Inductees

2014

Bill-BW  BILLY BEAN is the second former professional baseball player to announce that he is gay after his retirement. He played outfield, first base and designated hitter for the Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres. Billy demonstrated tremendous courage by making known he was gay at a time when doing so was not widely accepted. He then authored a book relating his experience and advocating for acceptance and inclusion. Billy’s courage and willingness to lead has earned him a rightful place standing side by side in the lineup of LGBT greats.
 BenCohenStandupFoundationbw THE BEN COHEN STANDUP FOUNDATION was formed in 2011 to raise awareness of the long-term, damaging effects of bullying and to raise funds to support those doing real-world work to stop it. Their vision is to build a highly collaborative organization funded by social business models that help connect communities and create a world of understanding and kindness. Twice a year, The Ben Cohen StandUp Foundation grants money to organizations that help stop bullying, help those who have been bullied and help increase equality and diversity in sport. Their advocacy is crucial in advancing LGBT equality in sport and they are recognized for their leadership and their courage.
 Brittney-BW BRITTNEY GRINER is an All-Star American professional woman’s basketball player currently playing for the WNBA Phoenix Mercury. In high school, Brittney was ranked the number one woman’s basketball player; a McDonald’s All-American; and the WBCA high school player of the year. She also holds the record for blocked shots in a U.S. woman’s high school game. At Baylor University, several of her many honors include: NCAA Champion; Final Four Most Outstanding Player; AP Division 1 Player of the Year; and, Wade Trophy Player of the Year. Selected with the 1st overall pick in the 2013 WNBA draft, Brittney went on to become an All-Star that same year. She came out publically as a lesbian in 2013 and is an outspoken advocate against bullying. Brittney’s excellence on the court and her courage to be herself define her as she continues her outstanding quest as a member of the LGBT community.
 mosierbw CHRIS MOSIER is a transgender male triathlete and founder of Transathlete.com. Chris began his triathlon career as a woman in 2009 but self-identified and competed as a man in 2010. He was named “Athlete of the Year” at the Compete Sports Diversity Awards in 2013. Chris has since launched transathlete.com as a resource for all transgendered athletes, coaches, and administrators to foster a community of inclusion. Mosier is a role model, advocate, author, athlete, coach and educator epitomizing diversity and acceptance across the sports world.
 Diana-Nyadbw DIANA NYAD is an American long-distance swimmer. Her accomplishments include: setting the women’s world record in the 22 mile Bay of Naples race; swimming 28 miles around Manhattan Island; and, swimming 102 miles from the Bahamas to Florida. She did all of this before the age of 30. Her crowning achievement however happened when she was 64 years old. On her fifth attempt and in shark and jellyfish infested waters, Diana swam from Havana, Cuba to Key West, Florida, covering a distance of 110 miles in less than 53 hours. She is also an accomplished author and a sought-after motivational speaker. Diana’s excellence in the water and leadership on shore make her a shining light on the horizon for the LGBT community.
 Tualobw ESERA TUAOLO is a retired American professional football player. For nine seasons Esera excelled while battling in the trenches as a defensive lineman for five NFL teams reaching the Super Bowl while playing for the Atlanta Falcons. Esera courageously came out as gay after he retired authoring a book about his experience as a closeted athlete in a severely homophobic environment. He was the third former NFL player to come out. After retirement he became a public speaker, a professional singer, and an actor. A leader in the fight for equality, Esera is an outspoken advocate for LGBT rights in sport and continues to shine as an outstanding role model for our youth.
 FallonFoxbw FALLON FOX is a transgender Mixed Martial Artist. Fox currently holds a record of 4-1. Prior to her career as a MMA fighter, Fox served the United States Navy as an Operations Specialist, 2nd Class on the USS Enterprise. After her transformation and in a quest to get back to a healthy lifestyle, Fallon tried Brazilian jiu-jitsu and her passion grew for mixed martial arts. She competed in her first MMA event in 2012 and finished second in the Women’s Featherweight Tournament in Miami in 2013. Fallon’s courage to be herself is a model for LGBT athletes and epitomizes diversity and acceptance throughout sports.
