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Throughout the month of June, we’re highlighting organizations and initiatives that advocate for greater outdoor access among the LGBTQ+ community. Today’s feature is LGBT SportSafe, a group that educates coaches and administrators on inclusivity in sports.
It’s no secret that the culture of sports at times can be hostile to LGBTQ+ athletes. In a recent report, LGBT SportSafe shared disturbing proof: The organization’s survey found that 85 percent of queer athletes have experienced slurs; 70 percent say that homophobia is worse in sports than society; and 84 percent say they have witnessed or experienced instances of homophobia. LGBT SportSafe is working to change that through education and by certifying institutions that provide and host sports teams.
LGBT SportSafe uses a unique “3-Peat” model, built around programming, policy, and public awareness to foster a sense of inclusion in organized sports. It builds inclusion goals around these three pillars, focusing on creating inclusive policies for athletes, training coaches, and administrators, and creating public-facing campaigns to promote public awareness around the experiences of LGBTQ+ athletes. These goals are then used as benchmarks to encourage organizations to implement inclusive strategies. Organizations then receive Bronze, Silver, or Gold Medallions highlighting their progress.
LGBT SportSafe works with a range of institutions from local youth organizations through Division-1 collegiate athletics. It currently has a number of well-known colleges and conferences participating in its program, including the University of Oregon and the University of Colorado. You can use the organization’s toolkit to encourage athletic organizations in your area to get certified.