Charlotte, N.C. — Campus Pride has worked for the rights of LGBTQ students for 15 years, and has recently increased its focus on making collegiate sports a more inclusive environment for athletes.
Their efforts are drawing national attention, with an Outsports profile published Jan. 4.
The publication noted that Campus Pride has “created and enhanced resources to educate non-LGBTQ people in sports — and inspire LGBT athletes and coaches — to ensure that one of the most high-profile elements of college life is welcoming for all.”
“For the last six years Campus Pride has focused on collegiate sports as a community to spotlight LGBTQ voices, educate and create necessary policy change,” Campus Pride executive director Shane Windmeyer told qnotes. “Often sports is an environment that has been seen as hostile to LGBTQ people for various reasons. Our goal the last few years has been to create a paradigm shift of progress on campuses to improve athletic policies, programs and practices – particularly among campuses that have limited resources. We are proud of our success and hope that we can continue to fund this work moving into 2017.”
Outsports highlights the work Campus Pride did in 2016:
Campus Pride planned and implemented three HBCU LGBTQ Sports Inclusion Summits in the South, hosted on the campuses of Virginia State University, Alabama A&M University and North Carolina Central University. This was funded in part by Nike’s BeTrue campaign.
Campus Pride expanded outreach and support with the Campus Pride Sports Index; Public listing now has 24 campuses who have come out as LGBTQ-inclusive sports spaces wanting to improve for future.
Campus Pride in partnership with Soulforce worked to bring attention to the negative harms of Title IX religious exemptions, targeting the NCAA member institutions with these anti-LGBTQ policies and the harm to student athletes; Campus Pride wrote open letter asking NCAA to divest against discriminatory NCAA member institutions and had a protest event at NCAA Track & Field event.
Living and operating from inside North Carolina, Campus Pride served as an active visible voice for LGBTQ students and the movement in relation to HB2, specifically in regard to sporting events choosing to boycott the state.
Campus Pride attended NCAA Common Ground Conference, opening communication and breaking down barriers on LGBTQ and faith within athletics.
A poll conducted by Public Religion Research Institute in 2015 found that 73 percent of Americans would support a professional sports team signing a gay or lesbian athlete.
In other news, Campus Pride is joining in efforts to fight the Donald Trump nomination of Besty DeVos for Secretary of Education over her donations to anti-LGBTQ groups, like the National Organization for Marriage.
They have also joined a campaign to block Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos from speaking at college campuses. The controversial gay provocateur and admitted troll was banned from Twitter this past year for his role in the cyber bullying of “Ghostbusters” actress Leslie Jones and has been linked to the so-called “alt-right,” a re-branding of white nationalism, due to his coverage of the group for Breitbart, which many have seen as friendly.
The organizations also continues to be active in the fight against House Bill 2 (HB2), most recently holding a protest after the failed repeal of the law, following Charlotte City Council repeal of the expanded non-discrimination ordinance.
As the law remains in place, and the non-discrimination ordinances remains off the books, it is important to have organizations like Campus Pride based here in Charlotte to continue the work from within the community to fight for and maintain LGBTQ rights. Their efforts to work for those rights beyond Charlotte will be equally key and are likely to also be heavily tested under the incoming Trump administration.