An alliance of LGBT sports leaders from across the country has announced the second annual Nike LGBT Sports Summit, set for June 12-15 in Portland, Ore. The Sports Summit will bring together college and professional athletes, coaches, athletic administrators, political figures, LGBT advocates and sports organizations to combat anti-LGBT bias in sports.
Over three days, attendees will develop a strategy that embraces LGBT diversity on the courts and playing fields. They will troubleshoot common problems and develop projects to tackle anti-LGBT bias from preschool through the professional level.
The group will also formalize the creation of the LGBT Sports Coalition, a framework to unite the movement toward equality in sports with one goal: End anti-LGBT bias in the field by 2016. Last year’s summit, held at Nike world headquarters, brought together 25 leading organizations and individuals who began working together toward that goal.
The summit was founded by Outsports.com’s Cyd Zeigler, National Center for Lesbian Rights Sports Project Director Helen Carroll, and LGBT sports pioneer Pat Griffin.
The sports world has experienced a dramatic shift since the first summit, with professional athletes coming out, scores of universities forming LGBT/Straight Athletic Alliances, national and local sports bodies implementing LGBT-inclusive policies, and the sports media focusing more attention on this issue.
“It’s been incredible to watch the sea change in sports on LGBT issues in the last year,” said Zeigler in a statement. “The advances we’ve seen haven’t been accidents but the result of the very deliberate efforts by coalition members to make sports more welcoming to all fans, employees and athletes.”
More people than ever before now understand that the acceptance of anti-LGBT attitudes is destructive to team development as well as harmful to athletes. Core to the mission of the coalition is the goal of empowering LGBT athletes and coaches to be true to themselves and reach their full potential.
Said Carroll, “The participants of this summit will leave motivated to work to keep the momentum moving forward for many more positive advances in the next year.”