Champion Respect

As leaders, coaches can play a major role in creating inclusive team spaces by setting an example of and modeling respect for everyone, at all times. Research shows that a coach’s attitudes and values are often mimicked by players. As such, your attitudes and actions matter. Championing respect and inclusion starts with your own inclusive philosophy. Be mindful and intentional. For examples of LGBTQ+-inclusive team codes of conduct, see Athlete Ally’s 10 Policies for LGBTQ Inclusion.

Words Matter

Homophobic, transphobic or sexist language should be banned on and off the field. Be mindful of the language you use when working with players, parents and other coaches. If you hear homophobic, transphobic or sexist language on or off the field, immediately address it with players and explain why it is not tolerated. Expressing that you will not tolerate such language establishes a clear boundary of respect and fosters an inclusive atmosphere.

Get Trained

In sports, you can’t improve unless you’re willing to acknowledge and work on your weaknesses. Not sure what to do if a player or coach comes out? Want to know how to create safe LGBTQ+-inclusive spaces? Step up, ask those hard questions, get informed, and get trained. LGBTQ+ inclusion training helps create inclusive spaces where all players can thrive, and where teams/organizations can flesh out their values. For more information about LGBTQ+-inclusion trainings, contact Athlete Ally.

Stay Informed

Traveling to a new venue, program, or city to compete? Make sure you are informed of the area’s LGBTQ+-related laws and policies (or lack thereof). For example, will your players be able to use bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity? Will your potential LGBTQ+ athletes and/or their family members have equal access to restaurants without facing state-sanctioned discrimination? This knowledge allows you to help curate an inclusive experience for all players, and helps you, your players and their families to make informed decisions when traveling and competing.

Champion Change

Change comes from within. Organizations, schools and leagues become more inclusive when coaches support positive change on team and administrative levels. If your school or organization lacks
LGBTQ-inclusive policies or practices, speak up and advocate for change. Inclusive policies can spark a chain reaction. Your commitment to diversity and inclusion for LGBTQ+ athletes, fans and coaches can extend far beyond just your team or league. For examples of best practices and policies, see Athlete Ally’s 10 Policies for LGBTQ+ Inclusion.

Athlete Ally works to end homophobia and transphobia through education, policy and athlete activism, and mobilizes the athletic community to champion LGBTQ+ rights in and through sport.