginning. The GEAG leaders have been on board in helping manifest this project.
That said, most initiatives around gender equity in ultimate are being spearheaded by women, and men should not rely on them as a crutch. We hope women will support men in being courageous and vulnerable. We hope that men continue to listen to women in the community, learn from their experiences, and help lift the burden of their emotional labor brought on by taxing conversations and projects.
We will be talking and working with women to help us craft/edit our goals and message. Women will also be in the video series.
Who is leading/initiating this project?
Claire Chastain - GEAG Leadership, Molly Brown, Team USA,
Chip Chang - GEAG Leadership, Minneapolis Pop
Hannah Leathers - #StepUpStepOut Project Manager, Molly Brown
Mario O’Brien - #StepUpStepOut Project Manager, Sockeye, Seattle Cascades, Team USA Beach
Elliott Erickson - #StepUpStepOut Project Manager, Johnny Bravo, formerly Atlanta Hustle
Nick Stuart - Revolver, formerly Seattle Cascades, Team USA
Trent Dillon - Sockeye, Team USA, formerly Philadelphia Spinners
Pat Baylis - Revolver, SF Flamethrowers
Jimmy Mickle - GEAG Leadership, Johnny Bravo, Dallas Roughnecks, Team USA
Quotes from a few project organizers:
“I’m excited at the prospect of different people, especially often silent men, speaking up and engaging in these conversations with critical thought.” - Trent Dillon
“Every man who supports and shares this film is also saying that they will be held accountable. That's not to deter men from sharing or supporting it, but the biggest limit of this film is men saying they support gender equity, but then doing or saying something else. It's okay to make mistakes, we make them all the time. But apologize and commit to doing better.” - Chip Chang
“If you're looking for a way to learn from your peers and find your voice for change, Step Up Step Out is a great way to start. Step Up Step Out matters to me because the gender equity conversation isn’t happening enough in the mens division. We don’t see each other, and tournaments are busy, it’s time to make it a priority within our division.” - Nick Stuart
"I'm so excited and proud of this project! I hope Step Up Step Out breaks the ice and makes it easier for males, both adults and youth, to have real, meaningful conversations about gender equity in ultimate, as well as other tough conversations. We need to talk to and listen to each other more. We need to be vulnerable, make mistakes, own them, learn from them, and affect positive change... and I hope #SUSO paves the way for it. " -Mario O'Brien
“To me, this project isn’t just about male-identifying players stepping up. It’s about making it easier for them to find camaraderie and support within these issues, rather than guilt and helplessness. I hope this project shows how many strong opinions there in our community, which are often silenced or held within peer groups. People are talking. Male players are talking. Let’s all talk together. Loudly and openly.” - Hannah Leathers
“It's time for men to acknowledge their advantage and privilege in the ultimate community and use their position of power to work towards an equitable sport.” - Elliott Erickson
“This project is important in so many ways. I hope it gets more men thinking about the many challenges women in ultimate face on and off the field. I hope it moves more men into action, and that they recognize this movement is vital to the future of our sport. And I hope that they realize they can have a real, positive impact on how women in ultimate are perceived by members inside and outside of the community.” -Claire Chastain
Videos will be a series of 1-4 minute selfie/blog videos. Examples:
Video, because it...
What about other resources created? Calls to action?
We hope #StepUpStepOut inspires people to ask for and create resources (articles? essays? educational resources?) that can help further the GEAG mission and vision. If that happens, we’ll aim to publish on UpWind Ultimate. But #StepUpStepOut itself is explicitly a video project, at least for now.
Videos will continue to come out through the 2017 club season.
What’s the endgame here? Tangible changes we’d like to affect? Why this? Why now?
Each individual organizer of this project holds different opinions on how to advance gender equity in ultimate. As the project developed, we realized that every idea and action boiled down to, “people just need to be talking about it more.” We believe that until having these conversations becomes more normalized, we as a community likely won’t be able to come up with the proper ‘solutions’.
Why right now?
With the growth and prominence of the the AUDL, we sense an increased imbalance in regard to gender equity. We see this imbalance having a HUGE effect on the sport of ultimate and how it’s perceived globally. We see a de-emphasis on gender equity, and the more traction a men’s-only league gains, the more we move away from our vision of the sport. Also, the GEAG movement started last summer was a great first step, and we think the ground is fertile for more/deeper conversation and impact.