Press Advisory – Chicago Supports LGBT athletes – 5/7/13

PRESS ADVISORY FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Alderman Joe Moore and the Human Relations Committee of the Chicago City Council team up with The Last Closet to hold hearings regarding a resolution supporting LGBT athletes.

Contact:
The Last Closet:                                              Alderman Joseph A. Moore’s office:
Fawn Yacker – Project Director                   Betsy Vandercook, Chief of Staff
tel. 415- 334-1200                                           tel. 773-338-5796
email – thelastcloset@gmail.com                email – betsy.vandercook@cityofchicago.org
www.thelastcloset.org

Please join us at the following:

Public Hearings prior to the resolution coming to a vote
Tuesday, May 7, 2013. 10:00 am to noon
Chicago City Hall (121 N LaSalle Street) Room 201A

Please join Alderman Joe Moore and Fawn Yacker of The Last Closet for public hearings regarding a historic resolution to be introduced for passage by the Chicago City Council.

On May 7th local sports figures, and representatives from Chicago area LGBT organizations, professional sports teams and universities will give supportive statements in favor of a resolution that supports lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender athletes.

Confirmed to attend (partial list): Alderman Moore (49th), Tom Tunney (44th), James Cappleman (46th), and others; Fawn Yacker, project director of The Last Closet; Christina Kahrl, ESPN.com writer; Fallon Fox, MMA fighter; and Esera Tuaolo, out retired NFL player.  Also represented will be the Chicago Fire and the Chicago Bears; Equality Illinois; Chicago Commission on Human Relations; Trevor Project; Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG); National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame; the National Coalition of Lesbian Rights (NCLR); Illinois Safe Schools Alliance (The Alliance);  Go!Athletes; The Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation; Center on Halsted; The University of  Chicago; Northwestern University; local LGBT sports teams and more.

Specifically this resolution encourages the Commissioners from major sports leagues – Major League Baseball, National Football League, National Basketball Association, and Major League Soccer – to state, on camera, that they support their gay players, will invite them to come out, and will take all action necessary to ensure their safety. National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman has recently taken this important step by publicly welcoming gay athletes within the NHL to come out if they choose to do so.  In light of NBA player Jason Collin’s announcement this week that he is gay, it is vital that the other four league Commissioners prepare for the inevitability of more players coming out.

This resolution can potentially be the model for cities and counties across the nation, helping to open the closet doors of professional sports. Our youth need gay sports heroes. Bias based harassment is complicit in the disturbing statistics related to LGBT youth taking their own lives. It is fitting that Chicago, as a progressive LGBT-friendly city that hosts several professional sports teams, assumes a leadership role on this important issue.

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Press Conference preceding the City Council vote on the resolution
Wednesday, May 8, 2013. 9:00 am
Chicago City Hall, Second Floor, by the elevators

On May 8th, Aldermen Moore, Tunney, and Cappleman, Fawn Yacker, and other supporters will hold a press conference as this historic resolution heads to the Chicago City Council for a vote. If passed, Chicago would become just the second city to declare its backing for LGBT athletes (San Francisco was the first in October 2012).

The Last Closet is a grassroots movement and campaign to end the prevailing silence around homophobia in pro sports and to encourage professional athletes, commissioners, team owners and other members of the sports world to consent to in-depth interviews about this subject. These interviews reveal what the current climate would be for a publicly out pro athlete (and what kind of support systems could/should be put in place). The goal of The Last Closet is to establish the connection between positive gay role models and the reduction of gay youth suicide and bullying incidents.  Visit The Last Closet at http://www.thelastcloset.org.