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City Council weighing LGBT sports resolution
UPDATE: Public hearing scheduled, information below
by Kate Sosin, Windy City Times

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Chicago's city council could soon be pushing to make professional sports safer for LGBT athletes.

The council is weighing a resolution that calls on sports commissioners to make pro-LGBT public statements and sanction athletes who use anti-gay slurs.

The resolution, introduced April 10, would be sent to Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, Football Commissioner Roger Goodell, Basketball Commissioner David Stern, Hockey Commissioner Gary Bettman and Soccer Commissioner Don Garber.

The document asks commissioners to encourage LGBT players to come out and to pledge to create a safe and supportive environment for them.

Ald. Joe Moore introduced the resolution, which has since picked up 20 other sponsors, including openly gay Alds. Tom Tunney and James Cappleman.

"It's important for those of us in Chicago City Council… to always speak out in support of human rights and human dignity," Moore told Windy City Times.

The resolution came about after The Last Closet, a San Francisco-based campaign and video project dedicated to fighting homophobia in men's sports, approached Moore, who chairs the Chicago Commission on Human Relations.

The Last Closet successfully backed a similar resolution in San Francisco. Chicago would be the second city to pass such a measure.

Fawn Yacker, project director for The Last Closet, said the goal is the create a safety net among commissioners for LGBT athletes.

"We think it's the sports leadership that is going to make a difference here in how all this unfolds," Yacker said.

The resolution comes at a time of growing acceptance for LGBT athletes in professional sports as well as a growing reports that some LGBT pro athletes are poised to come out.

Earlier this month, the National Hockey League announced a partnership with the You Can Play project, an LGBT sports organization. According to Bloomberg News, Nike also wants the first openly gay professional athlete as an endorser.

Yacker hopes that the first male athlete to come out does so on his own his own terms in a way that benefits LGBTQ youth.

"These athletes are national heroes for a lot of young kids," she said.

The Chicago City Council is expected to consider the resolution May 7.

A public hearing prior to a vote on the resolution will take place May 7 at City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle St., Room 201A, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. The city council vote will take place May 8.

Photo caption: Jennifer Kelley (project co-director), David Kopay (retired out NFL player), Dee Mosbacher (executive producer, The Last Closet), Fawn Yacker (project director The Last Closet). Photo courtesy of Fawn Yacker.

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