The University of South Florida has announced a new scholarship designed to build an LGBT-inclusive atmosphere within the Bulls’ athletic department.
The scholarship is the brain child of USF alumnus Brett Chambers. He and his husband, Ryan Rhodes, have committed to a $5,000 donation to the scholarship fund each of the next five years.
“I’m just an alum who’s trying to support his alma mater and the LGBTQ community,” Chambers said.
The mission statement for the scholarship reflects the push to utilize visibility and storytelling to demonstrate LGBT inclusion in sports:
This Scholarship seeks to bring visibility to an under-represented group of students in the athletic arena. It will recognize and support an LGBTQ+ athlete or ally who will contribute to the promotion of LGBTQ+ diversity, equity, and inclusion in sports. It will inspire a student- athlete to tell their story and send the message to others who may not feel ready to do the same that their community exists, and they too deserve to be seen, heard, and live their authentic lives.
The scholarship is similar to one created by the University of Colorado, a scholarship that was also the idea of a gay man associated with his school, former athlete Nichols Turco.
Chambers said it’s been only since he left the school and engaged in LGBT sports leagues that he has again realized the power of sports to change lives.
“After college I didn’t really play sports,” Chambers said. “When I moved to DC I joined the DC Gay Flag Football League and the Federal Triangles Soccer Club, and it reminded me of my passion for playing sports and the difference sports make in people’s lives, including LGBT people. And that’s what prompted me to give back.”
You can donate to the scholarship fund here.