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Second annual Nike LGBT Sports Summit takes place next week

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Leaders from across the LGBT sports movement will convene again in Portland, Ore.

Nike used words of pride to create this unique logo
Nike used words of pride to create this unique logo

Last year, Outsports was proud to be part of the first Nike LGBT Sports Summit, which brought together about 25 leaders from across the LGBT sports movement to figure out how we could work together toward common goals. Sports are, after all, about teamwork and camaraderie.

We left Nike World Headquarters last year with a north star: "End anti-LGBT bias in sports by 2016." When I put it out there as a potential goal last year, it seemed an impossible task. Now, after an incredible year of beating down the doors of homophobia and transphobia in sports, it doesn't seem so impossible.

This year's summit, taking place in Portland, Ore., June 12-15, will include about 100 leaders in the LGBT sports conversation: Athletes, coaches, administrators, media professionals and LGBT rec-sports leaders will all be there. We'll talk about best practices, problems that span across our spheres and how we can better work together to galvanize the movement toward a bias-free sports world.

It's an exciting time for the movement. Some have told me it's not possible to achieve our goal in just three more years. With the group convening at Nike next week, I know we can.

You can check out the summit's press release here:

(San Francisco, CA, June 5, 2013)-An alliance of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) sports leaders from across the country has announced the second annual Nike LGBT Sports Summit, set for June 12-15 in Portland, Ore. The Sports Summit will bring together college and professional athletes, coaches, athletic administrators, political figures, LGBT advocates and sports organizations to combat anti-LGBT bias in sports.

Over three days, attendees will develop a strategy that embraces LGBT diversity on the courts and playing fields. They will examine best practices, troubleshoot common problems, and develop projects to tackle anti-LGBT bias in kindergarten through professional sports.

The group will also formalize the creation of the LGBT Sports Coalition, a framework to unite the movement toward equality in sports with one goal: End anti-LGBT bias in sports by 2016. Last year's summit, held at Nike World Headquarters, brought together 25 leading organizations and individuals who began working together toward that goal.

The summit was founded by Outsports.com's Cyd Zeigler, National Center for Lesbian Rights Sports Project Director Helen Carroll, and LGBT sports pioneer Pat Griffin.

The sports world has experienced a dramatic shift since the first summit, with professional athletes coming out, scores of universities forming LGBT/Straight Athletic Alliances, national and local sports bodies implementing LGBT-inclusive policies, and the sports media focusing more attention on this issue.

"It's been incredible to watch the sea change in sports on LGBT issues in the last year," said Zeigler. "The advances we've seen haven't been accidents but the result of the very deliberate efforts by coalition members to make sports more welcoming to all fans, employees, and athletes."

More people than ever before now understand that the acceptance of anti-LGBT attitudes is destructive to team development as well as harmful to athletes. Core to the mission of the coalition is the goal of empowering LGBT athletes and coaches to be true to themselves and reach their full potential.

"Recognizing our coalition formally will enhance the work we must accomplish together," said Griffin.

Said Carroll: "The participants of this summit will leave motivated to work to keep the momentum moving forward for many more positive advances in the next year."

Organizations sending representatives to the summit include: GO! Athletes; Brea{he The Silence; IMEnough; National Center for Lesbian Rights; GLAAD; Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network; You Can Play; Outsports; Campus Pride; StandUp Foundation; Equality Coaching Alliance; United States Olympic Committee; It Gets Better; NCAA; American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance; Athlete Ally; Fearless Project; The Federation of Gay Games; USA Wrestling; ESPN; Outsports; The Last Closet; and various other organizations and individuals.