In an ideal world, when we are out there competing, we would be judged only for our athletic achievements. Our personal lives would remain personal. Unfortunately, we do not live in that world. I know that in some places it is easier than ever before to be an openly LBGTathlete. In other places, it can be a lot more difficult. The challenges range from locker room harassment, career or sponsorship problems,and more significantly it can be downright dangerous. Being a trailblazer was never something that I had in mind—I just want to play basketball. But I know that the better I do and the more I prove to the rest of the world that being a lesbian is only part of who I am, the more I am clearing the way for people who come after me. With that in mind, I have created some resources for LBGT athletes.
- One really great organization is GLISA. Short for the Gay and Lesbian International Sport Association, this group supports athletes across all sports as well as human rights organizations around the globe. They do a lot for LGBT athletes, notably: outreach and member services to athletes in the LGBT community; use partnerships with mainstream sport, human rights, and cultural organizations to make it safe for all athletes to compete in sporting events and participate in all sports around the globe; they sponsor the World OutGames every four years and the Continental Outgamesin off years; and they work to provide resources to and unite smaller athlete support groups in order to present a professional and unified front for the community.
- The Federation of Gay Games is another long-running They help promote equality for LGBT athletes throughout the world by ensuring that the Gay Games—the largest inclusive sport and cultural festival—takes place every four years. These games have been held around the world. The aim of the Federation of Gay Games is topromote social change and to empower the community. By creating this kind of supportive competition, they provide safety for athletes who may not be able to complete otherwise. Their next games will be in Paris in 2018 so you have plenty of time to train and sign up!
- At the collegiate and high school level, a good place to start is Go Athletes! They provide education and advocacy to student-athletes, along with their partners Campus Pride and You Can Play. Their goal is to create connections between current and past student-athletes, fostering a sense of community and providing support for those who need it. They have listservs with information, can help you start a chapter at your school, and provide other opportunities to promote inclusion in sports.
There are other organizations out there; internet searches will help. These are the three that I have found to be the most useful to me on my journey and I just thought you might be looking for something as well. Hopefully one day, every athlete will be considered based on their academic achievements and their preferences will have no bearing on public opinion.