Sports Advocacy

GLAAD's Sports Program works with professional sports teams and leagues to elevate affirming voices and build support for equality. GLAAD also works to address the persistent problem of homophobia in the game and on the stands by encouraging media outlets to report on these issues and promote messages of acceptance.

To find out more, contact us at sports@glaad.org.

Did You Know?

  • Openly lesbian tennis player Billie Jean King was the first tennis start to be named Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year in 1972. 
  • When asked if it was okay for openly gay athletes to participate in sports, over three-quarters of Sports Illustrated readers said “yes.”
  • Many of the same readers (68%), however, also admitted it would hurt an athlete’s career to be openly gay. 
  • Even when openly LGBT athletes win big, like Matthew Mitcham’s Olympic gold in Beijing, the media often doesn’t include details about their stories and families like it does for their straight peers.
  • There are more than 600 gay teams and leagues across the country, including basketball, rugby, softball, cycling, water polo, tennis, crew, soccer, football, volleyball and ice hockey.
  • An openly transgender athlete has never competed in the Olympics, but media have started talking about the policies that make it hard for trans athletes to participate. 
  • Over 20,000 LGBT athletes participated in the Chicago Gay Games and the Montreal World Outgames in 2006.