Part of Outsports’ series on our 100 most important moments in gay sports history.
Various sports, 2003. We first heard about the Gay and Lesbian Athletics Foundation in 2002 when the brains behind the event, Mac Chinsomboon, first contacted Outsports to be part of his new organization. The organization would focus on eradicating homophobia in sports, and they would host an annual convention starting in Boston, March 27-30, 2003.
The theme of the first convention was "Heroes Among Us." The event didn't fail to deliver. Organizers brought together possibly the greatest assembly of gay-sports advocates and personalities ever assembled: Olympians Mark Tewksbury, Robert Dover and Holly Metcalf; Former pro baseball umpires Dave Pallone and Tyler Hoffman; longtime LGBT sports advocate Pat Griffin; writers Dan Woog, Chuck Hagel and Benoit Denizet-Lewis; Billy Bean; NCLR's Helen Carroll (pictured); out collegiate athletes like Ryan Quinn, Paul Farber, Jordan Goldwarg and Jon Goler; and many more.
Some interesting tidbits from the conference included ESPN's participation. Both Luke Cyphers and Craig Lazarus were there. Plus, Jim wrote this note about a young journalist he met:
A media member to watch is L.Z. Granderson of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He’s that rarest of breeds—an unapologetic, openly gay sportswriter. The fact that he’s also a well-built jock doesn’t hurt his image.
The most controversial moment of the conference came during our friend Eric Anderson's (pictured above) keynote address during a lunch when various people in the audience got up and left. You can see the video of his presentation below (thanks to WGBH).
There was a second conference in 2004 that wasn't as well-attended.
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