Your teammate uses a lesbian slur. A coach says he doesn’t understand the issue with certain sensitive language. Your male teammates continually talk about sex with women.

How do you address homophobic and transphobic language, as well as heterosexual conversation in the locker room? We discussed that topic Thursday night with four people who have personally handled these varying situations in different ways.

Sometimes the language is intentionally hurtful, and sometimes it’s not. The speakers, some of whom are members of the Equality Coaching Alliance, shared different tactics and resources available to address language that can bring fear to LGBTQ people in and out of sports.

The guests include:

  • Aron Lipkin, is the executive director and co-founder of Homegrown Lacrosse in Minnesota and played lacrosse at Whittier College and Drexel Univ.
  • Olivia Wynn is assistant director of compliance & student-athlete affairs at Temple Univ., where she was a fencer.
  • Kaig Lightner is founder and executive director of Portland Community Football Club, an inclusive youth-sports organization in Oregon.
  • Giovanna Melo is head women’s volleyball coach at CSU-Bakersfield. She played for Western Nebraska C.C. and Arizona State Univ.

We talked with them not just about handling issues as a coach, but as an equal player on a team or as an administrator.