GO! at Trans100

Left to Right: Kye Allums, Fallon Fox, Chris Mosier
 
March 31 is International Transgender Day of Visibility, and GO! Athletes is proud to celebrate three of our teammates who were named to the 2014 Trans*100 list at an event in Chicago on March 30. The list, which recognizes 100 change makers in the trans* community each year, included GO! Athletes Board of Directors member Chris Mosier, founder of transathlete.com and a nationally-sponsored trans* triathlete, and two GO! Athletes All-Star Advisory Board members: transgender MMA fighter Fallon Fox, and Kye Allums, the first openly transgender NCAA Division I athlete and founder of Project I Am Enough. Kye also gave a keynote speech at the event.
 
The list is not a "top 100," but rather serves as a way to highlight the diversity within the trans* community, and to provide visibility to people and projects impacting the trans* community. GO! Athletes is happy to celebrate Chris, Fallon, and Kye as they continue to provide visibility to trans* athletes and serve as possibility models for athletes everywhere. 

GO! Athletes speak to LGBTQ youth at Prideworks

Left to right: Anthony Nicodemo, Nora Cothren, Chris Mosier
by Chris Mosier
 
On March 19, Anthony Nicodemo hosted a session on "LGBTQ in Athletics" at the Prideworks Conference at Pace University in Pleasantville, NY. The conference had over 500 LGBTQ and ally youth in attendance, and featured multiple sessions on a variety of topics. GO! Athletes K-12 co-chair Nora Cothren joined, along with Board of Directors member Chris Mosier. The three panelists first shared their stories as out coaches and athletes, and then took questions from the audience. The individual experiences shared both coach and athlete perspectives, and also covered gender stereotypes, challenges faced in coming out, and transgender inclusion in athletics. 
 
As speakers, we learned a tremendous amount in the session though the audience participation. With mostly student athletes in the room (along with some coaches and administrators), people openly shared their own challenges, including bullying at schools, discrimination from coaches, the casual use of homophobic slurs on their teams, and harassment because of their gender expression. We often hear of bullying in high schools, but this conversation made scenarios of bullying and harassment very real, with students - mostly closeted, at least on their teams - sharing first-hand accounts of what they face at school. 
 
The students thanked us for providing a space for this conversation, and appreciated the visibility of three out people in athletics. Much of our conversation as panelists when not presenting was spent also being appreciative of the space, and how amazing of an event Prideworks is to provide a space for LGBT youth and allies to be in a supportive environment with a whole day focusing on topics important to them. It was an experience that the three of us did not have growing up, and it made it clear that visibility, story telling, and creating a community of support is key to our work with GO! Athletes and within the LGBT movement. 

GO! at WWE

Grayson, Davis, Aagenes, Burke, Estevez and out WWE Superstar Darren Young

In February, the WWE hosted a "Be A STAR" event at a middle school in Orlando, Florida. WWE Superstars and Divas spoke alongside representatives from You Can Play (Wade Davis and Patrick Burke) about the impact that bullying has had on their lives and why kids shouldn't use hurtful language toward their piers. The WWE, or World Wrestling Entertainment, is a professional wrestling organization.

 
In an afternoon session, Burke moderated a panel presented to WWE NXT athletes about LGBT inclusion in sports. The panel featured Executive Director of YCP Wade Davis; Executive Director of GO! Athletes, Anna Aagenes; BU track athlete and GO! College captain Jose Estevez, and wide receiver Kevin Grayson, who formerly played for the University of Virginia. Each panelist presented their story, words of wisdom about being more inclusive in sports, and answered questions from the audience.

LGBT Sports Coalition urges CrossFit to allow Chloie Jönnson to compete against women

CHICAGO (March 12, 2014) – The LGBT Sports Coalition calls for fitness company CrossFit to reverse its decision to force one of its own athletes, Chloie Jönnson, to compete with the wrong gender in their latest championship event because she happens to be transgender.

In making this decision, CrossFit is claiming an expertise that the for-profit amateur fitness organization clearly lacks. Their decision ignores standards accepted by other professional, amateur and recreational sports organizations. Its criteria fly in the face of a growing consensus of how trans* athletes should be included in sports, running counter to those standards adopted by the NCAA and a growing number of state-level administrative bodies for trans athlete inclusion in school and club sports, and without any demonstrable consideration of the science dispelling any question over competitive advantage utilized to allow for trans athletes to compete in anything from Mixed Martial Arts (as fighter Fallon Fox has) to the Olympics.

“An organization cannot rightfully claim to welcome trans athletes with 'open arms' and then create conditions which prevent them from participating,” said triathlete and Transathlete.com founder Chris Mosier. “Many athletic governing bodies, including the International Olympic Committee, have created guidelines for allowing trans athletes to compete as their lived gender if they have legal recognition of their gender, have had two years of hormone therapy, and have undergone gender reassignment surgery. It is ridiculous to think Chloie Jönsson would meet the standards for transgender women to compete at the highest level of sports but is not allowed to compete in CrossFit.”

