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New survey measures LGBT friendliness of college athletics

Campus Pride launches sports index spin-off

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Campus Pride Sports Index, gay news, Washington Blade
Campus Pride Sports Index, gay news, Washington Blade

From left are Prin (no last name given), Shane Windmeyer and Allison Turner at the Campus Pride home base in Charlotte, N.C. (Photo courtesy Campus Pride)

Campus Pride, the organization behind the Campus Pride Index, a national listing of LGBT-friendly U.S. colleges, quietly launched a spin-off in June.

The new Campus Pride Sports Index, in development since 2001, is a resource that helps colleges self assess how welcoming and inclusive their athletic programs are for LGBT students. The same team that launched the main Campus Pride Index, which averages about 80,000 unique visitors per month, also worked on the Sports Index and said there is a need for a separate gauge for athletics.

“Singling out sports in particular is important because it is one of those areas of campus life that has not been as LGBT-inclusive generally as other areas have been,” says Genny Beemyn, a gender nonconforming author and academic who helped edit the responses. “On a lot of campuses, especially at very large universities, sports are a big part of campus life so we want to make sure that LGBT students are treated equally and feel welcome when they participate.”

Participation is voluntary for schools. To begin, a campus official creates an account and takes an online assessment that involves about 50 questions that correspond to five different LGBT-friendly factors. It doesn’t have to be completed in one sitting as sometimes officials have to conduct research to answer some of the questions accurately.

Once completed, the official receives a confidential report of the responses along with results and recommendations. Each school may decide how much of the information it wants to have posted online. The index measures policy, program and practice and asks questions such as, “Is there ongoing training for full-time staff that’s inclusive of sexual orientation,” “Is there a visible reporting mechanism for responding to anti-LGBT harassment, verbal conduct or practices,” “Is there private changing space and showers in locker rooms for transgender participants” and so on.

The survey can be conducted at any time of the academic year. Schools are ranked by earning up to five medals. California State University in Chico, Calif., for instance, has two-and-a-half medals on the index. There’s no cost for colleges to participate.

So far just 14 schools have completed the assessment but Campus Pride officials hope to have about 100 colleges included by year’s end. The June launch was considered a “soft opening.” Campus Pride workers hope to launch the new index with more fanfare this fall, perhaps with a tie in to a major college football program or event.

“We tend to think of colleges as these liberal bastions that have all these progressive policies, but only about 20 percent of U.S. colleges even have a basic non-discrimination policy in place that’s inclusive of sexual orientation,” says Shane Windmeyer, co-founder and executive director of Campus Pride. “It’s even lower around gender identity and expression.”

Unlike, for example, the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index, an annual report of businesses and their LGBT policies or lack thereof, both the Campus Pride Index and the Sports Index are voluntary.

“It’s not really our purpose to rank schools on our own,” Windmeyer says. “The Sports Index gives them the opportunity to come out as LGBTQ-friendly, just like an individual has to live openly and come out. We don’t think it’s our job to go to a school and rate them unless they’re willing to do it. And they have to think about what message not participating sends to prospective students as well. If your college doesn’t have the time to participate, then why would you want to go there?”

Schools can improve over time. On the Campus Pride Index, Windmeyer says some schools came back in subsequent years and about 80 percent that returned improved in at least one area. He knows of one college in Ohio that included improving on the index as one goal in its official strategic plan for diversity. Although the Sports Index is new, Windmeyer says he anticipates it will be used as a similar benchmark in coming years.

Windmeyer says early feedback has been positive.

“The Sports Index has been an invaluable tool to the University of Richmond as we continue to ensure all of our campus is inclusive of the LGBTQ community,” says Ted Lewis, associate director of Common Ground for LGBTQ Campus Life at the University of Richmond. “We are very proud of our three-and-a-half medal ranking and the beauty of the assessment is we now have tangible next steps to continue our journey of full inclusion in varsity athletics and recreation sports.”

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Las Vegas Raiders head coach resigns after homophobic emails surface

Discovery made during misconduct investigation into the Washington Football Team

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Courtesy of ESPN

LAS VEGAS — The head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders, Jon Gruden resigned his post Monday after an article in the New York Times reported that he frequently used misogynistic and homophobic language directed at Commissioner Roger Goodell and others in the National Football League, (NFL).

The emails were discovered in a workplace misconduct investigation into the Washington Football Team the Times reported, but ended up costing Gruden his job when they also showed Gruden denounced the drafting of a gay player and the tolerance of players protesting during the playing of the national anthem among other issues.

In a statement released by the team late Monday, Gruden said; “I have resigned as Head Coach of the Las Vegas Raiders. I love the Raiders and do not want to be a distraction. Thank you to all the players, coaches, staff, and fans of Raider Nation. I’m sorry, I never meant to hurt anyone.”

The sequence of events started last Friday when the Wall Street Journal reported that Gruden used a racist term to describe NFL union chief DeMaurice Smith in a 2011 email to the Washington team’s former executive Bruce Allen.

According to the Associated Press, Gruden apologized for his “insensitive remarks” about Smith, saying they were made out of frustration over the 2011 lockout. But the latest emails sent from between 2011-18 when Gruden was an analyst for ESPN show his use of derogatory language went well beyond that.

A league source confirmed the accuracy of the emails to the Associated Press and said they were sent to the Raiders last week. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the league hasn’t made the emails public.

The New York Times and the Associated Press both noted that Gruden used a gay slur to insult Goodell and said he was “clueless” and “anti-football.” He also said Goodell shouldn’t have pressured the Rams to draft “queers,” a reference to Michael Sam, who was the first openly gay player drafted by an NFL team.

