Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-09-01
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

The OutField: Gay Sports Groups Sprout Up on Campus
by Dan Woog
2008-02-27

This article shared 3316 times since Wed Feb 27, 2008
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


It's been over two decades since the winds of queer change swept through college campuses. Across America, universities now sponsor LGBT centers, offer gender studies programs, and pledge never to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. 'Out' has become the new 'in'—everywhere, that is, except the locker room.

___________

Pat Griffin

___________

Finally, even that is changing. As a young generation of students—raised in a world where gay-straight Alliances ( GSAs ) are as much a part of high school as proms and zits—enters college, they're coming out not just in classrooms and fraternities, but on their sports teams as well.

And—fueled by that same GSA mentality—they're starting to form gay student-athlete groups.

'These organizations are about to explode,' says Pat Griffin. She should know: As director of It Takes a Team—a project aimed at eliminating homophobia in sports—as well as a former basketball, field hockey, and swimming coach, and as professor emerita of social justice at the University of Massachusetts, she has a front-row seat as the movement begins.

It started, she says, several years ago, when Paul Farber overcame the depression and solitude that had driven him, as a closeted runner, from the University of Pennsylvania track team. He organized PATH—Penn's Athletes and Allies Tackling Homophobia and Heterosexism. One aim was to start a dialogue between the school's gay and athletic communities, in hopes of creating a safe environment for LGBT and questioning athletes, coaches, administrators, and fans. Another goal was to provide resources for athletes wishing to come out. A third was to educate straight athletes and coaches about LGBT issues.

Griffin realized a similar group could work at UMass. She helped a lesbian basketball player there team up with three health-services employees. They called themselves the Gay-Straight Athlete Alliance. 'We modeled the name on high school Gay-Straight Alliances,' Griffin explains. 'We thought that might attract more people than if we were just a 'gay athletes' support group.''

The UMass organization faded away after the basketball player graduated. Recently, however, a male baseball player on campus e-mailed Griffin, asking for help reviving it. At the same time, she heard of similar efforts at Brown University and Vassar College. She also received a letter from a former athlete at Princeton University, who was interested in creating a resource center for Ivy League athletes.

Why gay athletes? And why now?

'The time is right,' Griffin says. 'There's more recognition that college athletes are gay. Lesbian athletes often have their own social circle, but it's underground and informal. Male athletes are usually socially isolated, not connected with anyone at all. For gay male and female student-athletes, these groups provide a way to come together and help each other.'

Gay athlete organizations can also help by tackling homophobia within athletic departments. Griffin suggests several activities, such as initiating a Safe Space campaign, lobbying for education for the athletic staff, and making sure coaches know campus and state policies and laws regarding gender and sexual orientation issues.

Groups can also bring in outside speakers, including celebrity athletes. Griffin adds, 'They can take LGBT issues to their Student-Athlete Advisory Council, and work with captains and athletic directors. They can volunteer to talk to different teams. They can work at the NCAA level, too.' Griffin calls that organization 'very receptive' to gay issues, citing its sponsorship of sexual orientation workshops for schools and athletic departments.

Each campus is different, she notes. 'Some departments are not as open as others. If you're just starting out, you have to examine the climate at your school and in your athletic department. You have to be smart and strategic in figuring out what to attack first.'

However, Griffin says, teaming up is always important. 'Athletics is often an island of homophobia and bigotry. Involving other LGBT groups on campus helps. Sometimes they're already looking for a way to help athletes, but they don't know how.'

New student-athlete groups should ask themselves: Do we want to include straight allies, or just gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people? What are our goals? What's the best place to meet: the LGBT center, an athletic facility, or a neutral site on or off campus? What activities should we sponsor? How can we publicize ourselves and our events? How can we find time in our busy schedules to make this work? It Takes a Team ( www.ittakesateam.org ) is available to help fledgling LGBT student-athlete organizations.

Griffin is excited about the trend. 'Change has to happen at all levels,' she says. 'Student-athlete activism is something we [ who are involved in the college sports world ] haven't really tapped into yet. But so many athletes are coming into college after being out in high school. They're ready to address this issue. It's a great way to breathe new life into college activism.'

Dan Woog is a journalist, educator, soccer coach, gay activist and author of the 'Jocks' series of books on gay male athletes. Visit www.danwoog.com . He can be reached at OutField@qsyndicate.com .


This article shared 3316 times since Wed Feb 27, 2008
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Lightfoot, Chicago to celebrate WNBA champion Chicago Sky Oct. 19 with parade, rally 2021-10-18
--From a press release - CHICAGO — The City of Chicago will celebrate the 2021 WNBA Champion Chicago Sky on Tuesday, Oct. 19, with a downtown parade and rally. The parade will begin at 11AM when the team departs from Wintrust ...


