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From the Women’s Sports Foundation

Parents Can Help Make Youth Sports Safer for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Coaches and Athletes

The Women's Sports Foundation says parents can make sports safer for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender athletes by:

  • Monitoring their own stereotyped beliefs about LGBT people and commit themselves to challenging them.
  • Talking with their daughter or son about LGBT people in athletics to understand questions or negative or stereotypical beliefs they have about them.
  • Encouraging young people to stand up for fairness for everyone, even when peer pressure does not support this perspective.
  • Encouraging their school's athletic department to sponsor educational programs for athletes, coaches, and parents on LGBT issues in sport. 
  • Thanking coaches and athletic directors when they do sponsor educational programs focused on encouraging fairness, safety, and respect for all. 
  • Stopping young people from using anti-gay or sexist language and talk with them about why it is not acceptable.
  • Modeling respectful treatment of LGBT coaches and athletes for their son or daughter.
  • Challenging their own assumptions about the importance of rigid adherence to stereotypical gender expression for their children.
  • Considering the possibility that their son or daughter might be LGBT and identify ways they can support him or her.
  • Making it clear to their children that they have a right to set their own personal boundaries for interactions with teammates and coaches and that any unwanted breach of those boundaries is unacceptable.
  • Making it clear to their children that any coach, regardless of sexual orientation or gender, who engages in sexual talk or behavior with athletes is unethical. 
  • Attending athletic department or school-sponsored programs about LGBT issues.
  • Talking with other parents about the importance of encouraging young people to appreciate differences and treat all teammates and coaches with respect.
  • Reading books or news articles about LGBT issues in athletics to better understand how to make sports safe for all.
  • Using inclusive language that does not assume that all coaches or athletes are heterosexual.
  • Assuming always that there are LGBT people on athletic teams and among the coaching and support staff even if they have chosen not to identify themselves.
  • Proposing a non-discrimination policy for the athletic department at their child's school that includes sexual orientation and gender expression.
  • Treating all athletes and coaches fairly and respectfully regardless of their sexual orientation or gender expression.

Source: Women’s Sports Foundation

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