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YouTube launches #ProudToPlay campaign as a celebration of LGBT athletes

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Over the last couple years there has been some courageous athletes who have came out as gay. They have changed perception and through their bravery, they have helped changed minds. On Monday, YouTube, along with parent company Google, launched their 2014 Gay Pride campaign #ProudToPlay in honor of these athletes who are continuing to make a different.

In a YouTube video released by the campaign, athletes like Jason Collins, Michael Sam, Robbie Rogers and Tom Daley amongst other notable gay athletes are shown demonstrating their strength during their coming out moments. The campaigns focus is to encourage YouTubers to join the conversation by uploading videos about LGBT sports issues, which will be highlighted by YouTube over the next month. The videos will be featured on the YouTube Spotlight Channel.

By making sports the focus of the company’s Gay Pride efforts, YouTube is making a statement on how important LGBT sports issues are in mainstream culture. The importance was recently highlighted when Sam became the first openly gay player drafted by an NFL team just a couple of months after Jason Collins became the first active openly gay player to play in an NBA game. The breaking down of these barriers has helped change minds and has continued efforts towards acceptance.

YouTube Marketing manager Raymond Braun emphasized the importance of sports in a statement he released regarding the campaign. He said “Sports bring together people from all background and experiences through a shared passion, and YouTube shares that spirit of connecting diverse communities to make a difference.”

From the Sochi Olympics to the upcoming World Cup in Brazil, sports have become an outlet where people of all background can find connections and common goals. As the late Nelson Mandela says at the start of the video, “Sport has the power to change the world.”

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