Br{ache the Silence aims for LGBTQ inclusion in women’s sports

 
 

In spite of an entire catalog of jokes about how women’s sports are chock full of lesbians, there is a gap between that perception and actual, identifiable role models for LGBTQ athletes and coaches. Br{ache the Silence is an organization working to close that gap and to make women’s athletics a more inclusive and welcoming place for the LGBTQ community. The organization is focusing on creating leadership, educating and training college coaches and administration, and giving athletes and their allies the skills they need to be advocates for the LGBTQ community.

BTS maintains an “Ourchives” second on its website where athletes and coaches have shared their experiences.  It’s a place for sharing stories and a place for anyone looking for support or information can come and read about the experiences of others in their shoes.

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In addition to compiling these stories, it announced this week two initiatives aimed at making women’s athletics more inclusive for LGBTQ athletes and coaches.  The first, is the “Tour of Champions” which is designed to recruit former NCAA champions to leverage their position and notoriety as champions to combat homophobia and to energize other athletes and coaches to do the same.

The second initiative, a public service announcement for its “All In” initiative features out athletes, coaches, and their allies speaking about their personal experiences, what inclusion means to them, and why it’s important. The video features, Paralympian and head coach Stephanie Wheeler, Hall of Fame basketball coach Lin Dunn, out WNBA player Layshia Clarendon, Olympic soccer player Jennifer Molina, out basketball coach Sherri Murrell, and student-athlete/ally Mikayla Lyles.

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BTS focuses more on making athletics an inclusive environment than combatting homophobia.  Its efforts dovetail with other projects, such as the You Can Play project, which also aims to make athletic departments, teams, and sports in general a place where the only judgment that matters is whether you have the skills to compete.

I am happy to see an organization aimed specifically at the issues in women’s sports.  Too often the old jokes about women’s sports being a hotbed of lesbians means that the problems of exclusion and homophobia that do exist in women’s sports don’t get the attention they deserve.

What do you think of the organization and its initiatives?  Do you have a story you would consider contributing to the Ourchive?

 
 

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