By Dirk Smith, M.Sc, SDL (He/Him)

This past weekend, LGBTQIA+ sports leaders from all over the world, including representatives from the Arizona Cardinals, Arizona Coyotes, Arizona Diamondbacks, Phoenix Mercury and Phoenix Suns, as well as the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance (NAGAAA), National Gay Flag Football League (NGFFL) Lynn Lewis Foundation, International Gay and Lesbian Football Association all came together in Phoenix, Arizona for the Compete Sports Diversity Summit and Compete Sports Diversity Awards, known as the Petey Awards.

The event was hosted by the Arizona Cardinals at their home field, State Farm Stadium, where everybody gathered for a weekend of great discussion, conference presentations, sports diversity workshops and more.  The NGFFFL presented the Arizona Cardinals with a special award.

Compete Sports Diversity announced a partnership with Feisty Media, creating a new women sports leadership brand, Legacy.  Legacy will host women’s sports leadership events, in person and virtually. Legacy will also create a new designation as part of Compete’s Sports Diversity Leader (SDL) designation program.

The weekend concluded  with a visit from Tempe’s mayor and a big announcement from Gus Penaranda, president of the International Ga and Lesbian Football Association. We also celebrated this year’s leaders in sports diversity with the 11th annual Petey Awards. This years’ award winners include,

  • Lynn Lewis Champion Award: Mashonda Gilmore and Zeric Foster
  • Community Connection Award: Arizona Coyotes
  • Heritage Award: Gay and Lesbian Rodeo Heritage Foundation
  • Women Sports Leader Award: Lisa Ingrafield
  • Community Organization Award: Can Community Health
  • Pillar Award: Robert Tanis-Evon
  • Visionary Award: Augusto Penaranda
  • Outstanding Sports Organization Award: Spikeball

Social media was filled with pictures and posts from sports diversity leaders all throughout the weekend with the hashtag #SportsDiversity and lots of great discussions ensued. The event was capped off on Sunday with Gus Penaranda’s announcement, where he was joined by Los Dogos, an LGBTQIA+ friendly soccer club that is supported by the Argentine Football Association. The announcement was livestreamed via Facebook in which IGFLA has announced their formal partnership with Los Dogos for the 2022 IGLFA World Championships in Buenos Aires, which will be the first time the tournament has ever been hosted in South America. This is an important step toward expanding sports diversity and ensuring that LGBTQIA+ people all over the world have access to safe and inclusive sports.

Overall, the event was a resounding success and a breath of fresh air as we are coming out of the Covid pandemic. We are all excited for a summer of getting back into sports and building on all the work we have been doing as we move forward.

Check out some of the photos from the event!