Historic Summit Brought Together Acclaimed LGBTQ Athletes, Coaches, and Professional Sports Leaders to Advance Inclusion and Respect in Sports | Financial Buzz

Historic Summit Brought Together Acclaimed LGBTQ Athletes, Coaches, and Professional Sports Leaders to Advance Inclusion and Respect in Sports

On Thursday, June 21, acclaimed LGBTQ athletes, professional sports team
leaders and others convened for an unprecedented day-long summit focused
on the critical importance of equity and inclusion in sports. LGBTQ
thought-leaders, athletes, coaches, team executives and members of the
media shared ideas and best practices through a series of panel
discussions, interviews, and testimonials from LGBTQ athletes. The
event, spearheaded by the Minnesota Vikings, was co-sponsored by Halunen
Law, known for its leadership and representation of LGBTQ community
members in employment and other legal concerns.

“Today was about education, empowerment, motivation, and inclusion in
sports,” said Vikings Chief Operating Officer Kevin Warren. “We work
every day to create a respectful environment inside the Vikings
organization, and we firmly believe it is our fiduciary responsibility
to extend that environment to each and every human being by raising
awareness and creating positive change. Together with some of the
nation’s thought leaders, we were able to create an engaging and
impactful discussion regarding the role coaches, players,
administrators, and executives can play to promote equality.”

“It was a tremendous opportunity to advance awareness, bring greater
understanding, and facilitate change in sports at every level for
members of the LGBTQ community,” said Clayton Halunen, founder and
managing partner of Minneapolis-based Halunen Law. “We were extremely
pleased to work with Chris Kluwe and the Minnesota Vikings organization
and serve as co-sponsors of this important event.”

The day’s events included a series of panel discussions with athletes,
LGBTQ allies, coaches, members of the media, and representatives from
professional sports organizations. Panels included:

Athletes and Allies: LGBTQ athletes and allies discussed their
role in creating inclusive environments, and shared first-hand
experiences working to build team cultures that welcomed all athletes.
Panelists included Chris Kluwe, former professional football player for
the Minnesota Vikings, Hudson Taylor, founder and executive director,
Athlete Ally, and Amy Wilson, director of inclusion, NCAA.

The Role of Coaches: Coaches and players shared how to create an
ecosystem of LGBTQ support within a team. The discussion included LGBTQ
athletes and their coaches on navigating when a player comes out,
addressing challenges, and building support among their teammates.
Panelists included Stephanie White, head women’s basketball coach,
Vanderbilt University, Xavier Colvin, football player, Butler University
and Joe Cheshire, coach, Butler University.

LGBTQ Trailblazers: This candid discussion with high-profile
athletes offered inspiring stories, challenges, and observations of
being the/one of the first out athletes in their sport and how coming
out led to further inclusion. Panelists included Chris Mosier, Olympian
and first known out transgender athlete to join a U.S. national team,
Greg Louganis, Olympic diver and LGBTQ activist and Joanna Lohman,
professional soccer player for the Washington Spirit.

The Power of Visibility: Institutions and Individuals: In this
panel, the moderator and panelists focused on the power leaders have in
transforming institutions to be fully inclusive of LGBTQ athletes.
Panelists included Samantha Rapoport, director, football development,
NFL, and Nevin Caple, co-founder of LGBT SportSafe, leading strategic
diversity consultant on LGBTQ inclusion in sports.

“I am very happy with how the panels went and the Vikings’ commitment to
make the Summit a useful resource for those in attendance and for others
who can use it as a resource later,” said former Minnesota Vikings
football player Chris Kluwe. “I think this Summit sets a model for other
teams to follow. Ideally this will be the first of many similar
gatherings and will work toward advancing the cause of LGBTQ inclusion
in sports.”

The day was capped off with a fundraiser and silent auction benefitting
several LGBTQ advocacy organizations. The Seattle Seahawks, Chicago
Cubs, U.S. Tennis, the Minnesota Vikings, and many others donated items.
Monies raised go to local and national LGBTQ organizations including
GLSEN, You Can Play, LGBTQ SportSafe, Twin Cities Quorum, and Athlete
Ally; each offering a unique program and approach to advance LGBTQ
inclusion and equality.


GLSEN – Founded in 1990, GLSEN ensures that LGBTQ students can
learn and grow in a school environment free from bullying and harassment
while helping to transform K-12 schools into safe and affirming
environments across the country. www.glsen.org

You Can Play – Launched in 2012, You Can Play works to ensure
equality, respect, and safety for all athletes, without regard to sexual
orientation and/or gender identity. You Can Play seeks to guarantee that
athletes receive a fair opportunity to compete, judged by other athletes
and fans alike, only by what they contribute to the sport of their
team’s success. You Can Play is an official partner of the National
Hockey League. www.youcanplayproject.org

Athlete Ally – Athlete Ally believes everyone should have equal
access, opportunity and experience in sports — regardless of sexual
orientation, gender identity or gender expression. Their mission is to
end the rampant homophobia and transphobia in sport and to activate the
athletic community to exercise its leadership to champion LGBTQ
equality. www.athleteally.org

LGBTQ SportSafe – LGBTQ SportSafe Inclusion Program was developed
to create an infrastructure for athletic administrators, coaches, and
recreational sports leaders to support LGBTQ inclusion in college, high
school and professional sports. Their 3-Peat Model addresses the
importance of Programming, Policy, and Public Awareness at levels of
sport, while offering incentives to institutions, teams, and leagues
that reach inclusion goals. https://lgbtsportsafe.com

Twin Cities Quorum – Minnesota’s LGBT and Allied Chamber of
Commerce, Twin Cities Quorum builds, connects and strengthens the area’s
business community. The organization works to assist and develop
certified LGBTQ owned enterprises and supports their entrance into the
supply chain of forward-thinking equality-minded companies as well as
creating visibility and business activity for all of their member
businesses and organizations. www.twincitiesquorum.com

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