NYU Moving Up Day

I had the opportunity to be the keynote speaker at the NYU Moving Up Day celebration. It was a great opportunity to think about my journey, because I really began to settle into my identity as a trans guy during my time at NYU and while working in the NYU LGBTQ Student Center. It was a nice opportunity to reflect, share a bit of my journey with others, and celebrate the accomplishments of the amazing students there. And to be celebrated!

 

NCAA Inclusion Forum

The NCAA Inclusion Forum was in Indianapolis this year, and I was able to present again – last year I did a solo session, but this year I teamed up with the LEGENDARY Helen Carroll to present on NCAA Inclusion of Transgender Athletes.

These events are amazing because I get to meet a lot of people and help them create safer spaces for student athletes. But it’s basically a family reunion for me too, because I get to see so many of my favorite people:

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It was a great event – very happy to be a part of it!

Equality Connections Banquet

IMG_4426On May 28, I flew to Detroit to speak at the Equality Connections Banquet in support of the Equality Research Center. The Equality Research Center seeks to advance social justice by expanding public knowledge of LGBT experiences, stories, and voices.

In addition to my little speech, there was a presentation by The Bullycide Project, a theatrical production that travels to schools around the world to create anti-bullying awareness. In addition to reciving the Timothy Dyer Community Leadership Award, The Bullycide Project presented two short scenes to show its work. The Bullycide Project is based on the book “Bullycide in America,” written by mothers who have lost a child to suicide due to excessive bullying.

It was a great event for a great cause.

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PrideWorks 2015

prideworks_logoEarlier this month, I had the opportunity to attend PrideWorks at Pace University. I attended last year and was thrilled to be asked back by Anthony Nicodemo, who puts together a panel discussion for this conference annually. Over 600 LGBTQ and ally youth attended this year’s conference. What an awesome opportunity to let young people know they can be queer and be successful in sports!prideworks_2015

This year, Anthony, Derek Schell, and I spoke with high school students about our experiences as LGBTQ athletes and coaches. We talked about making the team atmosphere more inclusive, interrupting biased comments and actions, being a good ally, and how to navigate the coming out experience on a team.

A few athletes asked for help with deciding on a college – would their identity hurt them in the recruiting process? Would they be able to be out on a team, or would they have to be closeted? Derek’s story was helpful for the students to hear and weight the options. Derek attended a very conservative college and struggled for a long time with trying to hide his identity from his team and those around him. We discussed how students could determine if a college was LGBTQ friendly, and how to assess the athletic department and team cultures as well.

After the presentations, a few students told me they attended last year and returned to hear me again – which was very nice. There were plenty of new faces in the audience as well, and the most valuable part of the session for me was our Q&A, where the students shared their own experiences as an LGB person or as an ally. Hearing them talk about their experiences gave all of us on the panel an inside look as to what it’s like in high schools for athletes today.

We shared our resources, listed below for you as well:

GO! Athletes for support and community – GO! Athletes is the largest network of current and former LGBTQ student athletes

Trans*Athlete for trans*-inclusive policies – Trans*Athlete is a resource for athletes, coaches, and administrators on trans*-inclusive policies at various levels of play

Campus Pride for college assessment – Campus Pride’s annual index and sport’s index can help students make informed decisions about their education

You Can Play for visible signs of support – many athletes have made You Can Play videos

Big thank you to Anthony for having me be a part of this awesome event again!

Section One Leadership Conference

I really enjoyed speaking with high school coaches and athletic directors about bullying in athletics earlier this week at the Section One Leadership Conference. It was my first time speaking with fellow GO! Athletes Board Members Anna Aagenes & Sean Smith (shockingly) and it was a great session. Amazing stories and amazing athletes – it was great to hear their thoughts and bounce around ideas.

I also got to sit in on the athlete panel and hear the stories of Nora, Derek, Mai, and Matt as they talked to high school athletes. There were also sessions on responsible social media use, NCAA eligibility, and overall leadership.

I love events like this where we can really get the buy-in of the people who can help create change in their schools. Shout out to Anthony Nicodemo, who does a tremendous job organizing these events.

Photo credit: Anna!

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