100 Women We Love: Class Of 2018

Each one of these women, in her own unique way, is a role model who exemplifies the best of the LGBTQ community.

Katie Sowers

Photo by NBC News

Katie Sowers’ father was a college basketball coach, and, growing up, she knew she wanted to follow in his career footsteps. But football was her love. “One day it clicked,” Sowers says, “and I realized that I did not have to let my gender limit my goals.” So she broke her way into a sport highly identified with not just men, but heterosexual men. In 2016, Sowers became the first openly gay coach in the NFL. She’s now in her third season — first with the Atlanta Falcons and now with the San Francisco 49ers as an Offensive Assistant Coach. She joined the 49ers as a recipient of the Bill Walsh Diversity Fellowship, working with wide receivers. In 2017, she was named the OutSports Female Hero of the Year. A football player herself, Sowers spent eight years in the Women’s Football Alliance, and was a member of the 2013 United States Women’s National Football Team. She hopes that the barriers she has shattered can inspire others to do the same, no matter what field they are interested in. “With my job, I have an opportunity to do what I love while creating an opportunity for young girls and young boys to grow up understanding that our gender, sexual orientation, race, ethnicity, religion, etc., should not stop us from chasing our dreams,” Sowers says. “As much as you possibly can, do not assume that you will be judged, do not assume that you will be mistreated, because what you will find is that there is more support out there than we sometimes perceive.” —SEJ