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The San Jose Sharks used their Twitter account to give information and facts about LGBTQIA+ topics after goalie James Reimer declined to wear a Pride jersey in warmups on Saturday.
The Sharks posted a message ahead of their game against the New York Islanders about how the team would use their social media account.
“During tonight’s game, in lieu of our normal game content, we will be using this platform to offer information and facts about LGBTQIA+ topics,” the statement read. “Our hope is that this content will serve as a reminder that there are issues more important than goals, highlights and wins.
“Hockey is not for everyone until everyone is comfortable playing, working, or being a fan of this incredible game.”
In its series of tweets, the Sharks talked about a “third gender” in “other cultures.”
“Worldwide, gender diversity is seen far differently than that in the Western World or as you may know it,” the Sharks tweeted. “Most of us are familiar with the male, female, and transgender labels. But in other cultures, the existence of ‘the third gender’ or even fourth and fifth genders is common:
“The muxe gender is a respected third gender in Zapotec cultures in Oaxaca, Mexico, that has existed for centuries. Gunaa are those who were born as men but who identify as women & are attracted to men. The Nguii are those who were born as men and are attracted to other men.
“The Ninauposkitzipxpe were honored as a third gender in the North Peigan tribe of the Blackfoot Confederacy in northern Montana and Southern Alberta, Canada.”
The Sharks also tweeted statistics about the violence against the LGBTQ community and stats about suicides or attempted suicides in the LGBTQ youth community.
“Thank you all for a night of celebration & reflection about our Pride Community,” the team tweeted
“We know that one organization can’t make all the changes we seek to make hockey (and the world) more welcoming to all, but it’s a start.
“With all of you, we can make an impact.”
Reimer created a stir when he refused to wear the Pride jersey, saying it ran counter to his religious beliefs. He said he made the decision based on his Christian beliefs, adding that he “always strived to treat everyone with respect” and that members of the LGBTQ community should be welcome in hockey.
“In this specific instance, I am choosing not to endorse something that is counter to my personal convictions, which are based on the Bible, the highest authority in life,” Reimer said.
The You Can Play Project, which works to promote inclusiveness in sports, released a statement on Reimer’s decision.
“Religion and respect are not in conflict with each other, and we are certainly disappointed when religion is used as a reason to not support our community,” the organization said. “Wearing pride jerseys, like any celebration jersey worn, is not about the personal feelings of an athlete; rather the communication from the team that a community is welcome in the arena and the sport.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.