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May 1, 2013 at 1:53 PM

National Gay & Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame Launched

Considering recent news of basketball players Brittney Griner and Jason Collins announcing they are lesbian and gay, respectively,it’s fitting this week the LGBT community would also hear about its first sports Hall of Fame.

According to a press release sent Wednesday, the National Gay & Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame, based in Chicago, will recognize those who have stood up to stereotypes and worked to break down the walls of differences to bring people together for the good of the games, according to the group’s executive director, Bill Gubrud. Nominations are currently being accepted and the inaugural induction is set for August at the Center on Halsted, a LGBT community center in Chicago.

It’ll be interesting to see the first inductees. CBS recently compiled a list of openly gay athleteson its site. Aside from being the first actively gay NBA player to come out, Collins has hardly done much athletically to be considered and Griner is on the cusp of her WNBA career, unable to express her sexuality while making history at Baylor due to a code of conduct.

My guess is tennis star Martina Navratalova, Olympians Johnny Weir (figure skating), Orlando Cruz (boxing) and Megan Rapinoe (soccer) and former MLB player Glenn Burke could be solid early picks. Burke more for taking a stand in the 1970s when society was less tolerant not because he was a great outfielder. Regardless, this type of honor is another positive move to help others see they’re not alone nor need to be deterred from their dreams based on gender, race or sexual preference.

Below is the full press release:

National Gay & Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame Launched

Non–profit organization will be first of its kind

(Chicago – May 1, 2013) – A new hall of fame – the first of its kind in the U.S. – has been established to honor individuals and organizations whose achievements and efforts have enhanced the fields of sports and athletics for the gay and lesbian community.

The National Gay & Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame, a 501 (c)(3) organization based in Chicago, will recognize those who have stood up to stereotypes and worked to break down the walls of differences to bring people together for the good of the games, according to the group’s executive director, Bill Gubrud.

“Sports are an American pastime, and honorees inducted will have brought together fans from all walks of life, demonstrating that everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, deserves the right to play, watch and win,” said Gubrud. “I envision an induction to the Hall of Fame not only being a great honor to obtain, but a vehicle for the inductees to continue to make advances within our community.”

In addition, the Hall of Fame will work to preserve the history of gays and lesbians who have impacted professional and amateur sports in a national setting. A major objective of the organization will be to provide outreach and education programs to the sporting world so that gay and lesbian youth all across the nation feel welcome and safe to participate in any and all athletic related activities.

The organization expects to accept its first round of nominations this summer, and induct its first honorees at a ceremony on August 2, 2013 at the Center on Halsted, a lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community center in Chicago, in conjunction with “Out at Wrigley Field” in Chicago on August 3,  2013. “Out at Wrigley” is the nation’s largest “Gay Day” at a major league sporting event. Gubrud originated “Out at Wrigley” in 2001.

Visit the Hall of Fame’s official website, www.gayandlesbiansports.com, for additional information about the organization, nomination forms, and upcoming events, along with news, links and commentary related to the organization’s mission.

Comments | More in Olympics, WNBA | Topics: Brittney Griner

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