By Dirk Smith, MSc, SDL (He/Him)
Despite the cancellation of the beloved Sin City Classic Sports Festival this year due to Covid-19 restrictions, the annual Compete Sports Diversity Council Conference went virtual! The event offered a nice little bit of normality to “elevate, collaborate and celebrate” the LGBTQ+ sports diversity movement in a safe, socially distance and equally as productive manner.
Following a welcome and introduction session led by Compete’s own Eric Carlyle (SDLT), Jared Garduno (SDLT) and Connie Wardman (MA, SDLT). A few lucky participants were drawn for prizes from our partners including a “Memorable Moments in Las Vegas” prize package from MGM Resorts International that includes a two night/ three day say and $150 resort credit.
Once the formalities were out of the way, everybody in attendance split up into one of six group sessions for discussions covering different aspects of sports diversity led by members of the Compete Sport Diversity Council. The topics covered included, “Moving Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Forward By Including More Visibility & Leadership Opportunities For Black, Indigenous & People of Color In LGBTQ+ Sports”, “How Transphobia & Homophobia Impact Sports Participation”, “Creating A Master’s Division To Keep Participants Active Longer”, “Working with New & Younger Athletes”, “Encouraging Women To Pursue Leadership Positions Within Sports Organizations” and” Increasing Member Involvement In The CSDC.”
The discussions led to some real great points and the first beginnings to develop new training tools for the Compete Sports Diversity Council in training and educating sports leaders in helping build inclusion and diversity in sports. Especially in building sports not just to be accepting of LGBTQ+, women and people of color but to create an environment that acknowledges and fulfills the needs of LGBTQ+, women and people of color. It is a key first step toward building sports diversity at its foundation.
At the conclusion of the breakout sessions, everybody came together again to discuss the topics covered which led to some very good discussions on the importance of these issues and on how we, as sports leaders, can learn how to better serve our diverse communities. Finally, the conference concluded with welcoming new members to the Compete Sports Diversity Council and presentations from presenting sponsors MGM Resorts, Talty Bars, Site Search, Richmond Region Tourism and Visit St. Pete Clearwater followed by a final goodbye. Hopefully by this time next year, we will all be back together in Las Vegas for the Sin City Classic!