January 05, 2012

Changing the Game Project Director Pat Griffin and NCLR Sports Project Director Helen Carroll Declared Outsports' "Persons of the Year"

Today we were excited to learn that Changing the Game: GLSEN Sports Project Director Pat Griffin and NCLR's Sport Project Director Helen Carroll were named the 2011 Persons of the Year by Outsports' readers.

Readers of the the popular LGBT sports publication cast a whopping 53% of their votes to both long-time activists. Other finalists included High School LGBT sports bloggers and 'It Gets Better' teams tying at 11%. Rick Welts (a GLSEN 2011 Respect Awards honoree) and the Golden State Warriors earned 10% of the vote followed by  Sean Avery at 9% and Anton Hysen at 7%.

Shortly after the news, GLSEN contacted Pat to congratulate her on the honor. She shared:

I am so honored to receive this recognition and happy that it brings attention to the GLSEN Sports Project. Making sports safe and respectful for LGBT participants has been my professional passion for several years and being recognized for this work feels really great. I am especially happy to share the honor with my friend and colleague, Helen Carroll.

"No one has done more for the equality of LGBT athletes over the last 30 years than Pat and Helen. No one." - Outsports.com co-founder Cyd Zeigler

In 2011, Pat joined GLSEN to launch Changing the Game, an education and advocacy initiative focused on addressing LGBT issues in K-12 school-based athletic and physical education programs. Helen serves as an advisory member of the GLSEN project. She is Professor Emeritus in the Social Justice Education Program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the former Director of It Takes A Team! Educational Campaign for LGBT Issues in Sport, an initiative of the Women's Sports Foundation. She is also an accomplished author and speaker on LGBT issues in athletics.

Both Pat and Helen have extensively worked together. The duo was responsible for the groundbreaking NCAA policy focused on the inclusion of transgender-student athletes.

Helen currently heads NCLR's Sports Project working closely with major national sports organizations including the San Francisco 49ers, the Women's Sports Foundation and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Some of her past accomplishments include serving as a national championship basketball coach for the University of North Carolina-Asheville and had been a NCAA Athletic Director for 12 years.

GLSEN reached out to Helen for her reaction to the news. This is what Helen had to say about being named "Person of the Year" alongside her colleague Pat:

It is an honor to be recognized by Outsports and their readers, especially considering the group of strong and courageous nominees. Teaming up with Pat Griffin and establishing a strong collaboration between the  NCLR Sports Project and GLSEN’s Changing the Game, I feel, has been instrumental in the work we have accomplished. We will continue to strive to make the sports world an accepting and inclusive place for all LGBT people.

Outsports.com co-founder Cyd Zeigler had this to say about today's announcement:

 No one has done more for the equality of LGBT athletes over the last 30 years than Pat and Helen. No one. We at Outsports consider them the two most under-appreciated and under-recognized people in the movement. Their work has touched people of every race, gender and age, regardless of sexual orientation. In 2011 they yet again demonstrated their deep commitment to equality and their willingness to do the tough work without the headlines. They are also incredibly nice, warm, giving women. If the rest of us did just a fraction of the good work these two women have done for decades, we wouldn't be fighting these fights anymore.

GLSEN is proud of the lasting contributions both women have made in the world of sports on behalf of all LGBT athletes. Their lasting contributions over the past 30+ years continue to be felt by many. GLSEN is fortunate to work alongside both women through Changing the Game in making sure that future generations of LGBT athletes are treated with dignity and respect in schools across the country.

Interested in teaming up with Pat and Helen at Changing the Game?

Get your school's sports teams involved with our Team Respect Challenge! Visit our website to download the pledge and learn how your school's team can gain a winning edge.

 

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