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Outsports series on trans rugby athletes nominated for GLAAD Media Award

When a ban on trans athletes in women’s rugby was proposed last year, Outsports launched a series of stories advocating for inclusion. World Rugby didn’t pay attention, but GLAAD did.

Grace McKenzie
Bay Area flanker Grace McKenzie saw her place on the pitch threatened, and so she helped forge an internet ‘start-up’ against transphobia.
Grace McKenzie

Our 13-part series, “Trans Athletes’ Fight for Inclusion in World Rugby” by Cyd Zeigler, Alex Reimer, Karleigh Webb and yours truly, has been honored as a nominee for a GLAAD Media Award in the category of Outstanding Online Journalism.

The winners were announced Thursday on TikTok.

The series in conjunction with International Gay Rugby was published from August through December 2020, and served as a response to what was then a proposed ban on transgender athletes. Our Cyd Zeigler conceived the idea as a way to show World Rugby and our readers why trans rugby players not only should be included, but how they already are, in the United States and elsewhere.

“Trans athletes just want to play the sport they love and compete,” said Zeigler upon learning of the nomination. “When you hear the stories of trans ruggers, that’s what comes through: the importance of hard work, teamwork, exercise and community. Sharing their stories, and using the stories of LGBTQ athletes to build understanding, is literally why Outsports exists.”

Last fall, World Rugby issued “recommendations,” which are in effect a ban, earning the organization the Outsports Asshole of the Year award.

“International Gay Rugby (IGR) are thrilled to learn about Outsports’s nomination for a GLAAD Media award for their coverage of the ban of trans women by World Rugby,” said Bhuttu Mathews, Vice-Chair of International Gay Rugby. “We are grateful for Outsports’s coverage of this injustice via its many stories during that period. Very courageous individuals like Verity Carl Smith and Shoshauna Gauvin stepped forward to collaborate with Cyd Zeigler, and Outsports writers and staff to produce this extremely important work highlighting the unfair and unilateral decision by World Rugby in defiance of their Memorandum of Understanding with IGR. We congratulate all of Outsports on receiving this wonderful accolade and wish them all the best in the years to come! With you!”

For deputy managing editor Reimer and contributor Webb, this is their first nomination for this award.

But this is not the first GLAAD Media Award nomination for Outsports in its 21 year history; In fact, by our count, this makes lucky number seven since our founding in 1999. You can read about previous awards Outsports has been nominated to receive, as well as won, by clicking here.

Also nominated in the category for video are our Vox Media colleagues Laura Bult, Ranjani Chakraborty, Melissa Hirsch, and Sidnee King for “Why LGBTQ Rights Hinge on the Definition of ‘Sex.’”

Our friend Katie Barnes of espnW was also nominated in this category for their excellent article, The Battle Over Title IX and Who Gets to be a Woman in Sports: Inside the Raging National Debate.”

Also of note: this year’s recipient of the Barbara Gittings Award for Excellence in LGBTQ Media is Windy City Times, Chicago’s pioneering LGBTQ news publication established in 1985 by Jeff McCourt, Bob Bearden, Drew Badanish, and Tracy Baim.

The Nominees for Outstanding Online Journalism, 2020:

“Trans Athletes’ Fight for Inclusion in World Rugby” [series] by Dawn Ennis, Alex Reimer, Karleigh Webb, and Cyd Zeigler (Outsports.com)

“The Battle Over Title IX and Who Gets to be a Woman in Sports: Inside the Raging National Debate” by Katie Barnes (epsnW.com)

“Gay Men Speak Out After Being Turned Away from Donating Blood During Coronavirus Pandemic: ‘We are Turning Away Perfectly Healthy Donors’” by Tony Morrison and Joel Lyons (GoodMorningAmerica.com)

“Here’s how Reggie Greer Takes on LGBTQ Outreach for Joe Biden in this ‘Very Personal’ Election” by John Gallagher (LGBTQNation.com)

“No Medicine, No Food: Coronavirus Restrictions Amplify Health Risks to LGBT+ People with HIV” by Nita Bhalla and Oscar Lopez (Openlynews.com)

“An Oral History of Fashion’s Response to the AIDS Epidemic” [series] by Phillip Picardi (VOGUE.com)

“Queer Spaces Project” [series] by Nico Lang, Samantha Allen, Marke B., Matt Baume, Steven Blum, Alexander Cheves, Devlyn Camp, Michael Cuby, James Factora, KC Hoard, Sophie Hurwitz, Michelle Kim, and Daniel Villareal (them.us)

“Trans Freedom Fighters” [series] by Sam Levin (TheGuardian.com)

“Trans, Imprisoned — and Trapped” by Kate Sosin (NBCNews.com)

“‘You Don’t Belong Here’: In Poland’s ‘LGBT-Free Zones’ Existing is an Act of Defiance” by Ivana Kottasová and Rob Picheta (CNN.com)

Nominees for Outstanding Online Journalism, 2020 – Video or Multimedia

“A Closer Look: Transgender in Kashmir” by Robert Leslie (Business Insider)

“I’m an Immigrant Fighting for Queer Rights and Racial Justice” by Abigail E. Disney, Catherine King, Maria Nunez, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, Patty Quillin, Julie Parker Benello, Susan Sherrerd, and Lynda Weinman (Refinery29)

“Stop Killing Us: Black Transgender Women’s Lived Experiences” by Talibah Newman Ometu, Thomas Blount, Juliana Schatz Preston, and Mariah Dupont (Complex World)

“They Will See You: LGBTQ+ Visibility in Advertising” by Brent Miller, Otto Bell, and Jordan Shavarebi (Great Big Story)

“Why LGBTQ Rights Hinge on the Definition of ‘Sex’” by Laura Bult, Ranjani Chakraborty, Melissa Hirsch, and Sidnee King (Vox)

Read the full list of GLAAD Media Awards nominees by clicking here.