Coming Out In Sports: Speaker Event

By Emily Mangan '16 and Tori Eldridge '16, Show Your Sport co-directors

The week leading up to Show Your Sport's first Speaker Event, we have been thinking a lot about the work that we have put into the last year that has led to this exciting moment. We were both motivated to get involved in the campaign when it began a year ago because of the personal drive we both felt for creating LGBTQ inclusivity within our teams. As soon as we saw the movement that was happening, we wanted to be a part of it. 

In the second year of Show Your Sport's Coming Out Takes Courage campaign, the team sought to bring speakers to campus in order to address issues surrounding LGBTQ inclusivity. The poster campaign last spring was a huge success, and we wanted to continue the conversation through a new avenue. Co-Founders Aria Goodman and Clare Kenny continued to mentor us throughout this process and lent their unwavering support towards this initiative. 

Back in November, Emily reached out to the organization Everyone Is Gay to discuss bringing them to speak on Skidmore’s campus. Once Emily and Kristin spoke about Show Your Sport’s mission, they realized that the event would be best served by including someone with ample experience in athletics rather than just the typical Everyone Is Gay event. Kristin reached out to her friend Kate Fagan at ESPN, and both agreed that this was an important topic and wonderful opportunity for them to speak specifically about LGBTQ identities in sports. The two of them have never done a speaking event like this together before, so this is an exciting opportunity for all of us. 

Kristin Russo is the co-founder of Everyone Is Gay, and The Parents Project, the author of “This is a Book for Parents of Gay Kids,” and the host of the PBS digital series “First Person.” She speaks about LGBTQ issues at college campuses around the country in order to create accepting environments for queer students and families. 

Kate Fagan is a columnist and feature writer for espnW, ESPN.com, and ESPN Magazine. She is also a regular panelist on ESPN TV, and is the author of “The Reappearing Act,” a memoir about coming out as a DI basketball player at a conservative Christian school.  She is currently working on a book about the mental health of athletes.

The event provides us the opportunity to hear and be heard through a moderated conversation between Kate, Kristin, and the audience. The topics we will cover include athletics, personal spaces, and allyship. These topics will be addressed so that audience members who are new to conversations about LGBTQ inclusivity can readily access the material.

We feel so lucky to have had the support of the College through numerous departments. The campus-wide support clearly speaks to the necessity of this conversation and the foundation we already have to create meaningful change. It is unbelievable to be finally see this dream become a reality. If you are interested in participating in this event, check out our Facebook page, submit a question for us to ask Kate and Kristin, and join us Monday, April 11, at 8pm in Filene. We look forward to seeing you there.