Compete Network Feature Stories

Cat Bird Seat: 2015 accomplishments in sports diversity getting a second look


By Connie Wardman

When reviewing sports diversity milestones in 2015, we realized that there were a number of important stories that made national and international news – Eric already mentioned in his letter the FIFA Women’s World Cup win, Caitlyn Jenner’s coming out as well as Chris Mosier, our 2013 Mark Bingham Athlete of the Year making the pages of ESPN’s “being out” issue. But we also realized that there were some very important and inspiring sto- ries that didn’t receive such broad media coverage.

While every person’s coming out story is deeply meaningful, the good news is that so many LGBT athletes at every level from high school to college to professional sports now feel more safe (and hopefully more comfortable) coming out, their news worthiness isn’t considered groundbreaking anymore by mainstream media. They no longer make the same profound media impact Jason Collins’ 2013 coming out story made, for example.

What we’re seeing now are more stories of openly gay athletes and their ally counterparts changing hearts and minds within their local communities simply by being who they are and playing the sports they love while supporting local events and charities.

All this prompted us to change the way we reviewed the 2015 year in sports diversity by including important stories from Compete Magazine in 2015. These are stories of the important work being done this past year by gay and ally athletes and their organizations, stories which the mainstream media, by and large, didn’t cover extensively or at all. We think the stories and your feedback deserve some extra attention by being placed together in this issue.

We hope you’ll enjoy this new take on reviewing what we consider to be some of 2015’s important sports diversity stories. We think you’ll be pleased to see the sometimes big, sometimes quiet progress being made to eliminate homophobia and transphobia in sports, leveling the playing field for all athletes through a mixture of inclusion, diversity, equality and good old fashioned team spirit.




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