Last week sportswear giant Nike played host to the second US LGBT Sports Summit, held at their headquarters in Portland. The event brought together over 100 people with the objective of ending anti-LGBT bias in sport by 2016.
The summit was sponsored by Nike and organized by Cyd Zeigler from LGBT rights group Outsports, the National Center for Lesbian Rights and LGBT sports pioneer Pat Griffin.
One of the first tasks of the meeting was for last year's attendees to formalize the LGBT Sports Coalition. A structure for the coalition was approved with an eight-member coordinating committee, a “media rapid-response plan”, voting guidelines and the approval of the StandUp Foundation as the coalition's financial supporter. Nike's #BeTrue clothing line will help fund the new coalition.
A highlight of the weekend was a visit from openly gay NBA athlete Jason Collins. His appearance was said to be his own idea, he had heard about the summit from a friend and asked if he could attend.
The summit was action focused and a series of follow-up projects were agreed including:
• Training of physical education teachers and high school coaches, starting in specific cities and states and spreading across the country.
• Implementation of sensitivity training for all incoming NCAA (college) sport athletes on issues of sexual orientation and gender identity.
• Creation of a guide to give sports media professionals correct terminology, background on the LGBT sports movement and key contacts for quotes and reaction.
• Implementation of policies at recreational sporting facilities to forbid discrimination or harassment based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
• Adoption of a transgender-inclusion policy for college-based sports including club teams and leagues.
• Media campaigns aimed at tackling harassment in college and professional sports.
“You always hear people talk about changing the world,” said summit attendee and Stanford basketball player Toni Kokenis. “The members of this summit are going to. Together.”
Kokenis is a member of GO! Athletes, the United States largest network of LGBT high school and college athletes who sent a dozen young athletes to the summit.
As well as the college and professional athletes, coaches, administrators, LGBT advocates and journalists were representatives from GLAAD, the United States Olympic Committee, GLSEN, the Federation of Gay Games and broadcaster ESPN.