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Sports project to address GLBT issues in K-12 sports

In an effort to make K-12 sports and P.E. safer and more inclusive regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression, a group of concerned people have banded together to create Changing the Game. Among the advisory group: Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova; current NFL player Scott Fujita and former NFL player Wade Davis; Toronto Maple Leafs President and General Manager Brian Burke; three-time All-American wrestler Hudson Taylor; Outsports.com co-founder Cyd Zeigler; Rugby player Ben Cohen; former MLB player Billy Bean; and former NBA player John Amaechi; Olympic softball medalists Jessica Mendoza and Lauren Lappin; WNBA player Candice Wiggins and WNBA Coach Lin Dunn.

When asked if there were particular spaces at school students avoided because they felt unsafe or uncomfortable, 35.7% of LGBT student said locker rooms, the highest percentage of any place at school. Nearly 9 out of 10 LGBT youth (84.6%) said they’d experienced harassment in school in the past year because of their sexual orientation and nearly two-thirds (63.7%) because of their gender expression, according to GLSEN’s 2009 National School Climate Survey. Additionally, 61.1% said they felt unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation.

“GLSEN is committed to the principle that all students should have equal access to the services, supports and opportunities of a K-12 education,” GLSEN Executive Director Eliza Byard said. “Changing the Game is designed to help schools, coaches, athletes and families create a healthy atmosphere of respect in PE classes and competitive athletics. Sports and PE were a central part of my life growing up, and are critical for student health and well-being. Every child today should have the opportunity to participate fully and safely in every aspect of school life.”

It’s website features a collection of “Game Plan” resources for athletes, athletic administrators, coaches and parents; a Game Changer video project (see below) to raise awareness about people making a difference in the sports world every day; the Team Respect Challenge pledge for teams to commit to treat all teammates with respect. Additional Changing the Game programs will be introduced in the coming months.

Article adapted by ProudParenting.com from original press release