GLSEN's Programs

Game Plan for Coaches

Changing the Game

Making Your Team Safe for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Athletes


Inside Game: Work On Your Own

• Learn more about prejudice and discrimination based on such differences as race, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression and religion

• Put a Safe Sport Space sticker on the locker room door and your office door • Assume that LGBT people are on your athletic teams and among your coaching and support staff, even if they have not identified themselves

• Monitor your beliefs or assumptions about LGBT people, and commit yourself to evaluating others on the basis of their character, not on sexual orientation or gender identity/expression • Know what resources are available in your school and community for LGBT students and staff

• In addition to the GLSEN Sports Project, identify experts outside your school that would be available to provide resources and guidance to the school, team and/or to you • Learn about LGBT issues in sport and how they affect individuals and teams


One on One: Work with Others

• Be a visible and active role model of respect and fairness for your team

• At the beginning of your sport season, make clear your expectations of respect for diversity among all members of athletic teams, including LGBT coaches and athletes

• Communicate to athletes and coaches that anti-LGBT actions or language will not be tolerated

• Use language that is inclusive of LGBT athletes and coaches

• Treat all athletes and coaches fairly and respectfully regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity/expression • Do not make anti-LGBT slurs, jokes or other comments

• Schedule an educational program on LGBT issues in athletics for your team

• If LGBT athletes or coaches identify themselves to you, respect their right to confidentiality and privacy • Be prepared to provide resources to parents or guardians of LGBT athletes, but always be careful not to out a student to their parent, guardian or family

• Expect the same standards of behavior from all athletes regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity/expression

• Let LGBT athletes or colleagues know that you are an ally and that you support them

• Help promote enthusiastic but respectful sports fan behavior at athletic events

• Answer questions about LGBT people in sport from the media in ways that do not support or accept prejudice

• Do not tolerate college coaches’ use of “negative recruiting” based on perceived or actual sexual orientation when talking with high school athletes, coaches or parents of athletes (Negative recruiting = Making negative comments about the sexual orientation of coaches or athletes at another college as a way to discourage high school students from considering that school)