In an effort to elevate the voices of young LGBT athletes, GO! Athletes has formalized partnerships with the You Can Play project and Campus Pride. GO! Athletes is a national network of LGBT athletes and was founded by former collegiate athletes Anna Aagenes, Sean Smith, Jenelle DeVits and Brian Goldthorpe.
The new partnerships will feature the inclusion of LGBT athletes in You Can Play's Invisible Athlete forums and Campus Pride events, the mentoring of athletes and GO! Athletes board of directors, joint grant applications and other opportunities.
"These partnerships are exciting on a number of levels," said GO! collegiate ambassador Becca Lindquist. "They will help the organizations further empower the voices of LGBT athletes, especially by having GO! be a part of You Can Play's Invisible Athlete forums. It's one thing to have our allies out there advocating for their LGBT teammates, but it's even more powerful to hear the stories of those out athletes and the struggles they faced."
You Can Play founder Patrick Burke said this partnership helps his ally-based organization fulfill its core mission.
"This will allow us to continue our work to help LGBT athletes share their stories and experiences with their peers," Burke said. "At You Can Play, our priority is always to help empower LGBT voices in sports. We believe that the Invisible Athlete Forums will serve as a tremendous vehicle for Go! Athletes to be empowered. A partnership with Go! Athletes benefits both groups tremendously. We ensure that we have regular input from the very athletes we are working alongside and on behalf of. "
Campus Pride will present a free Webinar, hosted by Aagenes, on April 25 about "Creating Safe Spaces and Challenging Stereotypes of LGBT Athletes and Athletics." A new GO! Athletes Webinar will take place each semester.
GO! Athletes will also support the Campus Pride Voice & Action Award for Athletics, which will recognize the outstanding contributions of at least one LGBT and ally athlete annually. They will also help design Campus Pride's upcoming athletic index.
"Knowing there are student-athletes and coaches across the country who accept me through the networks of GO! Athletes, You Can Play and Campus Pride makes me more competitive as an athlete," said UC-Berkeley rower Heather Hargreaves. "I can focus mentally on my training instead of burning up energy worrying about what people will think of me. It is inspiring to see that athletics programs have become increasingly committed to the inclusion and equity of LGBTQ athletes."
You can learn more about GO! Athletes at their Web site.