Compete Network Feature Stories

Patrick Higgins: Working to Build More Robust LGBTQ Sporting Events

Patrick Higgins, SDL is a successful executive, the vice president of meetings and events at Connect Meetings who works tirelessly to develop resources for the LGBTQ+ community. Connect hosts an annual diversity conference and has formed the LGBT Sports Coalition to bring members of the sports community together to foster a stronger collaboration.


With an athletic streak that runs through the family, he also loves to play sports. “There is a magic around sports that is unlike any other,” he says. “Sports can push you, lift you, break you and mold you.” Higgins is also a devoted husband and father, coach and powerful LGBTQ+ ally. When asked for his thoughts on the inclusion of LGBTQ+ athletes as part of the sports diversity movement, his immediate response was that it’s “off to a great start but still has a long way to go. He continued to say:


One of the things that is not only encouraging, but inspiring is that you don’t have to be a star athlete to get heavily involved and become an important player on your team or within your sport. In most other sporting event communities it’s simply not that way. Everyone that I’ve been privileged to meet so far within the LGBTQ sports community has incredible perspective on life, on sport and on competition.


One influence that’s made him such a strong ally is the fact that Higgins has an LGBTQ family member who is a fantastic athlete but who didn’t come out until much later in life. He shared one of the reasons he’s so determined to support LGBTQ+ sports:


If LGBTQ sporting events were more common when she was younger and competing, she could have been empowered to come out earlier. I believe that a more robust LGBTQ sporting event community can save and enrich lives and it’s such a rewarding effort to support.


Standing at 6-foot-8 it’s almost a given that he’s played some basketball in his life. But Higgins says he’ll play anything thanks to his mother’s influence – she’s the one who taught him how to throw a football. He continues to plays basketball at his home in Reno, Nevada and counts Kobe Bryant, Buster Posey and Ted Williams as his favorite professional athletes. His biggest sports goal is to still be able to dunk a basketball when he’s 40. At his height, he’s probably got that one in the bag basket.


As far as his favorite non-professional athletes are concerned, that would definitely be his three children, all under the age of 12. He loves spending time with his wife and kids and he currently coaches his son’s baseball team. Recently Higgins took the team all the way to participate in the state tournament after winning a regional championship. He says that “working with my son and the other members of the team to compete the right way, is something that will always be special to me.”


Higgins sees the continued progress LGBTQ+ sports are making and is excited to continue connecting sporting event organizers and the hospitality communities to bring athletes to their cities, hotels and venues. One of the reasons for his success is a lesson he learned from sports and then was reminded of it by watching his kids:


Watching them grow, develop, and compete in their sports reminds me of how when you’re a kid the little things seem so monumental. The reality is [that] scores are forgotten, most wins and losses aren’t remembered, trophies get lost or broken, but people will always remember the way that you make them feel and that starts at a very young age.

Patrick Higgins makes people feel good, and those of us who have met him will always remember that!


By Brian Patrick



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