The Sports Equality Foundation was launched Wednesday (20 January) to help LGBTI athletes, coaches and sports leaders come out.
The organization grew out of the anti-bullying Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation, which was founded five years ago by the English rugby player and gay icon of the same name.
‘We have heard from countless athletes and coaches that there is a powerful need for stronger support around the coming-out process in sports, and that coming out is what drives the change,’ said Patrick Davis, co-chair of the foundation board.
‘The foundation will fuel that process, and give those who may suffer from bullying role models to look up to. It’s a natural evolution to solving the problem.’
Welcome to the age of sports equality. We exist to empower LGBT athletes, coaches and sports leaders. https://t.co/PtHLqDeACp
— SportsEqualityFnd (@sports_equality) January 20, 2016
The grant-making foundation was launched with a $100,000 commitment from the board with a focus on four core areas:
- providing LGBTI people needed resources as they prepare to come out;
- coming out publicly or privately through the sharing of their truth;
- becoming a role model for other LGBTI people;
- and leading cultural progress.
‘Sports is an important key to unlocking hearts and minds in our shifting culture,” said board co-chair Kathleen Hatch, past president of NIRSA: Leaders in Collegiate Recreation.
‘The coming-out cycle advances itself and drives that broader cultural change. We have a deep belief in the incredible power of the individual and what coming out means in the sports world. If we change sports culture, we change popular culture.’