 Gareth-Thomasbw GARETH THOMAS is a retired rugby player from Wales. Gareth came out publicly in 2009 while still an active player. While playing, he accumulated enough scoring trys to rank second among Welsh players and 12th internationally. Gareth has won 4 rugby caps for Wales, as well. He retired from rugby in 2011. His post-rugby career includes work on several reality television shows and as co-founder of a management and PR company. Gareth is a supporter of Childline, a hotline and website for children seeking support on a variety of topics including sexual orientation. His excellence on the rugby field and his leadership as an advocate earn him a rightful place among LGBT elites.
 JerrySmithbw JERRY SMITH was an American professional football player who played tight end for the Washington Redskins for 13 seasons. His outstanding performance placed him among the top ten pass receivers in the NFL for four seasons. In 1967, he caught 67 passes, the most ever at that time in a single season by a tight end. When he retired, he held the record for most career touchdowns at his position. Jerry was a model player and widely respected teammate who quietly led by example both on and off the field preferring to let his performance speak for itself. Jerry’s life was sadly cut short from an AIDS related death 9 years after he retired at the age of 43. Jerry Smith will forever be remembered as an NFL warrior and prime example of LGBT excellence.
 Amaechi JOHN AMAECHI became the first former NBA player to come out as gay in 2007. John has since become a New York Times best-selling author and successful social entrepreneur. As a player, he helped England earn a Bronze medal in the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne and remains the only Briton to be inducted into the US Basketball Hall of Fame. Today, John transforms businesses through communication, leadership, and organizational consulting. John is both an instrumental leader and an outstanding advocate for the LGBT community.
 MarkBingham MARK BINGHAM played amateur Rugby for the San Francisco Fog RFC as an openly gay man. Also, in the early 1990’s, Mark was a member of two national championship rugby teams for the University of California, Berkeley. He later went on to form his own public relations firm in New York City. On September 11th, 2001, Mark is widely heralded as one of the passengers on Flight 93 that heroically wrestled control away from hijackers and diverted the plane to a field in Pennsylvania. Without regard for his own life, he helped save countless others. Mark died on that sorrowful morning, but his courage in the face of extreme difficulty places him among the elites in the LGBT community and we are forever grateful.
 MayorMascone MAYOR GEORGE MASCONE of San Francisco was an outspoken advocate of LGBT rights and a well-known supporter of local LGBT athletics. On August 27, 1978, Mayor Mascone by official proclamation recognized the significant contribution of San Francisco’s Community Softball League as a beacon of athletics for both the LGBT and straight communities. In doing so, he stood up at a time of great upheaval and was one of the first American elected officials to put forth the notion that gay and lesbian athletes could compete side by side in the name of sport. In 1978 while in office, Mayor Mascone’s life, along with Harvey Milk’s, was taken by assassination. He will forever be remembered as friend to the LGBT community and advocate of sport everywhere.
 Nike NIKE, INC. is at the forefront of LGBT advocacy. In 2012, the US Corporation hosted the first- ever Nike LGBT Sports Summit to combat bullying and anti-LGBTQ bias and discrimination in sports. Its mission was to develop a unified plan to end harassment and discrimination against LGBTQ athletes and coaches in kindergarten through high school, college, recreational sports, and professional sports. The Summit continues to provide an exciting opportunity to identify common goals and move forward as a united movement. NIKE, Inc. has also developed the #BETRUE brand, a collection of apparel aimed toward the LGBT community with a substantial portion of the profits donated to support the LGBT Sports Coalition. NIKE’s continued leadership is crucial in advancing equality in sport and places them among the elites of corporate excellence.
 TomDale TOM DALEY is an Olympic bronze medal winner from Great Britain in the 10 meter platform diving competition at the 2012 games in London. He has also won World Championship, European Championship and Junior Champion gold and silver honors in several diving events. In 2013, Tom courageously and publically came out, revealing his relationship with a man while at the height of his diving career. In doing so, he revealed that LGBT athletes compete at the apex of sport. His courage and excellence in diving make him a prime role model for young athletes everywhere.
TomDale WADE DAVIS is a former professional American and NFL Europe football player. He is currently Executive Director of the You Can Play project, an LGBT advocacy group dedicated to ensuring equality, respect and safety for all athletes, without regard to sexual orientation. As a cornerback in the NFL in the early 2000’s, Wade persevered through a straight and macho football world. He publically came out as gay in 2013 and has since become a leading advocate and speaker for LGBT youth. Wade’s guidance at the helm of You Can Play along with his continued insistence for equality has helped project the organization to the forefront in sports.

