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Our Voices

A Fair Opportunity for Transgender Student-Athletes in Minnesota

The advertisement from the Child Protection League Action that appeared in several newspapers across Minnesota last Sunday—attacking the Minnesota High School League’s proposed policy to address transgender student-athletes—was misleading and dangerous. The proposed policy has nothing to do with “male” students playing on girls’ teams. Rather, it has to do with transgender students—a tiny fraction of the population whose sex at birth is different from who they know they are on the inside, and...


Billy Bean Becomes First Ambassador of Inclusion for Major League Baseball

Major League Baseball (MLB) Commissioner Bud Selig today announced a set of actions that will alter the lives of baseball players and the trajectory of MLB teams for future generations. The league has welcomed openly-gay former MLB player Billy Bean back into their fold with a position to work with the league to implement a program of greater inclusion for LGBTQ players in baseball. Billy, a hero to me and to all of us, has been appointed as MLB’s first Ambassador for Inclusion. Billy is...


The Next Chapter in the Sports Equality Movement

Last week, I was in a room of about 100 LGBTQ sports advocates and stakeholders at the 3rd annual LGBTQ Sports Coalition Summit hosted by Nike. Formalized in 2013, the LGBTQ Sports Coalition consists of nonprofit members, engaged individuals, and affiliates dedicated to ending homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia in sports by 2016. We held our first informal convening in 2012. The summit only had about 30 participants that first year. Now, our summit is over 100 strong, representing advocates...


Michael Sam is Achieving Greatness

The news that Michael Sam had been drafted by the St. Louis Rams late on Saturday, becoming the first openly gay athlete in the NFL, was met with two very different reactions in my house. While I was overcome with pride and emotion at this historic moment, my two sixteen-year-old daughters—one a rock climber and one a water polo player—simply yelled, “Yes!” when they heard, and moved on to the rest of their day. Our two very different reactions are possibly the most perfect metaphor for the...


Equality and Inclusion in Sports Takes Major Leap Forward

The announcement by University of Missouri football player Michael Sam that he is gay marks a new milestone in sports history. This has been a long time coming, but we are ready. The uncommon courage demonstrated by Sam makes clear he is a force to be reckoned with. The NFL team that has the wisdom and leadership to draft Sam will have a champion in the making. Sam will have the support of countless NFL fans and non-fans alike. For far too long LGBTQ athletes have languished in the shadows,...


Inaugural Nike LGBTQ Sports Summit

For the last several months, OutSports.com’s Cyd Ziegler, GLSEN’s Changing the Game Sports Project Director Pat Griffin and I have worked with Nike representatives to organize the groundbreaking, strategy-building summit
that attracted dozens of leading organizations and people working to eliminate homophobia/ transphobia in sports. The summit—held June 14 to June 18—was based on the belief that collaboration, communication, and coordination will accelerate change in the culture of...


Olympic Athlete Johnny Weir Is Married!

Though most followers of Olympic figure skater Johnny Weir knew he was gay, he did not officially come out until a year ago.  Why?  Perhaps because the international world of judges have been known to be harsh in their scoring of LGBTQ skaters. That’s just one of many reasons why Johnny’s announcement of his marriage to Victor Voronov in a New Year’s Eve ceremony on Saturday is exciting on multiple levels. Johnny is quoted as saying “I’m very happy with my personal life and also my...


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