Gay News

Chicago Sky win their first WNBA championship 2021-10-17
- The sixth-seeded Chicago Sky defeated the fifth-seeded Phoenix Mercury 80-74 in game four of the 2021 WNBA Finals on Oct. 17 to close the series and secure the franchise's first WNBA championship in front of a ...


Gay News

SPORTS Red Stars top KC 2-1 on Fan Appreciation Night 2021-10-17
- On the team's Fan Appreciation Night (Oct. 16) at SeatGeek Stadium, the Chicago Red Stars (10-8-5) defeated Kansas City (3-13-6) 2-1 in NWSL action. The Red Stars scored behind an own-goal from Kansas City's Kristen Edmonds ...


Gay News

SPORTS Sky one win from first WNBA title after routing Phoenix 2021-10-16
- On Oct. 15 at Wintrust Arena, the Chicago Sky defeated the Phoenix Mercury by 36 points (86-50)—the largest margin of victory in a WNBA Finals game—to take a two-to-one series lead in the best-of-five series. The ...


Gay News

SPORTS Sky's Vandersloot named to All-WNBA Second Team 2021-10-15
- Chicago Sky guard Courtney Vandersloot has been named to the 2021 All-WNBA Second Team, per a team press release. This is the fourth consecutive season and fifth time overall Vandersloot is an All-WNBA honoree. It also ...


Gay News

SPORTS Blackhawks drop season opener against Colorado 2021-10-14
- On Oct. 13, the Chicago Blackhawks fell in an early hole and couldn't recover, falling 4-2 to the Colorado Avalanche in the season opener. Colorado scored thrice in the first 10 minutes of play, which proved ...


Gay News

SPORTS Chicago Red Stars power past Orlando 1-0 2021-10-14
- The Chicago Red Stars, behind an early Kealia Watt goal and a clean sheet from Cassie Miller, defeated the Orlando Pride at home (Bridgeview's SeatGeek Stadium) Oct. 13 by a score of 1-0. During the game's ...


Gay News

SPORTS Chicago Sky lose in OT to Phoenix; finals tied at 1-1 2021-10-14
- On Oct. 13, the Chicago Sky fell to the Phoenix Mercury 91-86 in overtime in game two of the 2021 WNBA Finals at Phoenix's Footprint Center. Sky guard Courtney Vandersloot dished out a team-high 20 points ...


Gay News

SPORTS White Sox eliminated from playoffs 2021-10-13
- The Chicago White Sox's season has ended. The Houston Astros advanced to their fifth consecutive American League Championship Series on Oct. 12 by defeating the White Sox 10-1 at Chicago's Guaranteed Rate Field in game four ...


Gay News

SPORTS Raiders coach resigns after anti-LGBTQ, racist emails surface 2021-10-12
- Following recent articles in The Wall Street Journal and New York Times detailing the use of racist, homophobic and misogynistic terms by Jon Gruden in emails reportedly dating back to 2010, he has resigned as Las ...


Gay News

SPORTS Chicago Red Stars fall to OL Reign 3-2 2021-10-11
- Mallory Pugh returned to the scoresheet with a first half goal and Tatumn Milazzo scored her first career NWSL (National Women's Soccer League) goal in the second. However, the Chicago Red Stars fell to the OL ...


Gay News

SPORTS Chicago Sky win first game of WNBA finals 2021-10-10
- The Chicago Sky are going into game two of the WNBA finals with a 1-0 series lead after defeating the Phoenix Mercury 91-77 in an away game on Oct. 10. The Sky had six players in double figures (all five starters ...


Gay News

SPORTS Chicago Sky win, advance to first finals since 2014 2021-10-07
- The Chicago Sky are headed to the WNBA Finals for the first time since 2014, as the team defeated the Connecticut Sun 79-69 in game four of the 2021 WNBA playoff semifinals on Oct. 6 to win the series three to ...


Gay News

Chicago Sky player named to WNBA All-Rookie Team 2021-10-05
- Chicago Sky guard Dana Evans has been selected to the 2021 WNBA All-Rookie Team. Evans is joined on the squad by Aari McDonald (Atlanta Dream), Michaela Onyenwere (New York Liberty), Charli Collier (Dallas Wings) and DiDi ...


Gay News

LGBT HISTORY MONTH Pro baseball player Glenn Burke refused to live a lie 2021-10-05
- You could say that Glenn Burke, the first Major League Baseball player to come out, is having a good season. In March, best-selling author Andrew Maraniss published a thoughtful biography called Singled Out: The True Story ...


 



Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 

Sponsor


Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.