Our Mission Statement – The National Gay & Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame’s mission is to recognize both individuals and organizations whose achievements and efforts have enhanced sports and athletics for the LGBT community. In addition, the Hall of Fame will preserve the history of LGBT individuals who have impacted professional and amateur sports and provide outreach and education to the sporting world so that LGBT youth all across the nation feel welcome and safe to participate in any and all athletic related activities.
Dave Pallone, born October 5, 1951, is the MLB’s first gay umpire. Dave Pallone worked 18 years as a professional umpire; 10 of those years (1979-1988) with the National Baseball League. As the third youngest umpire in baseball history, he demonstrated courage, professionalism and the ability to withstand adversity through many of baseball’s high profile and controversial events. He is the author of the 1990 New York Time’s best-selling autobiography, Behind the Mask: My Double Life in Baseball.
Dave has brought his acclaimed presentations, ‘WHO’S REALLY ON FIRST’ and ‘THE BEST SEAT IN THE HOUSE BUT YOU HAVE TO STAND’, to conferences as a keynote speaker, as a diversity trainer on sexual orientation for corporations, and to hundreds of college campuses to their students, athletic departments, and staffs.
An English activist and former England rugby union international player. Cohen was awarded Gay Times’ sports personality of the year in 2008. He founded the StandUp Foundation that raises awareness of the damaging effects of bullying and help those that work to stop it.
The first American male team-sport professional athlete to be openly gay during his playing career. He had been a professional lacrosse goaltender for the Long Island Lizards of Major League Lacrosse. He now goes to schools to speak to stop the use of homophobic language in sports.
A boxer from Puerto Rico and was the first boxer to come out as gay. He has a number of wins of under his belt. He works to promote being a hero for children and teenagers.
The founder of the Gay Games in 1982 in San Francisco in the form of a sports competition and arts festival. In June, 1976, he and landscape designer Charles Deaton were featured on the over of People magazine and the first gay couple to appear on the cover of a major, national magazine.
a journalist and commentator for CNN and ESPN. Contributor to ESPN’s Sports Center, Outside the Lines and ESPN First Take and commentates for ESPN’s coverage of the U.S. Open tennis tournament and also hosted the web-based ESPN360 talk show Game Night. He sits on the advisory board for the You Can Play Project.
Baseball team with a long rich history in Chicago, Illinois. They are members of the Central Division of Major League Baseball’s National League. They are the first professional sports team to advertise in an GLBT publication and are host to the annual Out at Wrigley event- the largest gay day of the sporting world.
As a former world number one professional tennis player. King won a total of 39 Grand Slam titles throughout her career. Including 12 singles, 16 doubles and 11 mixed doubles titles. King is also known as the first prominent professional female athlete known to be lesbian.
NBA center for the Washington Wizards. In April 2013, he publicly came out as gay, also becoming the second active male athlete from one of the four major North American professional team sports to publicly do so. He wears jersey number 98 in honor of Matthew Shepard, the victim of a gay hate crime in 1998.
Openly gay and an American Olympic diver who won gold medals at the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Games for both the springboard and platform. He is the only male and the second diver in Olympic history to sweep the diving events in consecutive Olympic Games. Louganis has shared his story on coming out and testing positive for HIV through his best-selling autobiography Breaking the Surface. The book spent five weeks at number one on the New York Times Best Seller list.
A tennis legend; she has won 59 Grand Slam crowns and a record 9 Wimbledon singles champions. Martina was one of the first to come out in 1981 and is currently an advocate for equal rights and a strong supporter of many charities for the LGBT community.
An online site for quality sports content and a forum to discuss that content. They are a division of SB Nation, which is the largest network of fan-centric online sports communities. Focusing on developing grassroots sports-based sites, Outsports.com is the leader is gay sports.
Known as the Godfather of gay softball. He was a founding member of the Big Apple Softball League in New York City and is one of the earliest to promote the sport among gay men in the U.S.
known as the “Bleacher Preacher,” became famous during his days as a regular in the Wrigley Field bleachers during the 1980s. He is largely the subject of the Lonny Wheeler book Bleachers.
an American ophthalmologist, author and former professional tennis player. In 1975, Richards underwent sex reassignment surgery. She was denied entry into the 1976 US Open by the United States Tennis Association. She disputed the ban, and the New York Supreme Court ruled in her favor in 1977. This was a landmark decision in favor of transsexual rights.
the IGRA is comprised of numerous regional Gay Rodeo Associations from across the United States and Canada. The Gay Rodeo had its beginnings in 1976 at the National Reno Gay Rodeo in Nevada. IGRA, in collaboration with member associations, assist these associations in raising and donating thousands of dollars to charity in their communities each year.
an American brewing company that started St. Louis in 1852. 150 years later, they are big supporter of many charities including supporting LBGT causes.
