Nike’s Big Leap Forward

It certainly wasn’t long ago that any discussion of athletics and homosexuality in the business world was met with executives sticking their index fingers in their ears and screaming, “Nah nah nah nah nah nah nah,” in efforts to avoid the topic.

But now comes the announcement of the the first-ever Nike LGBT Sports Summit, which will take place on the company’s sprawling campus in Beaverton, Ore., June 14-16. A former All-Ivy 800-meter runner and team captain — 2010 Penn graduate Anna Aagenes — will represent Our Group at the Summit and contribute to broke the news of the Summit yesterday, writing:

The goal of this ground-breaking event is to create a team game plan for ending homophobia and transphobia in sport that takes advantage of the best thinking and strengths of each organization. The aim is to increase our ability to collaborate on bringing about the change we all are committed to.

For the better part of three days, summit participants will identify and commit to completing specific action plans toward ending anti-LGBT discrimination in sports. They’ll also forge inter-group relationships to carry out these action plans. The organizations involved in this inaugural summit include the American Alliance for Health Physical Education Recreation and Dance, Athlete Ally, Br{ache the Silence, Campus Pride, ESPN, Fearless campaign, Federation of Gay Games, Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), It Gets Better campaign, National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), Nike, Our Group, Outsports, StandUp Foundation, and You Can Play project.

Aagenes, who told Philly Magazine that she’d “come out to … my friends and the team only a few months into my freshman year,” has been active in the LGBT community since, serving as chair of PATH (Penn Athletes and Allies Tackling Homophobia) as well as the chair of the QSA (Queer Student Alliance), the largest LGBT undergraduate group at Penn.

She is now the Executive Director of Our Group, an outreach and support organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) high school and college student-athletes and allies. To learn more about her group, please click here.

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