While many people are focused on LGBT athletes and when we'll have the first out male pro athlete in America in one of the big five leagues, Hudson Taylor wants more attention to be paid to coaches. And he's 100% right. On the Huffington Post he details the importance of laying out the welcome mat for out coaches:
LGBT college coaches are leaders. They are sources of knowledge and empowerment for thousands of students around the country. The athletic community must first acknowledge their presence to understand the contributions they make to their athletes, teams and schools. We must take responsibility for our role in keeping so many closeted and invest in the research necessary to improve their experiences. The policy changes that result will extend the progress seen in 2011 to new levels and break down barriers for which sports should have no tolerance.
We can tell you that stories we write about out coaches get a fraction of the interest and readership that we experience when we write about out athletes: There's simply less interest in the topic. What's fascinating about that dynamic is that the openly gay coach has more to lose. A vast majority of out athletes will not pursue a professional sports career; For coaches, it is their career. Witness what happened to Lisa Howe at Belmont University: She came out and was fired for it. Of course, there are other out coaches who have been embraced by their universities, like Sherri Murrell and Kirk Walker.
But we know of wildly successful LGBT college coaches who simply won't even entertain the notion of coming out. At least one of those coaches faces absolutely no threat whatsoever of being fired; In fact, they would likely be more embraced. For that coach, there doesn't need to be any studies or work done to open the door for them; Coming out is ultimately still a personal decision that some people simply won't decide the way we'd like them to.
We'll continue to lay out the welcome mat for LGBT coaches. Certainly anyone who needs help or advice navigating that process can contact me. I had been talking with Kirk Walker for over five years before he was ultimately ready to take the leap. While Outsports is a media company, we're also a resource for the community; Confidentiality is honored and respected above all else.