PRIDE month has wound down, and before we get swept up in 4th of July plans, I want to share how eye-opening and inspiring it was to represent Katalyst Group at Outsports Pride’s conference at UCLA. The “Male Pro-Athlete Debate” panel was standing room only and you could have heard a pin drop during Ryan O’Callaghan’s riveting reading from his book “My Life on the Line”; in fact, the article about Ryan in Outsports written by Cyd Zeigler ranked #1 on a Sports Illustrated “Must Read” list.
People eagerly networked, lamenting common challenges and celebrating personal triumphs like the nostalgic tales shared by pioneer David Kopay. Participants ran the gamut from high school athletes to pro sports including the Vikings, LA Dodgers, CBS Sports, the 49ers, and NJ Devils among many others. The impressive work of Homefield Alliance, the first sports and entertainment industry affinity group, was showcased. The “Real-Life Effects of the Trans-Athlete Debate on Trans Women” panel highlighted essential factors affecting feelings of safety, inclusion, and belonging such as religion, family origins, and coach/peer attitudes. A personal highlight was meeting a childhood hero, Olympic diver Greg Louganis from the “Generation of Olympians” panel.
As Independence Day nears, I’m mindful that personal includes freedom to be you on your own terms, which has been an essential lynchpin and privilege in my own evolution these past few years. As a friend and ally of the LGBTQIA+ community, I hope my personal advocacy and Katalyst Group's diversity and inclusion work can contribute to keeping PRIDE alive 365 days a year.