Peyton O'Conner (they/she), Director of Buncombe County Recreation Services, recently joined the National Recreation and Park Association's Open Space Radio for a discussion on fostering an LGBTQ+ inclusive environment in parks and recreation. They discuss work being done to make Buncombe County's outdoor spaces and recreation facilities welcoming, safe places through partnerships, advocacy, and work by department team members.
Tune in to the full episode online to learn more about how Peyton is using their own experience as a member of the LGBTQ+ community to advocate for creating more inclusive spaces and programs in parks and recreation. You’ll also learn:
- What compelled Peyton to reach out to NRPA when they first noticed the guidance on transgender inclusion in youth sports.
- The importance of approaching conversations about LGBTQ+ inclusion the same as any other anti-discrimination policy — based on a set of facts and not up for discussion or debate.
- How Buncombe County realized the need for a formal inclusion policy for trans kids, and how staff and the community responded.
- How park and recreation professionals can advocate for more inclusive policies in their own communities.
- How small changes, like using individuals' preferred pronouns and gender-neutral restrooms, can have a huge impact, and much more.
Peyton and Becky Herz (she/her), Sacramento County Regional Parks Commissioner, were also interviewed by the Aspen Institute's Project Play for a blog titled, "A Pathway to Trans Inclusion in Youth Sports." Following a record-breaking year of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, park and recreation professionals have a unique opportunity to positively influence norms, practices, and policies to create a youth sports culture that is inclusive and welcoming to all.
Listen to the Open Space Radio podcast, "Fostering an LGBTQ+ Inclusive Environment in Parks and Recreation — Episode 094"
Read the Open Space blog post, "A Pathway to Trans Inclusion in Youth Sports."
Every park has a history made up of the thousands of experiences and memories made within it. With the theme of "Our Park and Recreation Story," this year's Park and Recreation Month showcases stories of those who love parks and recreation and the professionals who make parks and recreation happen.
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