LGBTQ+ Inclusion and Finding Community in Parks and Recreation — Episode 041

By Roxanne Sutton and Cort Jones | Posted on June 10, 2019

LGBTQ Inclusion Podcast 410

On today’s episode of Open Space Radio, we’re talking inclusion. And, in celebration of June being Pride Month, we’re talking specifically about LGBTQ+ inclusion in parks and recreation.

In our research about LGBTQ+ issues and parks and recreation, we came across a really great blog by Jason Shriner, the marketing manager for the City of Manassas Park Department of Parks and Recreation — right here in Virginia. Jason’s blog talks about some of his own experiences and how working in parks and recreation means being a leader in LGBTQ+ inclusion.

Since he was right in our backyard, we invited Jason over to NRPA headquarters to pick his brain about inclusion and talk a little more about that blog.

On this episode, Jason shares how he got into parks and recreation (spoiler: he and Roxanne share a deep-rooted love of baking), how his own journey has led him to being a leader in LGBTQ+ inclusion and why he thinks inclusion is so critical in parks and recreation.

He also shares a few things that the City of Manassas Park Department of Parks and Recreation has done to ensure that its parks and facilities are more inclusive and welcoming to all, including:

  • Partnering with organizations like PFLAG (parents, families and friends of the LGBTQ+ community) and Team DC (an LGBTQ+ sports club in Washington, D.C.)
  • Offering LGBTQ+ specific programs like yoga and self-defense
  • Using gender-neutral and inclusive language in handbooks/policies
  • Replacing gender-specific, single-stall bathrooms with all-gender bathrooms
  • Adding sexual orientation and gender identity to agency’s non-discrimination policy

These are just a few of the amazing things that Jason has helped facilitate at his agency, so be sure to tune in below to learn more, as well as hear some small changes that you can make in your parks and facilities to ensure that everyone feels safe and welcome. 

Listen to the episode for the full story.