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National Center for Lesbian Rights

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“I love when young LGBTQ athletes are able to complete and participate fully in sports with the joy that comes from that – especially when they have to fight for that right, the pure happiness of that athlete just fills my heart.”

Helen Carroll, NCLR LGBTQ Sports Consultant

One of NCLR’s current LGBTQ Sports Consultants, Helen Carroll (she/her) originally joined the organization’s staff in 2001 as Sports Project Director, holding that position until 2016. Prior to her time at NCLR, Carroll was a student-athlete and played tennis, basketball, and track and field. After coaching college basketball in Nebraska, Tennessee, and North Carolina, Carroll was an athletic director at Mills College in Oakland, California for over a decade before working for NCLR.

Over the years, Carroll’s work at NCLR entailed helping LGBTQ athletes, coaches, and administrators receive pro bono legal representation, conducting educational conferences and panels for coaches around the country, and working alongside NCLR’s attorneys on legal cases involving LGBTQ student-athletes.

Carroll explains her affinity for sports, both as a former student athlete, national championship basketball coach, and college athletics director, stemmed from “a love for basketball that grew, as I became older, into a belief that all LGBTQ student athletes should be able to play [any sport] without discrimination being forced upon them.” She explains that this is the driving force behind her involvement in this area of LGBTQ advocacy and social justice.

As an LGBTQ Sports Consultant for NCLR, Carroll brings her decades of experience as an athlete and LGBTQ advocate. For those who have just started their career in this field or are looking to join this field, Carroll emphasizes the importance of finding and working with a mentor in the field that will help you find the niche in this profession that ignites passion and love for the students while also introducing you to the sports world of advocacy and legal issues.

“The lesson is that we never stop advocating for those that are the most vulnerable and fight not only to find solid support for these athletes but to maintain what we have worked for decades to accomplish.”

Read more about Helen’s incredible career advocating on behalf of LGBTQ athletes:

Helen Carroll’s still in the game for inclusion via OutSports

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