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Sports diversity leadership conference in Denver to focus on LGBT inclusion in high school sports

The EPIC Sports Conference is bringing some of the country's leading experts on inclusion - and LGBT inclusion in particular - to high school athletes and coaches in Denver.

BOULDER, CO - SEPTEMBER 18: Katie Hnida of the University of Colorado heads off the field during the game against the University of Kansas at Folsom Field on September 18, 1999 in Boulder, Colorado.
BOULDER, CO - SEPTEMBER 18: Katie Hnida of the University of Colorado heads off the field during the game against the University of Kansas at Folsom Field on September 18, 1999 in Boulder, Colorado.
Brian Bahr/Getty Images

The first EPIC Sports Conference (Equality, Participation and Inclusion in Colorado) will take place next Monday at the University of Denver. EPIC is a leadership conference for high school athletes and coaches interested in engaging more in diversity inclusion, including LGBT issues.

The conference is being organized by Micah Porter, the D'Evelyn High School track coach who came out publicly last year. It's modeled after a similar leadership conference created by Saunders High School basketball coach Anthony Nicodemo.

"Never in my life would I have thought that a conference encouraging an inclusive sporting world in the Mile High City would be occurring, much less me organizing it," Porter said. "It all seems so surreal. The very people who lifted me up during some of the darkest times of my life are coming to Denver to support this effort to promote tolerance and equality in athletics."

The event is funded by the LGBT Sports Coalition, which is powered by Nike. The You Can Play Project, which has helped organize the event, will be unveiling its high school sports playbook at the conference. The playbook was written by Porter and is an easy-to-use guide to educate coaches and administrators on how to approach LGBT issues in sports. GO! Athletes is also sponsoring the event.

"Having these conferences in various parts of the country is so important," Nicodemo said. "We are able to spread the message of the LGBT Sports Coalition that inclusion is an essential part of athletics."

Some of the presenters and speakers at the conference include:

Mike Biselli: former Stanford football player
Wade Davis: former NFL player, Executive Director of You Can Play
Josh Dixon: USA Gymnast
Kate Fagan: ESPN Reporter/Writer
Pat Griffin: University of Massachusetts
Katie Hnida: first female Div. I football player
Marsanne Lavoie: recreational hockey player
Chris Mosier: nationally sponsored triathlete, founder of transathlete.com
Anthony Nicodemo: High School Basketball Coach, Yonkers, New York
Derek Schell: Former Div. II basketball player
Tom Southall: Coach, Paralympian advocate
Sean Smith: former Div. 1 swimmer, GO! Athletes
Cyd Zeigler: co-founder of Outsports

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