New York City, NY - September 1, 2011. There are currently no out major league athletes in the United States. That a professional athlete like Kobe Bryant screams the "F" word at a referee and an Atlanta Braves coach yells homophobic slurs at San Francisco Giants fans, sends a message that homophobia in sports is okay.
"On a college level, things just don't get better. We have to pick the right college. 23% of LGB, lesbian- gay- and bi-identified students, faculty, and staff are harassed on campuses. A third of transgender students, faculty, and staff fear for their physical safety. I mean this is 2011," laments Shane Windmeyer, Executive Director & Founder of Campus Pride.
But the tide is turning, as more teams and athletes take a public stance supporting the LGBT community.
"Changing the Game," this month's episode of the award-winning public television series In the Life, goes inside the aggressive, homophobic world of sports with "Bam Bam" Meulens of the San Francisco Giants, former New York Giants running back Tiki Barber, rugby star Ben Cohen, and college wrestling champ Hudson Taylor.
"I always hearken it back to the Jackie Robinson era, says Barber. "Think about a time when African Americans weren't allowed to play sports simply because of the color of their skin. Think about the contributions that were missed then that are now capitalized on. It's the same thing with sexual orientation as it was with skin color. It doesn't matter. You're either a great athlete or you're not."
Featuring the pioneering work of GLSEN's Pat Griffin, out college athletes, and the Fearless exhibit, In the Life documents the concerted effort to end homophobia in sports. The show is produced by In The Life Media, which works for change through innovative media that exposes social injustice by chronicling lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender life.
Changing the Game also features a profile of a college-bound youth, Kadeem Swenson, who experienced homelessness and developed leadership skills with support from the organization Campus Pride.
In the Life is the longest running television show documenting the gay experience. A two-time Emmy Award nominee, the show has received numerous awards, including a Lambda Legal Liberty Award, a Seigenthaler Award from the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association for excellence in network television, and a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding TV Journalism-Newsmagazine.
Changing the Game will begin airing September 1st on public television stations across the country and will be available for free video streaming and downloadable podcasts from the In The Life Media website. To find out when it will air in your local area, to stream or download it, go to ITLMedia.org.
To watch the online premiere of "Changing the Game" click here.
Posted September 1, 2011