In a December 2018 leading up to the The Peach Bowl. Cyd Ziegler, the owner and head of fellow LGBTQ sports news outlet Outsports, shared an op-ed article about Chick-Fil-A’s sponsorship of the Peach Bowl, Pittsburg Marathon and other sports events that continue to represent a brand well known for its homophobic and transphobic stances. In the article, Ziegler simply stated that he was choosing to not watch those events and explained why.

Chick-Fil-A, is a Christian family oriented fast food company with a notorious homophobic and transphobic history that found its own CEO, Dan Kathy, financially supporting anti-LGBTQ hate groups. While Kathy has tried to distance his company from his own hateful views; Chick-Fil-A through the Chick-Fil-A foundation continues to sponsor many anti-LGBTQ organizations, including the Fellowship of Christian Athletes which is a sports organization that openly takes a homophobic stance against gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer people. The Chick-Fil-A Foundation has donated millions of dollars to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and continues to support them despite their homophobic and transphobic views that contribute to the disproportionally high rate of suicides among LGB youth.

Ziegler’s stance and article appeared to ruffle more than a few feathers (pun intended). In a follow up article, Ziegler shared that he received thousands of messages, emails, tweets and other virile, hateful messages from people (white, heterosexual, conservative, and Christian) who didn’t like his stance. With more than a few messages offering detailed, graphic depictions of gay sex and other violent descriptions, including personal attacks against Ziegler’s personal life, family, Outsports, and attacks aginst gay people in general. Using offensive and homophobic language, the people who claim to represent “family values” did not hold back in their own vile and offensive language in their representation of their own biblical “values.”

At the end of the article, Ziegler holds firm in his original stance that he would not watch the Peach Bowl, regardless of what any offended conservative Christian might say. Here at Compete Sports Diversity, we stand by and support Cyd Ziegler and Outsports and his own decisions to choose what sports events he wants to support and to speak up against homophobia and transphobia in sports. The hateful backlash he received only validates the purpose of speaking out and standing up for LGBTQ people and continuing to share stories about LGBTQ Athletes, Sports Events, and other related topics. We are sharing Cyd’s story because it is a harsh reminder of the homophobic and transphobic attitudes that are still very prevalent in our society today and why representation of LGBTQ, especially in sports, is more important than ever.

By Dirk Smith