Gruden’s abrupt resignation was announced live on the Colts/Ravens “Monday Night Football” broadcast when the NFL ran multiple LGBTQ-inclusive advertisements, including one featuring an NFL logo wrapped in the colors of the Trans Flag and Rainbow Flag Gay City News Editor Matt Tracy reported.

Raiders owner Mark Davis issued a statement which only said that he accepted Gruden’s resignation. In a separate statement the Raiders announced that special teams and assistant head coach Rich Bisaccia will serve as Interim Head Coach of the Las Vegas Raiders, effective immediately.

“Coach Bisaccia will meet with the media at the regularly scheduled media availability on Wednesday,” the team said.

According to ESPN and the Associated Press, Bisaccia has been a special teams coordinator in the NFL for 19 seasons with the Raiders, Chargers, Dallas and Tampa Bay. He has no head coaching experience but his elevation will allow other assistants in the Raiders organization such as defensive coordinator Gus Bradley to stay in their current roles.

Jon Gruden resigns as Raiders head coach | SC with SVP

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New Zealand university names trans athlete ‘sportswoman of the year’

Laurel Hubbard is first out trans woman to compete in Olympics

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Screenshot via CBS Sports

DUNEDIN, New Zealand — Olympic weightlifter Laurel Hubbard was named “sportswoman of the year” at the prestigious 113-year-old University of Otago and OUSA Blues and Golds Awards event this past week.

The 43-year-old Queenstown, South Island, native was the first openly transgender woman to compete in an Olympics when she competed in the women’s 87kg weightlifting event at the 2021 Tokyo Games.

In a statement to the local newspaper, the Otago Daily Times, Hubbard said she was ‘‘grateful for all of the support and kindness received from the teaching staff and students at Otago University.’’

‘‘It is not possible for athletes to complete at the Olympic level without the encouragement and aroha [a Māori word meaning “love”] of friends, family and supporters.

‘‘This award belongs to everyone who has been part of my Olympic journey,’’ she told the paper.

Hubbard’s participation at the Tokyo Games had provoked controversy as she had prepared for competing as the world’s first out transgender woman Olympian. The director of medicine and science for the International Olympic Committee, Dr. Richard Budgett, directly addressed those who had attacked and mocked the New Zealander and claimed she shouldn’t be competing with cisgender women, saying  “everyone agrees that trans women are women.”

“To put it in a nutshell,” he said, “the IOC had a scientific consensus back in 2015. There are no IOC rules or regulations around transgender participation. That depends on each international federation. So Laurel Hubbard is a woman, is competing under the rules of her federation and we have to pay tribute to her courage and tenacity in actually competing and qualifying for the Games.”

Otago University Students’ Association president Michaela Waite-Harvey told the Otago Daily Times that the Blues awards aim to highlight Otago students excelling in their chosen sport.

‘‘We could think of no-one more worthy of sportswoman of the year than Laurel Hubbard who represented Otago and New Zealand incredibly well at this year’s Tokyo Olympics.’’

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Gold medalist Tom Daley battled COVID in hospital prior to Tokyo games

An x-ray revealed “blotches” on his lungs, and he was kept at the hospital for 10 hours to increase his oxygen levels

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Tom Daley (Photo by sportsphotographer.eu via Bigstock)

LONDON – British Olympic champion diver Tom Daley acknowledged in an recent interview with British newspaper The Times, that he had been secretly rushed to hospital seven months prior to the summer Tokyo Olympic games after contracting the coronavirus.

Daley told the paper “[my] lungs felt pressurised, as if they had sacks of rice around them”, and added: “Every time I stood up, I felt the room spinning and a blinding white light, as if I was going to faint, and as if I couldn’t get enough oxygen into my body.”

He went on to describe his ordeal in graphic details telling Times journalist Jane Mulkerrins that he gave specific instructions to his husband, screenwriter D. Lance Black one night as he headed off to sleep, what to do in the event he quit breathing.

He also told Mulkerrins he was frightened for their son Robbie if he and his husband both contracted the COVID-19 coronavirus, especially after he was rushed to hospital by ambulance unable to breath correctly.

When his head began to feel like it had “a vice tightening around it” and his “oxygen levels were dropping,” it was at that point Daley said he decided to call 111. [The UK’s emergency phone number]

‘My oxygen levels were dropping’

He was rushed to hospital in an ambulance and put on oxygen. An x-ray revealed “blotches” on his lungs, and he was kept at the hospital for 10 hours to increase his oxygen levels, The Times reported.

“I understood how quickly things could potentially go downhill,” said Daley.

“I had flashes of fear about whether I would be put on a ventilator, and my time being up. I was really terrified.”

He also described his reasons for keeping his ordeal secret so that his rivals in his sport wouldn’t know.

The episode kept the Olympian diver out of training for nearly seven months although Daley along with his British teammate diving partner Matty Lee won the gold with a score of 471.81 in the men’s synchronized diving on at the Tokyo 2021 games.

After tough competition in the Men’s 10m platform diving from China’s Cao Yuan who picked up the Gold Medal and his teammate Yang Jian cinching the number two spot with a Silver Medal, the 27-year-old Daley secured a Bronze Medal win with a score of 548.25.

It was the second Olympic Bronze Medal for the Plymouth, England native, in individual diving completion since he won bronze at the London Games in 2012. Daley and his teammate Daniel Goodfellow won a Bronze Medal in the 10m synchronised at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.

The Times interview comes as the paper’s magazine is serializing Daley’s new book, Coming Up for Air: What I Learned from Sport, Fame and Fatherhood, which is due to be published by Harper Collins on October 14.

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