There are generally two ways athletic departments and coaches can address LGBTQ inclusion in their programs.
They can be reactionary, responding to events when they happen. This could be an athlete coming out to teammates, an opponent using anti-LGBTQ slurs directed at a player, or an athlete on the team saying something offensive to an LGBTQ student, teacher, fan or anyone else in and around the school.
The other option is to get ahead of these incidents. This entails proactively educating members of the team and making athletes, coaches and administrators aware of what may be offensive and how to build an athletic environment in which LGBTQ people feel included and welcome.
It should be no surprise which approach tends to yield better results.
Just like great game-planning, when anyone in sports gets ahead of a potential issue, the potential for success is far greater.
There are various resources to lean on when figuring out some steps you can take to build a better environment in sports. Don’t be intimidated: There’s a lot of information and a lot of things you can do. The important thing to consider is doing something, because something is better than nothing.
GLSEN’s - “Game Plan for Coaches”
This is a research brief from GLSEN that provides basic guidance for coaches as to how they can support LGBTQ student-athletes on their own, working with others, and leading change in culture and policies.
Leading the Way: Working with LGBTQ Athletes and Coaches
This is a comprehensive resource designed for coaches and aims to make sport a more welcoming place for those who identify as LGBTQ+. Leading the Way provides information to help coaches understand LBGTQ-phobia and the negative impact it has on everyone in their sport. It suggests best practices for creating a sport environment that is safe and respectful for all.
LGBTQ+ & Athletics Teen Toolkit
Here you will find a list of updated and ongoing LGBTQ+ resources for educators, coaches, school administrators, parents, and the community compiled by public school educator and LGBTQ+ sports advocate Micah Porter. Micah has been a public school educator, teacher, coach, Athletic Director, and Principal for three decades.
Find an Advocate - connect with a K-12 LGBTQ+ sports advocate for insight
If you want to connect with someone in K-12 sports for insight and support, or to get involved with inclusion advocacy, please fill out the below contact form (or click here) and someone from the Sports Equality Foundation will get in touch with you.