 

2013

AndrewGoldsteinBwCropped

ANDREW GOLDSTEIN is the first American male team-sport professional athlete to be openly gay during his playing career.  A two-time All-American at Dartmouth College, Andrew was drafted as a goaltender by his hometown team, the Boston Cannons of Major League Lacrosse.   He was drafted with full disclosure of his sexual orientation.   Andrew sweats equality on the field, letting his accomplishments speak previously unspeakable truths; that gay men are accepted and can and do compete at the most competitive of levels.
 AnheuserBuschCroppedBw ANHEUSER-BUSCH is a pioneer and innovator of exceptional equality based advertising in the sporting worlds. In 1996, the company began running a campaign with the line, “Labels belong on beer, not people,” in national gay magazines.  In 1999, in spite of controversy, Anheuser-Busch courageously ran a print ad with a gay couple that depicts two men holding hands and carries a variation of the general market slogan, “Be Yourself….”  In 2013, Anheuser-Busch prominently thrust itself into the middle of the gay marriage conversation by posting an ad on its Facebook page promoting equality.   They are a leader in advocacy and a model of corporate excellence in the LGBT community.
 BenCohenCroppedBw BEN COHEN is a leading advocate among elite straight male athletes, an ardent proponent of bullying, a Rugby Cup World Champion and the 2nd leading scorer in all of England.  He is the first among elite straight world athletes to focus his philanthropic efforts for the benefit of the LGBT community.  Ben is the founder of StandUp Foundation, the world’s first foundation dedicated to raising awareness of the long-term and damaging effects of bullying.  Central to Ben and his mission is to promote diversity and inclusion in sports.  Both on and off the field, Ben is a fearless leader for youth and sport alike.
 BillieJean_BwCrop BILLIE JEAN KING is a 20-time Wimbledon tennis champion and passionate advocate of women’s and gay rights.  In 1971, Billie was the first female athlete to win over $100,000 in prize money.  She is a founder of the first professional women’s tour, the Virginia Slims.  She was the first president of the Women’s Tennis Association and was Captain of the US Fed Cup team.  She was one of the first prominent American athletes to be openly gay.  On the court, Billie was a determined champion and trailblazer.  Off the court and equally determined, she is a proven leader and undeniable champion of the LGBT community.
 Brendon Ayanbadejo BRENDON AYANBADEJO is an NFL superstar, champion of gay rights and a leading straight LGBT activist.  He writes for Fox Sports and is a guest editor for the Washington Blade.  He is an outspoken supporter of gay marriage.  Brendon’s fight for hope and advocacy is equaled only by his determination for equality and acceptance in the NFL and all of sports.
 chicago_cubs_logoBWCropped CHICAGO CUBS organization is the foremost major professional sports franchise to promote equality.  In 2001, the Cubs hosted the first ever annual Out at Wrigley event, a celebration of diversity, advocacy and baseball.  Longtime supporters of Chicago’s Gay Pride Parade, in 2010, the Cubs and “Mr. Cub” Ernie Banks rode on a float to show their unwavering support.  They are the first major sports team with an openly gay owner and a grand slam of a leader among major sports franchises for the LGBT community.
 ChristinaKahrlCropped CHRISTINA KAHRL is a sportswriter and editor for ESPN.com and a member of the Baseball Writers Association of America.  Before and after her transformation, Christina’s work defined who she was.  A champion of transgender and gender queer advocacy, she works tirelessly on their behalf for police reform.  Both her courage and her passion shine, as she is a model of excellence in the LGBT community.
 ChuckDimaCroppedBw CHUCK DIMA (Posthumous) is the grandfather and a widely regarded founder of gay softball in the US.  A true visionary, his hopes were to create a safe environment where all members of the LGBT Community, regardless of their skill level, would be able to come together and play softball. What ultimately became the Big Apple Softball League, blossomed into the Gay World Series — the largest annual gay sporting event in the world.   Chuck’s legacy was his leadership as both a fan and devotee of softball.  His legacy continues to embolden countless athletes to this day.
