Posted by | November 9th 2012

Or how the world series ignited a spark.

On Oct. 30, 2012, a historic resolution was introduced and ultimately passed by the City of San Francisco via the Board of Supervisors.

It states –  Resolution requesting the Commissioners of professional men’s sports to take part in The Last Closet Campaign, by going on record in a public interview in support of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender athletes and to commit to setting up support systems and safeguards that allow athletes to be openly out and participate in sports without worry of discrimination or retaliation. 

All of this happened in record speed. Here’s how it came down.

Wed. Oct. 24 late evening – I read an earth shaking email from the former mayor of San Francisco, Art Agnos saying – “My political instincts tell me this world series is an opportunity to call attention to your project about Commissioner interviews.” He explains that he and his former speech writer, Larry Bush, wrote a letter in support of The Last Closet and its basic campaign premise – asking the commissioners of the five major pro sports leagues to say on camera that they support their LGBT athletes by inviting them to come out. The letter also states our second objective – to have a safe and respectful environment for these athletes to step into.

Mayor Agnos suggests asking the Board of Supervisors to create a resolution based on his letter.

Thurs. Oct. 25 – The next morning, not even waiting for an email response from me, the mayor called and asked if we should proceed.

My answer, of course, was a resounding yes.

A series of tasks ensue that spun so fast, food and sleep became irrelevant.

That morning revisions of the letter go back and forth to prepare it for presentation to the supervisors.

That afternoon Art Agnos presents the letter to San Francisco District 5 Supervisor, Christina Olague. He also lists (8) directives for us all to follow to move forward. One of which was to include District 9 Supervisor David Campos.

Later that afternoon Stephanie Tucker, legislative aide from Supervisor Olague’s office, takes the reigns and gets other supervisors on board to sign the letter. That letter will ultimately be sent to the five league commissioners, a copy of which would be distributed at a press conference slated for that coming Tues. Oct. 30.

By now others on our team have gotten the alert and jumped on board. Jennifer Kelley, The Last Closet co-director, Cyd Zeigler, The Last Closet co-producer and co-founder of Outsports.com and Dee Mosbacher, president of Woman Vision.

We put out an SOS to our friends and allies asking for help getting press to the event. Luckily, Helen Carroll, sports project director for NCLR  (National Center for Lesbian Rights) jumps in and lends us Erik Olvera, NCLR’s media coordinator.

Friday Oct. 26 – Tweets, emails, Facebook posts begin to fly; speeches are written; posters are made and email upon email is exchanged. Press lists are collated. Our knight in shining armor in the form of Kevin Lynch, writer for the Niner Insider Blog of SF Gate, takes our hand. He provides more press contacts than we can shake a stick at. He had written a blog the week before letting his readers know about our site.

All of this is happening as the Giants begin their historic sweep. We worry that the press conference will end up being on the same day as the parade if the Giants win, thus taking any amount of publicity we hope to get. We press on. So to speak.

The weekend Oct. 27,28 – Strategy, media alerts composed, Sean Chapin, the main force behind getting the SF Giants to make an It Gets Better video, agrees to video tape the event. More emails fly.

The Giants WIN the world series!!

Mon. Oct. 29 – Media alert composed and passed back and forth too many times and then finally released. Hurricane Sandy impacts our available help. Erik Alvera has to step out to take the work overload at NCLR. Their lawyers are stuck on the East Coast. We take over his press contacts. Stephanie Tucker makes calls to the press. Late that afternoon all media alerts are out.

AND THEN WE GET THE WORD. Luckily the Giant’s parade will not be on Tues., the day of our conference, but will be on Wed.

HOWEVER, the location of the press conference which was to be held on the steps of City Hall would need to be changed. Tuesday, the city would be building a platform on the steps for the parade on Wed.

New alerts are sent out with the change of location. We hope anyone gets them on time.

Better news is that David Kopay, the first ever NFL player to come out, has agreed to join us at the press conference. There is one seat left on the flight that Cyd Zeigler had booked for himself leaving from LA to SF on Tuesday morning. I scramble to get that seat seat for David. Success.

Tues. Oct. 30 – The press conference takes place at 11:30am. Jennifer Kelley holds down the fort as Sean Chapin and Dee Mosbacher set up cameras. We get broadcast and print coverage even with the change of venue, the fact that naked people were protesting outside City Hall at the same time, and the press was only formally notified the day before. Oh, and then there was the Giants parade preparation.

The proceedings begin – both Supervisors make heartfelt statements as out civil servants. I speak along with Cyd Zeigler (TLC co-producer) and Helen Carroll (NCLR sports project director). David Kopay speaks as well, telling his story of having been closeted and then bursting out. His book, “The David Kopay Story” tells his story in detail. We take questions and answers. Roger Brigham from the B.A.R. and founder of Equality Coaching Alliance asks relevant and important questions as do others.

We decompress and go to a fabulous lunch at Max’s on Van Ness. Thank you Dee Mosbacher for that treat.

And thank you all who helped make this happen.

There are plans in the works to have this resolution be a model for cities and counties nationwide. If you are interested in participating in helping make this happen please contact us at: thelastcloset@gmail.com

You can see more press coverage by clicking this link - http://www.thelastcloset.org/tlc-in-the-news/

The full resolution can be seen here - http://www.thelastcloset.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/City-of-San-Francisco-Resolution.pdf

 

 

 

 

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