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NCAA Inclusion Forum features LGBTQ conversations

Three NCAA panels this weekend focus on LGBTQ inclusion.

Michigan v Villanova
The NCAA is engaging in conversations about LGBTQ inclusion across sports.
Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

This weekend the NCAA will host its annual Inclusion Forum, this time in Indianapolis, Ind. Various LGBTQ people will participate, and two events will specifically address LGBTQ inclusion.

Former NCAA athletes Nevin Caple and Eric Lueshen have created an organization called LGBT SportSafe. They are presenting Sunday morning on “Building an Inclusive Athletic Department with LGBT SportSafe.” The description of the event:

This session will explore best practices and policies in creating an LGBTQ inclusive athletic department. Topics will include an LGBT 101 overview of terminology and inclusive language, how to support all of your student-athletes regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression, as well as how to start the conversation in athletics. Participants will also have the opportunity to learn how to get involved with the LGBT SportSafe Inclusion Program and the SAAC Mobile Video Challenge.

Also addressing LGBTQ inclusion in the NCAA is a panel highlighting the work of the Common Ground project focused on bridging the gap between LGBTQ athletes and coaches and schools with policies that specifically target LGBTQ people.

That panel includes some legendary voices in this space, Pat Griffin and Helen Carroll.

From the event’s description:

This session will begin with a brief description of the Common Ground initiative, a multi-year project bringing together LGBTQ advocates and allies, student-athletes, staff, and athletics administrators from faith-based and public schools to discuss how college athletics programs can be welcoming and respectful for student-athletes and athletics staff of all faiths, sexual orientations and gender identities. The majority of the session will feature group discussion facilitated by members of the Common Ground Leadership Team. Participants will have the opportunity to engage with each other about challenges and successes their athletics programs and campuses experience in addressing this topic in public, private secular and private faith-based schools. The Common Ground Leadership Team will offer strategies and a resource for supporting these important conversations and meaningful actions that create inclusive environments for all student-athletes.

Finally, a conversation will engage attendees on building a transgender-inclusive policy. Featured in that conversation will be Chris Mosier, the trans world-championship-level athlete.

From the program:

While most sports are separated into men’s and women’s catego- ries, student athletes who identify as transgender, non-binary, and gender-expansive are looking for inclusive spaces to participate alongside their peers. From policy to team and school culture, how does your school rank in terms of inclusion and support of transgender and gender-expansive athletes? This session will break down stereotypes, provide information on best policies and practices, and provide resources and steps to take to make sure transgender and gender-expansive athletes have the equal opportunities in sport that are outlined in the NCAA transgender student athlete guide.

We commend the NCAA’s Amy Wilson and the entire NCAA office on driving these important conversations.