Being Out is a new feature that looks at LGBTQ people in sports who have come out since Outsports first published in 1999. Today: Minnesota Vikings front office employee Amy Werdine.
Amy Werdine is a testament to the power of being visible as an out LGBTQ person in sports.
Werdine, the openly gay Guest Relations Coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings, had a simple request of her bosses — have the Vikings buy a booth at Twin Cities Pride in 2018. They readily agreed and it was a big success, with 2,000 people stopping by.
Had Werdine been closeted, she likely would have been too afraid to bring up the idea of a Pride booth. But by having one of its employees being out and authentic, the organization clearly saw the value. The team is again having a booth at Twin Cities Pride June 22-23.
Werdine, a former college soccer player, will be speaking at the 2019 Outsports conference in Los Angeles on June 7. Here are her answers to our six Being Out questions:
What do you love the most about the sports you have been involved in?
I played soccer in college and now work in football and what I love the most about both of them is that they are large team sports. You have to work together as a team to achieve a goal, you win together and lose together. I have always loved being part of something bigger than myself and soccer and football both provide that.
What does it mean to you to be LGBTQ+ in sports?
It means a great deal to be a member of the LGBTQ community and be working in football. The LGBTQ community is not discussed enough in football and not enough teams are actively involved in the community. To be able to be a champion and leader of LGBTQ initiatives inside my organization is special to me and I can do it while being my most authentic self.
What advice would you give to LGBTQ+ kids in athletics or who want to participate in athletics, the kind of advice the younger you wish you had heard?
To look into various LGBTQ sport organizations, either online or on campus. I had no idea there were LGBTQ sport related networks and organizations until recently and I think they would have really helped me when I was younger. Being able to connect with people around your age that are going through similar things is so important and not enough young LGBTQ athletes get to do that.
Who is someone that inspires you?
Sam Rapoport, who is the Senior Director of Football Development for the NFL. What she is doing at the NFL offices in New York as an openly gay woman and mother is incredible. She is pushing for more diversity around the league and is her authentic self every day. Having an openly gay woman in a leadership position at the League office is so inspirational for someone like me.
What are you passionate/excited about right now?
I am just looking forward to the start of the NFL season!
What is your most memorable sports moment?
My most memorable sports moment happened my junior year in college.
We were fighting for our lives to get into the Southern Conference tournament and playing against Furman, which was the best team in the conference. We had lost a heart-breaker to The Citadel on Friday and I was playing on a torn LCL. I could barely make it through the game on Friday and was in a ton of pain playing on Sunday.
We battled hard for 90 minutes and ended up going to overtime tied 0-0. We finally scored towards the end of overtime to win the game 1-0 and I couldn’t even make it to the mob of girls running onto the field,
I just broke down crying from happiness and exhaustion all on my own at midfield. That win gave us our first trip to the conference tournament and was the most memorable and meaningful sports moment.
The other most memorable sports moment has to be working for the Vikings during the Minneapolis Miracle in January 2018.
Amy Werdine graduated from Appalachian State University in 2014 and received her graduate degree from LSU in 2016. She is the Guest Relations Coordinator for the Minnesota Vikings and can be reached on Facebook: Amy Werdine, Twitter: AmyWerdine and Instagram: AmyWerdine6
If you are out in sports in any capacity as openly LGBTQ and want to be featured in Being Out, drop Jim an email (firstname.lastname@example.org).