 DavePalloneCroppedBw DAVE PALLONE is an elite “MLB All-Star” and “NL Championship Series” professional umpire.  He worked 18 years in Major League Baseball, ten of those (1979-1988) in the National League.  Dave was the third youngest umpire in baseball history.  Demonstrating courage and professionalism throughout his career, Dave showed the ability to withstand adversity.  Since retiring, Dave is a NY Times best-selling author and, without hesitation, safe at the plate of LGBT champions.
 NFL Historical Imagery DAVE KOPAY is a former running back in the National Football League and one of the first professional athletes to come out as gay after his retirement in 1975.  Without a doubt, courage and honor defined Dave’s playing days as it did for much of the NFL in the 1960’s and 70’s.  Week in and week out, for nine years, Dave served his natural role as running back and leader in spite of the prevailing homophobic sentiment in the macho NFL.  His post retirement advocacy efforts include Gay Games Ambassador, major educational benefactor and leader in LGBT youth outreach.  He’s a solid “Touchdown!” in LGBT history.
 FashanuCroppedBw JUSTIN FASHANU (Posthumous) is an English professional footballer who had the courage to be himself in a male dominated team sport. His early clubs knew he was gay and it didn’t matter.  His abilities on the field defined him, not his sexuality.  Bravely, he came out to the press later in his career.  Justin is the first and one of only two English professional footballers to be openly gay.  In May of 1998, Justin died of suicide.   He is a true pioneer and proud member of LGBT community.
 GayGamesBwCropped THE FEDERATION OF GAY GAMES is an acclaimed international event highlighting multi-sport and culture and promoting equality and exceptional athletics.  Held every four years, the Gay Games bring sport and advocacy to the forefront through participation, inclusion and personal best.  By empowering athletes and encouraging dialog between LGBT people and the broader community, the Gay Games unites local and international communities.  It is a vehicle of hope and a vessel of good will.  The Gay Games have changed the world, one athlete and one attitude at a time.
 GlennBurkeCroppedBw GLENN BURKE (Posthumous) is the first Major League Baseball player to come out as gay to his teammates and managers during his career in the 1970’s.  Glenn fought discrimination with determination and dignity and persevered throughout.  Largely accredited along with Dusty Baker for inventing the “High Five,” Glenn was comfortable with himself even when others weren’t.  He was a shining light in a hard storm.  Glenn died from AIDS-related complications in 1995.
 GregLouganis_Cropped GREG LOUGANIS is widely considered the greatest diver in history. He is the only male to sweep both the 3m and 10m diving events in consecutive Olympic Games (’84 and ’88). During his career he earned a total of five Olympic medals, five World Championship titles and 47 national titles.  Greg came out and disclosed his HIV-positive status at the 1994 Gay Games in New York.  He is a NY Times best-selling author.   Greg mentors the US Olympic diving team and shares advocacy throughout his various public and prominent endeavors.  He’s the truest of Champions and a beacon of LGBT light.
IgraCroppedBw INTERNATIONAL GAY RODEO ASSOCIATION (IGRA) is the largest organization in the world coordinating rodeo events specifically welcoming lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender as well as heterosexual participants and spectators.  Started in 1985, IGRA events are intended to allow all contestants, regardless of sexual and gender identity, to compete in rodeo sports without discrimination. The organization helps spread appreciation for Western culture and the sport of rodeo, while serving as a fundraising vehicle benefiting many charitable organizations.  5,000 members strong, the IGRA culminates in an annual World Gay Rodeo Finals and is a safest of places to celebrate all genders and orientations.
JasonCOllinsBwCropped JASON COLLINS is an active American professional basketball center in the NBA. He was an All-American at Stanford University and he was selected in the first round with the 18th overall pick in the 2001 NBA Draft.   On April 29, 2013, Jason made sports history by becoming the first active male professional athlete in a major North American team sport to come out publicly as gay.  He handled the media blitz that followed with pose and grace.  Proud and open, Jason epitomizes excellence in the LGBT community and is a slam dunk role model.
 JerryPritikinCroppedBw JERRY PRITIKIN is an accomplished photojournalist, a spirited entrepreneur, and the purest example of a true fan.  Foremost a sports enthusiast, Harry Caray proclaimed him the “Number One Cubs fan.”  Alias, the Bleacher Preacher, Jerry once attended every game for two years.  His award winning photos define a generation of advancing GLBT rights and struggles.  His work continues to this day as mentor to Chicago Public School students.  Jerry is an undisputed example of LGBT pride.
