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Pac-12 to celebrate the impact of LGBTQIA+ student-athletes, coaches, and legends from throughout the Conference of Champions in June and all year long
SAN FRANCISCO - The Pac-12 Conference is beginning its celebration of Pride Month by announcing its partnership with LGBT SportSafe, an organization that helps athletic leadership champion a culture of respect and inclusion through policy-making, inclusion training, and public awareness initiatives. While June is Pride Month, the Pac-12 is committed to celebrating and supporting LGBTQIA+ student-athletes, coaches and staff throughout the year, augmented by its partnership with LGBT SportSafe.
The Pac-12 has been consulting and working with members from the organization for the last year leading up to the partnership, and LGBT SportSafe has also partnered with several Pac-12 member institutions. The LGBT SportSafe organization was developed to create an infrastructure for athletic administrators, coaches and sports leaders to support LGBTQ inclusion in collegiate sports (along with high school and professional sports). Through the partnership, LGBT SportSafe will serve as a resource to provide training to educate coaches, athletic administrators and staff on best practices and policies in creating an LGBTQIA+ inclusive athletic community.
“LGBT SportSafe is thrilled to partner with the Pac-12 Conference,” said Dr. Eric Lueshen, LGBT SportSafe Co-Founder and Director. “As the first Power Five conference to go all-in on inclusion, this sends a powerful message across the country and will certainly change the landscape of collegiate sports. We’re looking forward to building out this partnership even more in the coming year as we begin working with all of the Pac-12 institutions.”
“The Pac-12 Conference takes PRIDE in our LGBTQIA+ student-athletes, coaches, staff, fans and community,” said Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott. “We stand in solidarity with those that embrace individuality, diversity and equality. Inclusion is a core value at the Pac-12 and its member universities. All human beings should be treated with respect and dignity and should be able to live without fear, regardless of who they are or whom they love."
In addition to the partnership, the Pac-12 has also created a committee that includes coaches and administrators from across the league to focus on building community for the Conference’s LGBTQIA+ student-athletes, coaches and staff. The committee will work to share information and best practices from the 12 campuses, host events, and educate and celebrate a climate of inclusion, belonging and respect for the LGBTQIA+ community.
“I’m so excited and proud of the Pac 12 for making LGBTQ+ inclusion efforts such a priority,” said UCLA softball assistant coach Kirk Walker. “The Pac-12 and its schools have long been leaders in social justice issues and it is time for the Conference to be a vocal and visible leader on LGBTQ+ inclusion in sports. Since coming out in 2005, it has been my passion to raise awareness and visibility across the country on this issue. The history of LGBTQ+ sports icons is steep in the Pac-12 conference with the likes of Dave Kopay, Esera Tuoalo, Jason Collins, Layshia Clarendon, Ryan O’Callaghan, and many other professional and elite athletes who identify as LGBTQ+.”
"In just my two years with Washington State, it has been awesome to see the strength of our community both in Pullman and within the Pac-12," said Washington State women's rowing assistant coach Sam Clifford. "The Cougar Pride Student Athlete Alliance was a group the department both needed and welcomed with open arms. On a more global scale, the Pac-12's various social justice initiatives and student-athlete-centered approach are a great foundation. In June and throughout all months, LGBTQIA+ support, transparency and education are critical in discussions and progress in social justice."
The Pac-12 will celebrate Pride Month with several events, including an educational webinar about the history of Pride that will be open to all student-athletes, coaches and staff of the Pac-12. Additionally, a Pac-12 Pride t-shirt and “Popsocket” phone accessory featuring a Pride flag-themed Pac-12 logo will be sold on the Pac-12’s team shop and a league-wide PSA featuring content from across the Conference to celebrate what each university is creating to celebrate Pride in both June and throughout the year will air across Pac-12 Networks as well as the Conference’s social and digital platforms.
Members of the LGBT SportSafe team and the LGBTQIA+ Pac-12 Committee will work with LGBTQIA+ student-athlete groups as well to ensure all members of this invisible minority community feel seen, heard and supported.
For more information about the Pac-12’s LGBTQIA+ Committee, please visit pac-12.com/impact.
About LGBT SportSafe
The LGBT SportSafe Inclusion Program was founded by Dr. Eric Lueshen and Nevin Caple to create an infrastructure for athletic leadership to support LGBTQ inclusion in college, high school, and professional sports. LGBT SportSafe launched in partnership with University of Oregon, Northwestern University and University of Nebraska, using an innovative framework, the 3-Peat Model, to help administration champion a culture of respect and inclusion. The 3-Peat Model addresses the importance of Programming, Policy and Public Awareness at all levels of sport, while offering incentives to institutions, teams and leagues that reach inclusion goals. Member institutions that actively engage in inclusion will be awarded a Gold, Silver or Bronze medallion for the athletic department website and marketing materials in order to create external visibility around their inclusion efforts. Sports-specific inclusion programming tailored to the needs of each institution is offered through virtual and on-campus workshops for coaches, staff, administrators and student‐athletes. For more information on LGBT SportSafe, please visit https://lgbtsportsafe.com/.
About Pac-12 ImPACt
Pac-12 ImPACt is the social activism arm of the Pac-12 Conference, seeking to do what the name implies – make an impact in the communities and lives of Pac-12 student-athletes, member institutions and society at large. The focus of Pac-12 ImPACt is to harness the power of sport to build awareness, identify solutions and provide leadership to promote initiatives across the social activism landscape, particularly those that encourage a culture of diversity and inclusion, support sustainability efforts and fuel the pioneering spirit of the West Coast. Pac-12 ImPACt creates and supports transformational policies, programs, resources and services designed to strengthen our university communities from the inside out, spreading the messages of inclusion and empowerment by celebrating diversity, fostering fairness and good sportsmanship, and working towards the ultimate goal of equitable opportunities and outcomes for all. Launched in 2012, Pac-12 ImPACt is headquartered in the Pac-12 Conference office in San Francisco, California. For more information on Pac-12 ImPACt, please visit Pac-12.com/impact.
About the Pac-12 Conference
The Pac-12 Conference has a tradition as the “Conference of Champions,” leading the nation in NCAA Championships in 54 of the last 60 years, with 536 NCAA team titles overall. The Conference comprises 12 leading U.S. universities - the University of Arizona, Arizona State University, the University of California, Berkeley, the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), the University of Colorado, the University of Oregon, Oregon State University, Stanford University, the University of Southern California, the University of Utah, the University of Washington and Washington State University. For more information on the Conference’s programs and member institutions, please visit Pac-12.com/conference.
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