“As obsessed as they are with charting personal athletic achievement, one would think the people associated with CrossFit would rely on data, rather than misconceptions and prejudices about transgender athletes when making decisions about the ability of the transgender members of their family to compete according to their own gender,” noted Associate Head Coach of men's rowing at the University of Michigan Charley Sullivan, a member of the Equality Coaching Alliance.

Pam Watts, Executive Director of NIRSA: Leaders in Collegiate Recreation, notes that her organization would have no problem embracing a competitor of Jönsson's caliber. “NIRSA recognizes and celebrates a transgender student population among their tournament participants and enables students to participate in intramural and sport club divisions based upon their personal gender identity.”

“The truth is that people vary in size, strength, skill, and ability, regardless of gender,” Mosier says. “There is absolutely no evidence that trans women on hormone replacement therapy for a significant amount of time would have any athletic or physical advantage over their cisgender counterparts. The idea that Chloie would have a competitive advantage as a transgender woman is based on assumptions that are not well-founded in any science. CrossFit's decision to ban Chloie from competition highlights a lack of understanding about how a medical transition affects the body.”

In light of these repeated mistakes and CrossFit's declared ignorance of the multitude of decisions made by sports organizations and institutions when it comes to transgender athlete inclusion, the LGBT Sports Coalition calls on CrossFit to reverse its singular decision to force women to compete against men in their sex-segregated championship event.

 

About the LGBT Sports Coalition

The coalition is an association of organizations and individuals committed to ending anti-LGBT bias in sports by 2016. It was formalized at the LGBT Sports Summit in Portland, Ore., in June 2013. Coalition member organizations include GLAAD, National Center for Lesbian Rights, It Gets Better, Equality Coaching Alliance, You Can Play, Outsports, GLSEN, Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation, Women’s Sports Foundation, NIRSA: Leaders in Collegiate Recreation, AAHPERD, Federation of Gay Games, Campus Pride, Br{ache The Silence, Athlete Ally, NCAA Office of Inclusion and GO! Athletes. Individual members include Kirk Walker, Christina Kahrl, Sue Rankin, Kye Allums, Erin Buzuvis & Pat Griffin, Anthony Nicodemo, Chris Mosier, Stephanie Wheeler, Laurie Priest, Jeff Sheng and Sherri Murrell.

 

LGBT Sports Coalition media contacts

Christina Kahrl ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

773-391-8520

 

Cyd Zeigler ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. )

323-841-8293

 

 

 

 

GO! at the NCAA Convention

2014 NCAA Convention

LGBTQ Inclusion & Religion: Seeking Common Ground in Sports

By: Josh Sanders 

            Religion continues to be one of the most challenging and often painful topics for the LGBTQ community and others to have regarding inclusion and equality. Opposing viewpoints along with the churches’ failure to respond in a loving and inclusive way has left many people with a bad taste in their mouth and prevents effective dialogue. This year, Karen Morrison, Director of Gender Inclusion for the NCAA, and Pat Griffin decided to have an honest and open conversation about moving beyond the disagreements and seeking common ground for the LGBTQ athlete within collegiate sports.

            The event consisted of a panel of four including myself sharing our experiences and beliefs for seeking common ground within collegiate sports for the LGBTQ athlete and religious communities that may differ in belief regarding the “sin” of same-sex orientation. The panel included:

Nevin Caple – Co-founder and Executive Director, Br[arche the Silence Campaign

Lisa Howe- Executive Director, Nashville GLBT Chamber of Commerce

Lynn Thompson- Director of Athletics, Bethune-Cookman University

Josh Sanders- GO! Athletes, Sports Ministry

Pat Griffin- Professor Emerita, University of Massachusetts, Amherst moderated the event. 

            Those attending the convention included athletic directors, administrators, coaches, and student delegates. Although diverse, each panel member shared stories with common themes focusing on inclusion and common ground.

Nevin discussed inclusive programming focused on changing behaviors through education, championing respect and professionalism, identifying role models for the student-athlete and partnership with other campus organizations.

Lisa also discussed inclusive programming as a way religious institution can achieve institutional values and missions. She also spoke about the power of education.

Lynn spoke about a coach’s responsibility to develop their athletes’ character. He emphasized coaching as a ministry and the inclusive nature of God. I spoke about the power of sport to unite and inspire all people, and the importance of understanding the language of opposing viewpoints.  After the panel spoke, attendees participated in round table discussions about working towards inclusion and common ground on their respective campuses.

For me, the convention was a step forward for a challenging conversation. The true testimony of success will be actions leading to inclusion for not only LGBTQ athletes but also all LGBTQ students within religious based colleges and universities. I believe we at GO! Athletes have a unique opportunity to make a difference in the conversation. The power of sport gives each of us a platform to inspire and unite people. I encourage each of us to live out our faith and hold true to our convictions. Be true to yourself and love thy neighbor even if your neighbor hates or disagrees with you.  As a Christian, I believe that Jesus is inclusive. He values each of us for who we are holistically and gives us a full life. All we need to do is live it.

#GOtime!

Josh Sanders