ESPN editor and writer, cofounder of the Baseball Prospectus. She publicly come out as a transsexual sportswriter in 2003. Also, is a member of the Baseball Writers Association of America. Kahrl is an activist on civil rights issues for the transgender community in her hometown of Chicago and a Board Director of Equality.
Major League Baseball player for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Oakland Athletics from 1976 to 1979. Burke was the first and only Major League Baseball player known to have been out to his teammates and team owners during his professional career. Burke, along with teammate Dusty Baker, were credited with inventing the high five. He died from AIDS-related causes in 1995.
When I started working for the gay press in 2000, my very first sales call was to the Chicago Cubs. Many of my co-workers thought I was wasting my time until a month later I received a call back from the Team informing me that they will be placing ads with me. As it turned out, that phone call made history, making the Chicago Cubs the first professional male sports team to advertise in a gay paper in the country and I am proud to spearhead that effort.
The following year I organized the largest a Gay Day at a major league sporting event at Wrigley Field Out at The Ballgame. When people ask why I wanted to do this my reply is that ” I am a Die-hard Cubs Fan who happens to be gay and want to break stereotypes that we are not sports fans and create acceptance in the sports world.” Now called Out at Wrigley, this event is strong as ever thanks to the Cubs and the businesses in the gay community. Right after this event was created, I received calls from other gay community’s nation-wide seeking my advice about planning a Gay Day with their respective pro-baseball teams.
In 2010 I was honored to be part of Cubs history being on their gay pride float in 2010 with Ernie Banks and owner Laura Ricketts. The Cubs were the first pro-sports team in Chicago to participate in the Gay Pride Parade. In 2011, the Cubs honored me on the field with the Good Neighbor Award for my hard work in working as a conduit between the Cubs and the gay community.
I really hope people understand that Out at Wrigley and the National Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame is not just a sporting event/sports organization. They are causes to make our community more visible to not just other people but to the players themselves, so they can gain the confidence to come out as a player and be themselves and know that there is a legion of fans who support them. I think if we can achieve that then we will in essence achieve a safe environment for youths in sports. Out athletes as role models in sports for the LGBT youth is something that is sorely needed.
Jackie Weinberg is a graphic artist who’s been creating commercial and fine art in Chicago since the 1990s. Originally from Detroit, Jackie is a graduate of Western Michigan University with degrees in business, marketing, advertising and art. The company she created in 1995, Supergurl Images, formulates innovative and memorable branding imagery for a wide range of clients as diverse as Miller Coors, to many local companies to organizations that are near and dear to her heart, including Equality Illinois and Healing Tyler/Nephrotic Syndrome Foundation, which helps children with kidney disorders. Jackie is an avid sportsfan, and loves her Detroit sports teams. She also serves as a board member, sponsor and the official designer of the nation’s largest LGBT professional sporting event, Out at Wrigley. Jackie is excited to bring her design skills to the National Gay & Lesbian Hall of Fame as the Creative Director and serve as a founding member of the board.
Nicholas G. Mauro is delighted to serve as Revenue Director for the National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame. He is most excited about the positive impact that the HOF will have on high school and grade school athletes. Having coached youth football for 20 years with his father Lou and brother Phil, Nick thinks that the HOF will have a tremendous impact on youth sports. Serving 4 years on the board of a youth football program as Coach Coordinator and 13 years as a Financial Analyst/Financial Adviser,Nick hopes to add value to the HOF. In his free time, Nick enjoys his nephews, umpiring high school and little league baseball games and helping international students learn English.
From playing tee-ball as a kid, football in high school, and being part of Chicago Rowing Union and CMSA today, I have found myself immersed in sports and sports culture for most of my life. Looking back on all of those years however, when I think of LGBT role models in the realm of sports, no one really comes to mind. In helping establish the National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame, I hope to help enshrine those in the sports world who have not only been exemplary in their play on the field, but also have helped advance the cause of the LGBT community, even in the face of adversity. My hope is that bringing these outstanding players, and teams to light will provide role models for our youngest members of the LGBT community.
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