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Equality Coaching Alliance hits 100 members

Akil Patterson is an active member of ECA

Equality Coaching Alliance, a relatively new organization that aims to bring together LGBT coaches, has already attracted 103 members according to the group's founder, Roger Brigham. The membership in the organization is about 40% male - 60% female and includes transgender coaches. The coaches range from high school to college to retired, as well as a handful of folks who aren't coaches but who have a vested interest in the group's pursuits.

Brigham told Outsports the group is a powerful tool to open doors, among other things.

"When I came out of the closet as a wrestling coach 30 years ago," Brigham said, "there was virtually no LGBT visibility in sports, no support organization, and being out was almost a guarantee of not being able to advance in the sports ranks. We're here to help make sure no LGBT coach has to face that kind of career inhibition."

In recent months, the group has gotten very active, building a network of connections and valuable resources for LGBT coaches and those coaches looking to address these issues.

"Currently ECA and GO! Athletes are talking about ways we can work with each other," Brigham said, "such as providing mentoring advice for GO! Athletes members: career advice, sharing of job openings, dealing with work place issues, etc."

GO! Athletes is a group of LGBTQ high school and college athletes.

"I am working with Gay Games 9 organizers on putting together a workshop for sports leaders in October 2013 as a kind of 'first conversation' about LGBT sports issues for many of the people who will help put on the Gay Games. I'm also putting together a workshop for students at the GSA Youth Empowerment Summit that will be held in December in San Francisco. In our letters to the major sports commissioners, we offered our assistance in helping any of their athletes who come out of the closet."

You can find ECA on Facebook or at their Web site.