BOSTON, MA (PRWEB) March 12, 2004 -
On March 26-28, 2004, the Gay & Lesbian Athletics Foundation (GLAF) will present their second annual conference for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered enthusiasts. Last year they hosted their first conference called the National Gay & Lesbian Athletics Conference at MIT. They will be returning to MIT to host the conference, but have added International to the title of the conference and packed the schedule with three full days of events. Registration and a preliminary program are available on the website http://www.GLAF.org.
Last years conference was well attended and sparked the cohesion of the LGBT athletic community. According to Mac Chinsomboon, Executive Director of the Gay & Lesbian Athletics Foundation, the conference was vital in working to dispel the myth that gays and sports dont mix and to foster an understanding between people who share a love of the game that transcends sexual orientation. He feels that last years conference was successful in providing a place where athletes, educators and spectators alike had the opportunity to explore how to achieve this effectively through creating a network and a community.
This year, the focus of the conference is aptly summed up in its title Taking on the Challenge. Rob Jagnow, Content Director for the conference says, Last year we had everyone that supports LGBT athletes involved in identifying and discussing the obstacles to eliminating homophobia in athletics. This year the content is focused on how to best address those issues and how to take action as a community.
This years focus and intent in direction is shown in the increase in information and activities at the conference. Jagnow explained that, last year we had several round table discussions on Friday evening for sport leaders, the majority of our panels occurred Saturday, and only one keynote and athletic event were held on Sunday. This year the round table congress will take up a full day on Friday, and the panels and keynotes will fill Saturday and Sunday. In addition, Outsports.com announced that they are hosting a sports game show at the conference.
Chinsomboon believes the full schedule is whats attracting people to attend the conference; Were expecting over 500 attendees from around the world.
The push for leadership, networking, and action will kick-off with the Friday Sports Leadership Congress, a sub-component of the conference, and the sporting groups represented will have meetings on the day prior, Thursday.
The Sports Leadership Congress last year was heavily attended. There was standing room only; the discussion had an incredible energy said Ross, a conference attendee. This years full-day Congress will serve as a precursor for the Conference. The Congress is designed to be a support network and information session for those involved with running and starting a sport league; it serves as an effective forum for sports leaders to learn from each other.
The panels cover topics of interest for all the groups involved in the athletics community. One panel, sponsored by National Association for Girls & Women in Sport (NAGWS), a division of the American Alliance for Health and Physical Education Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD), will cover the physical and sociological benefits to coming out. A similarly minded academia panel with a presentation of papers will be sponsored by the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies (CLAGS). The Womens Sports Foundation (WSF) is co-sponsoring a panel on diversity in sport with the Northeastern Universitys Center for the Study of Sport in Society. The National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) is the content sponsor for a panel for those involved with collegiate athletics. High school athletes and their issues addressing homophobia in sports will be addressed on a similar panel. Appropriately enough, in the current political climate, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) will be sponsoring the panel on LGBT legal rights. Finally, GLAF themselves are bringing back last years popular Olympics athletes panel that will feature several out, Olympic medalists and spokespeople from the US Olympic Committee.
GLAF is also bringing back the popular Health and Wellness Expo. Doctors David Chen and Lee Wolfer, GLAF Medical Directors, are working to greatly expand the health, wellness, and sports clinics designed for everyone from weekend warriors to athletic pros. Last year, GLAF offered complimentary massages and acupuncture. This year the Expo will be sponsored by Fenway Community Health and the Boston University Center for Athletics Enhancement. The Expo will run concurrently with the conference and feature sports clinics, professional demonstrations, and sponsor tables that still have a few openings.
The conference hopes to address the interests of all the different groups involved with athletics. Homophobia in sports doesnt just affect athletes, states Chinsomboon, It also affects coaches, administrators, trainers, parents, and doctors; governing sport groups, professional leagues and the media have a big part in directing those effects.
Chinsomboon goes on to add, The conference is not just about fulfilling the needs of gay athletes. Its also about fostering leadership and positive role models for youth.
This years conference follows on the heels of what was universally hailed as a stunning success last year. The event was covered by a number of media groups, including ESPN, Sports Illustrated, HBO Real Sports, Boston Globe, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and other notable LGBT and mainstream press. During the weekend of pending war with Iraq, the event still attracted over 300 attendees from the recreational, Olympic, international, professional, high school, and collegiate communities, with more than 20 colleges, over 27 states, and 5 countries represented (GLAF expects over 500 this year). GLAF announced post-conference that, We have received feedback from the attendees complimenting the professionalism and attention to detail, the content, the food, the committees, and the diversity.
Chinsomboon says that he hopes the conference will continue to attract a diverse group of attendees through the panel topics and noteworthy speakers. All of these components promise to add up to a lively conference with excellent discussions as well as progress in the issues that concern LGBT members of sport communities and impact society as a whole.
If you are interested in registering for the Conference, supporting and/or learning more about the Gay & Lesbian Athletics Foundation, you can check the website for pictures, a press kit that includes past articles and press releases, and sign up for information: http://www.GLAF.org.
Gay & Lesbian Athletics Foundation, March 26-28, 2004
http://www.GLAF.org – firstname.lastname@example.org
National Association for Girls & Women in Sport American Alliance for Health and Physical Education Recreation and Dance http://www.AAHPERD.org
Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies http://web.gc.cuny.edu/clags/index.html
Fenway Community Health http://www.fenwayhealth.org
Boston University Center for Athletics Enhancement http://www.bu.edu/cae
Womens Sports Foundation http://www.WomensSportsFoundation.org
National Collegiate Athletics Association http://www.ncaa.org
Northeastern University Center for the Study of Sport in Society http://www.sportinsociety.org
National Center for Lesbian Rights http://www.NCLRights.org
National Gay & Lesbian Athletics Foundation
PO Box 425034
Cambridge, MA 02142
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