OutSport Toronto Attends Nike #BETRUE LGBT Sport Summit

14 July 2013

Be True 2013 LogoOUTSPORT TORONTO was honoured to be invited to attend the second Nike LGBT Sport Summit in Portland Oregon in June of 2013.  Asked to participate because of its recognised accomplishments as a city-based organisation, OUTSPORT TORONTO sent its Chair, Shawn Sheridan, to attend the summit.

"We were delighted to be invited," said Sheridan.  "This was an excellent opportunity to connect with the broader LGBT sport and rec community in North America, showcase a bit of what OUTSPORT TORONTO and our member organisations have accomplished in Toronto that makes LGBT sport and rec here so vibrant, and help to contribute the the greater cause of all those gathered, which is to end anti-LGBT bias in sports by 2016.  OUTSPORT TORONTO made some great new connections, and renewed some good friendships."  Sheridan was one of roughly a hundred participants at the summit.

The summit ran from 13 to 15 June, culminating with participants being able to march with Nike in the Portland Pride parade.  Last years' attendees gathered on the 12th in preparation for the main part of the summit, which included the formation of the "LGBT Sports Coalition", a more formal structure for a number of core organisations that includes an eight-member coordinating committee and a media rapid-response plan.  The StandUp Foundation is the coalition's fiscal sponsor, and Nike's #BeTrue line will help fund the new coalition.

A key focus of this year's summit was on actionable items.  "It was very clear that not only did people really care about this, but they wanted to be able to do concrete things to make a difference," recounted Sheridan.  "Whether it was university athletics, pro sport, community-based LGBT sport and rec, or figuring out how to tackle K to 12, there was passion and commitment in the room.  It was also interesting being there as a Canadian, one of a handful who attended.  I participated in a K to 12 session, and it was amazing to see how different Canada is in terms of education policy and particularly equity and inclusivity for LGBT students as compared to the United States.  We are lucky in Canada!  And I'm hopeful that the Canadian perspective we were able to share helped to provide some guidance and inspiration to our American friends."

Additional coverage of the summit can be found in the SB*Nation Outsport.com article "LGBT Sports Summit formalizes coalition at Nike, creates action items to end anti-LGBT bias in sports".