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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Nike LGBT sports summit on bullying, bias
From a news release
2012-06-19

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(Beaverton, OR, June 18, 2012)—Many of the nation's top lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer sports leaders joined Nike representatives at Nike World Headquarters for the first-ever Nike LGBT Sports Summit to combat bullying and anti-LGBTQ bias and discrimination in sports.

Advocates and organizations pooled their expertise and strengths over the last four days—June 14 to June 17—to develop a unified plan to end harassment and discrimination against LGBTQ athletes and coaches in kindergarten through high school, college, recreational sports, and professional sports.

In the next year, this newly formed LGBTQ sports coalition will work to achieve the following goals:

— Each of the major American professional sports leagues will be engaged to work with our member organizations toward inclusion in their league.

— The visibility of out collegiate athletes, coaches, and allies will be increased through a multi-pronged approach.

— The national youth and adult recreational leagues will receive a LGBTQ inclusive model policy, and at least five leagues will have adopted such a policy.

— Two million young people will have heard a new, inclusive definition of "athletic champion," and their physical education teachers and coaches will have received inclusive training resources.

Outsports co-founder Cyd Zeigler began developing the summit last year after identifying a failure by LGBTQ sports advocates to work together toward a common goal. Zeigler then joined forces with National Center for Lesbian Rights Sports Project Director Helen Carroll and Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network's Changing the Game Sports Director Pat Griffin. Zeigler approached Nike about hosting the event, and they jumped at the chance.

"As athletes and coaches, we all understand the power of working as a team," said Zeigler. "This summit has given us the unique opportunity to identify our common goals and move forward as a united movement. Working together, we will dismantle bullying and anti-LGBTQ bias and discrimination in sports in the next four years."

Said Carroll: "I am excited to see transgender people, people of color, men, women and allies in sports working together to create a unified movement that captures the power of our different experiences and voices. The strength from this collaboration and these specific plans will make the sports world safer and more inclusive for all."

Organizations involved in the summit included: American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance; Athlete Ally; Br{ache the Silence; Campus Pride; ESPN; Fearless campaign; Federation of Gay Games; Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD); Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN); I Am Enough; It Gets Better project; National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR); National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA); Nike; Our Group; Outsports; StandUp Foundation; and You Can Play project.

"This summit happened at the right time," said Griffin. "We are riding the crest of a wave of attitude change about LGBTQ people in sports. We hope that the action plans that were identified at the summit will speed up this change."

Plans for future summits include an open invitation to other organizations and individuals to join these and future action plans to eliminate bullying and LGBTQ bias and discrimination in sports.

The event concluded with summit participants joining the Nike contingency in the Portland Pride Parade.


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