New gay coaching alliance forms

We got this in today from Roger Brigham, a high school wrestling coach, Gay Games advocate and longtime sportswriter. We couldn't think of a more perfect person to launch the project advocating equality for gay coaches, and he's joined by many of our favorite people: Lou Tharp, Mari Burningham, Helen Carroll, Pat Griffin, Dan Woog and Eric 'Coach Gumby' Anderson. Here's the info:

An informal networking organization for LGBT coaches -- Equality Coaching Alliance -- is being formed to bring coaches together to discuss issues that confront them every day in their careers, from hostile or discriminatory job environments to best practices in working with athletes.

The group is the brainchild of San Francisco wrestler and sports journalist Roger Brigham.

In early 2011, the Federation of Gay Games asked Brigham to help coordinate its interactions with LGBT youth sports groups in North America. During his conversations with colleagues from organizations such as the National Center for Lesbian Rights, GLSEN and Athlete Ally, it occurred to him that although several groups had formed to help advocate for athletes, there was no dedicated forum for LGBT coaches to address their concerns. Equality Coaching Alliance was formed to help those coaches network.

"When I came out in Alaska in 1982 as both a sports editor and a wrestling coach, I had no queer colleagues that I knew of and I recall the nervousness and uncertainty I felt in all that I did at that time," Brigham said. "Three decades later we see many organizations for LGBT youth, athletes and youth athletes, but nothing geared specifically toward coaches. So my immediate goal was to get as many of us interested as possible together in one forum."

ECA has launched a new blog and a Facebook group page. As of Tuesday, May 31, there were 20 members. Coaches interested in joining can email Brigham for more information.

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