Resources for LGBTQ Athletes
Outsports, “The Galactic Leader in Gay Sports”, is an online magazine that covers LGBT issues and personalities in amateur and professional sports. The site, founded in 1999 by Cyd Zeigler, Jr. and Jim Buzinski, has served as a media watchdog, sports-entertainment provider, and community builder since its founding. Outsports often shares resources and articles that are supportive of closeted gay athletes, such as a recent editorial by co-founder Cyd Ziegler entitled “Dear Gay Athlete: You Are Not Alone” (reposted here with Cyd’s permission).
It’s a little dated, but the website Outletics has compiled a worldwide list of LGBT-friendly sports clubs and teams. If there are no clubs listed in your area, check your local LGBT periodical; they often contain an up-to-date directory of local organizations and how to contact them, and new groups are forming all the time. Even if you’ve never played a team sport before — or think you’re bad at them — you can find camaraderie in any of these groups. Just take a chance, get out there, do the best you can, and have fun. It can change your life.
You Can Play works to ensure safety and inclusion for all who participate in sports, including LGBT athletes, coaches and fans. The organization believes that sports teams should focus on the athlete’s skills, work ethic, and competitive spirit, not their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. The You Can Play Project website hosts a large number of supportive and inspirational videos from professional and scholastic athletes alike, and encourages people to create their own.
GO! Athletes is a support network of current and former LGBTQ collegiate and high school athletes that creates safe spaces in the athletic community through visibility, education, and advocacy. GO! Athletes provides support to current and former LGBTQ athletes at both the recreational and competitive levels. Whether an athlete has their name on the back of their jersey or pick-up games are more their style, anyone who identifies as LGBTQ and is connected to athletics is welcome in the GO! Athletes network. For request more information or to join the network’s mailing list, click here.
Since the first Gay Games were held in San Francisco in 1982, athletes from all over the world have been coming together every four years to compete in a wide variety of events. The Games host over 10,000 participants, and are open to all adults, regardless of their sex, sexual orientation or gender identity, handicap, ability, experience, race, nationality, or any other discriminatory criteria. The 2018 Games will take place in Paris from August 4 to August 12, 2016; for more information, visit www.paris2018.com.
The World OutGames began in Montreal in 2006 and are held every four years in cities around the world. While the Outgames tend to attract a lot of American participants, the OutGames often have a more international flavor. There are no qualifying standards, although competitions are arranged according to the skill levels of the competitors. (Out! star Jesse Jackman participated in the first World OutGames playing ice hockey for the Colorado Avalanche.)