Anna Aagenes Leaving Brian Sims’s Office to Work For You Can Play


Headshot by Sarah Rabot

Headshot by Sarah Rabot

After a little over two years as State Representative Brian Sims’s deputy chief of staff, Anna Aagenes is moving on to a new gig that will find her working for LGBT people in sports. 

Starting March 23rd, the Penn grad will step into the role of vice president of operations for You Can Play Project, a nonprofit that works to promote LGBTQ inclusivity in sporting leagues across the nation. There, among other things, she tells me her duties will run the gamut from general management of programs and developing partnerships with leagues and media to spearheading athletic conferences. One of her most important missions, however, is partnering with organizations to secure more female athlete involvement and helping to expand initiatives to make sure female leagues and female athletes get the spotlight they deserve.

“As a female athlete and former student athlete, I think it’s incredibly important that female athletes are a primary part of our conversation about LGBT people in sports. Also, the “B” in LGBT sometimes doesn’t get talked about, so I’m hoping to insert that in the conversation, being bi myself. I’m excited there’s this opportunity for me and other people to be able to do this kind of advocacy work. Years ago, this type of organization would be unheard of. The support behind that gives me a lot of hope, because people are putting the pieces together about why these types of organizations and roles have value.”

This is a grander-scale continuation of Aagenes’ work as the former executive director of GO! Athletes, a smaller, grassroots organization for LGBT people in sports. In that position she developed a partnership with You Can Play, and caught the eye of Executive Director Wade Davis, who says he’s overjoyed to welcome Anna to their team.

“In her work for my good friend Brian Sims, Anna has shown tremendous energy, leadership, and creativity in working to make life better for the people of Pennsylvania. In addition, Anna’s transformative work as Executive Director of GO! Athletes was an inspiration to me and LGBT athletes everywhere. While we know Brian is losing an important member of his team, we are honored that Anna has chosen You Can Play as her next avenue in her journey to change the world.”

Aagnes, a Bucks County native, majored in Gender, Society and Culture at University of Pennsylvania. She was the team captain for the Women’s Track & Field and Cross Country teams, where she became a two-time NCAA Division I regional qualifier and a school record holder in three relay events. She also racked up all kinds of gold for Philadelphia at last year’s Gay Games in Cleveland and, while we’re talking accolades, she was named an LGBT Champion on Philly Mag’s 2014 list of Best Philadelphians.

You Can Play Project is based in New York, but she will be able to work from Philadelphia for now. She will also continue to work with GO! Athletes in an advisory capacity, and hopes that the fact that she’s from Philadelphia will allow her to do more work in the 215. We wish her all the best of luck. 


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