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Chicago to Get Nation’s First LGBT Athlete Hall of Fame

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Thursday May 2, 2013
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As the Chicago Tribune reports, the nation’s first sports hall of fame honoring LGBT athletes is slated to launch in Chicago - just days after Jason Collins came out and became the first openly gay active male professional athlete in a major American team sport.

According to Bill Gubrud, executive director and board chairman of the nonprofit National Gay & Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame which aims to honor people and groups that have "stood up to stereotypes" and embraced LGBT athletes, the organization will take nominees beginning this summer.

"All the hall of fames have a special section in there for women or for African-Americans," Gubrud said. "No one has a section for gay and lesbian (athletes and allies)." He added that he also wants to debunk the stereotype that gay people don’t like sports. Additionally, the organization wants to create outreach programs in schools and park districts.

"We’re not just going to honor gay athletes, but other athletes who helped those gay athletes along and provided a safe haven," Gubrud, who is openly gay, told the Tribune. When the newspaper asked if he thinks Collins would be nominated and inducted this year, Gubrud said, "I would hope so."

He also told the publication that the organization could highlight deceased players and athletes who have been allies to the LGBT community, like Major League Baseball outfielder Glenn Burke, who came out after he retired. Nominees can come from any sport and at any level; athletes from youth leagues and professional sports are all applicable.

The introduction ceremony for National Gay & Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame will be held Aug. 2, the day before "Out at Wrigley", the nation’s largest "Gay Day" at a major sporting event that was originated by Gubrud in 2001.

Officials of this first-of-its kind nonprofit are still looking for a location where they can display their honored athletes and showcase the history of gays and lesbians in sports. For now, the National Gay & Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame will be at the Center of Halsted in Chicago.

The nomination form for the first round of inductees can be found at gayandlesbiansports.com.

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