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New York Times hosts panel discussion on LGBT sports

Report by New York Times employee Hedley Lagrand.

On Monday, the New York Times GLBT Network and Allies hosted a lively panel on GLBT topics in the world of sports. The panel was moderated by New York Times Associate Managing Editor Tom Jolly, who was joined by England Rugby Legend Ben Cohen, USA Eagles rugger Phaidra Knight, Adelphi University Soccer player Brandon Stoneham, and Times Sports Reporter John Branch. Together they discussed their personal experiences and thoughts on homosexuality in team sports.

Cohen talked at length about the impact of his professional sports career and his own family tragedy that led him to start The StandUp foundation, an International organization aiming to stop homophobia and bullying. Stoneham, who made his panel debut at the event, shared the back story to the coming out article he wrote for and the positive feedback it has had on his teammates, friends, and family.

Knight "has never been in" the closet, as she said. Sports like rugby have not only allowed her to be who she is, but they have given her opportunities to help young people on and off the field. Branch shared his insight on the topic from journalistic point of view and the amazing impact he feels an active professional athlete in the NFL, NBA, or MLB coming out would have for the respective sports and GLBT community.

The event was very well received and is one of several taking place as the Times celebrates GLBT Pride Month.