 JohnnyWeirCroppedBw JOHNNY WEIR is an Olympian and World Champion American figure skater.  His grace and style on the ice are what defines him.  Off the ice, and concerned with alarming teen suicides rates in the LGBT community, Johnny publicly revealed that he was gay in his autobiography in hopes of letting just one kid know that it was okay to be gay.  An upstanding new media personality, Johnny leads the fight for LGBT acceptance and equality.
 KluweBwCropped CHRIS KLUWE is an outspoken advocate for equality and accomplished NFL punter with a clear record of intolerance to closed-mindedness.  He said, “The way I look at it is: how much better would gay players play if they didn’t have to hide who they were?”  A staunch ally for equality, Chris has very publicly lobbied for gay marriage and is a regular fixture on the national discourse of LGBT acceptance in the sporting world.  He’s both a model athlete and exceptional voice of equality.
 LZ Granderson LZ GRANDERSON is a pioneer in sports journalism, a most visible openly gay sports journalist, and; foremost, an exceptional role model.   He writes a weekly column for CNN.com and appears frequently on sports and news shows alike.  A staunch supporter of equality, LZ is a consummate professional and leading voice for the LGBT community.
 MartinaNavritralovaBwCropped MARTINA NAVRATILOVA won 168 singles tennis titles, more than any other tennis player in history, male or female. She won 58 Grand Slam tournaments, including a record nine Wimbledon singles titles.  A fierce competitor, she was the first athletic superstar to announce her sexual orientation. Martina set new horizons in her sport and raised the bar for women’s tennis to unprecedented levels. Even though being genuine and honest may have cost her millions in endorsements, her tournament winnings alone in 1982 made her the first female athlete to earn more than one million dollars in a year.  She’s both advocate and inspiration.  In one word, she’s a legend.
 Orlando Cruz ORLANDO CRUZ is an Olympian, an accomplished professional boxer, a proud Puerto Rican and a proud gay man.  Professionally, he was undefeated for nine years and consistently ranks among the elite as a featherweight in the World Boxing Organization.  On October 4, 2012, Cruz became the first boxer to come out as gay while still active professionally.  By nature Orlando is a fighter.  By nature he is also a true leader in the LGBT community.
 OutSportsBwCropped OUTSPORTS.COM com is the distinguished leader in sports journalism for the LGBT community.  Founded in 1999 by Cyd Zeigler and Jim Buzinski, the website serves as media watchdog, sports-entertainment provider and community builder.  It brings both professional and amateur LGBT athletes to the forefront and examines various myths and controversies regarding gays and sports.  A leader in journalism, Outsports.com is the undisputed voice of the LGBT sporting community.
 PattySheehanBwCropped PATTY SHEEHAN is a LPGA Tour champion winning six major tour championships and 35 LPGA Tour events in all.  Patty also plays host to the Patty Sheehan & Friends tournament on the Legends Tour, an event that champions women and children’s charities.  A leader, an advocate, a wife and a mother, Patty courageously came out in an issue of World Golf Magazine, describing her incredible journey as both a mother and a heroine in the LGBT world.
 TomWadellCroppedBw DR. TOM WADELL (Posthumous) is the inspiration and founder of the international sporting event, the Gay Games.  He is a veteran of the U.S. Army and an Olympian.  Through grace and courage, he brought opportunity to athletes across the globe.  His Gay Games legacy is an everlasting symbol of sportsmanship, equality and advocacy.  Fighting bravely and always with dignity, he died of AIDS related death on July 11, 1987.
ReneeRichardsCroppedbw DR. RENEE RICHARDS is a US Tennis Tour professional, renowned ophthalmologist and transgender icon. In 1977, Dr. Richards prevailed in a lawsuit allowing her to compete in the U.S. Open women’s division following male-to-female gender reassignment surgery.  At the height of her tennis career, Richards ranked 20th in the nation. In her first tennis tournament as a female, she reached the semifinals in the U.S. Open women’s doubles competition. Following retirement, Richards coached tennis star Martina Navratilova.  A transgender pioneer, Dr. Richards showcased equality every time she served the ball.

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