About a dozen years ago, Outsports held two "reunions." In attendance were various Outsports readers, coaches, athletes and fans from across the country. Larry Felzer. Joe In Philly. Helen Carroll from the National Center for Lesbian Rights was our very first keynote speaker. They were amazing opportunities for members of the LGBT sports world to connect and share ideas.
Over the last few years, we have been talking about doing something similar, this time focusing the event on the LGBT athletes, coaches, referees, media professionals and executives we've written about over the years and will write about in the months to come.
That time is now.
We're thrilled to announce our Outsports Reunion 2016. Don't worry -- you don't have to be featured on Outsports to attend. In fact, we encourage people in sports who haven't yet come out.
The event will take place concurrently with Chicago Pride this year, June 23-26.
We're creating several ways the LGBT athletes, coaches and other folks who attend the "reunion" can meet one another and share stories and ideas personally and in larger settings. We'll also have opportunities for people in the public to meet some of the incredible LGBT people in sports we have profiled over the years. We're thrilled to have the support of our parent company, Vox Media, along with SB Nation, in building this unique experience.
At the core of the event will be storytelling. The sharing of stories is what Outsports does best, and it's what we think moves the needle on LGBT issues more than anything else. When we tell our stories, we inspire other people to come out and take action in their local communities. "The domino effect." What could be more powerful than that?
The weekend will kick off Thursday evening, June 23, with a social gathering for attendees.
We are organizing a Friday afternoon, June 24, gathering for attendees to share their stories personally and offer one another insights into being out and growing the community of out LGBT people in sports.
We're thrilled to partner with the Center on Halsted to produce a spoken-word event Saturday night, June 25, that will feature six to 10 LGBT people in sports sharing intimate parts of their story -- coming out and being out in sports -- for a public audience. We'll have information on tickets to that event shortly.
Of course, we will celebrate Pride together on Sunday, June 26, at the Chicago Annual Pride Parade.
There will also be a heavy emphasis on social events so that people can meet one another and share their stories and experiences personally. Those opportunities to connect one-on-one strengthen the fabric of our growing LGBT sports community. We are currently working with some amazing folks in Boystown and across Chicago to ensure attendees of all ages can join us for every event.
To register for the event, you need to identify as LGBT and have been active in sports in the last five years as either an athlete, coach, referee/official, media professional, administrator or executive; Or, you need to have had your coming-out story featured at some point on Outsports. If you don't fit into one of those two categories, there will be a couple opportunities to join us at larger social gatherings and meet some of the folks you've read about over the years (or will read about soon).