Athlete Activism is one of the cornerstones of our work, and student-athletes are on the frontlines of bringing LGBTQ+ advocacy to schools and communities worldwide. On May 31, Athlete Ally brought together 40+ student athletes and administrators from high schools and colleges across the country at our first-ever Student Athlete Activism Summit to strategize on how best to use their platforms and experiences to champion LGBTQ inclusion on campus and beyond.
The event included a panel discussion on The State of Athlete Activism: Lessons Learned and The Path Forward moderated by Peter Nelson, Executive VP of HBO Sports, and including panelists G Ryan, Program Specialist, Spectrum Center, University of Michigan; Ezra Baeli-Wang, Writer, Activist and Former ACC SAAC President; and Casey Legler, Author, Model and former Olympic swimmer. Ezra also delivered a powerful TED-style talk on his experience successfully organizing student athletes in opposition to North Carolina’s discriminatory bathroom bill. Students also took part in interactive workshops to map out obstacles, strategically leverage their stories, and learn how to mobilize on and off campus support.
Based on our survey data, participants overwhelmingly reported that they left the Summit feeling an enhanced connection to a network of supportive athletes and administrators at other colleges, and having gained access to educational resources and language to advance LGBTQ equity in sport at their home institutions. 98% of Summit participants reported feeling equipped to start conversations about LGBTQ equity in sport on their campus after attending the Summit, and 63% of participants saw a significant increase in feeling like they had the resources and information necessary to make meaningful change on their campus and community.
Have a look at the recap video from our event, and please share with your networks to support these student-athletes and their incredible work to champion LGBTQ inclusion in sport and society!