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Our Program --> LGBT Athletes and the Media

Be sure to join our mailing list for latest news releases and updates! See the FULL PROGRAM. See our bulletin board to engage others in a conversation about the topics in our program.

Also see:
+ Athlete Scholarship Fund Raising Dinner (separate fee) (Sat, Mar 27)

DayBeginning Time Duration Event
Sun, Mar 28, 2004 3:30 PM
5:30 PM
2 hours LGBT Athletes and the Media


ESPN (www.espn.com

ESPN is a superstar of the sports broadcasting world. The company is the leading cable sports broadcaster with seven domestic networks -- including its flagship ESPN, ESPN2 (sporting events and news), ESPN Classic (historical sports footage), ESPN HD, and ESPNEWS (24-hour news and information) -- that reach more than 87 million US homes. It also reaches another 119 million homes worldwide with its ESPN International unit. In addition, ESPN creates content for TV and radio and operates one of the most popular sports sites on the Internet.

LGBT Athletes in the Media

Until recently, media exposure for GLBT athletes has been limited to the rare elite out athlete (Martina Navratilova, Amelie Mauresmo, Rudy Galindo) or the retired star (Greg Louganis). More often than not, the media has served as a conduit for homophobic comments from athletes (Garrison Hearst, Andre Agassi, Todd Jones) or a place for athletes to deny being gay (Mike Piazza). But that is beginning to change, with ESPN's "Outside the Lines" dealing with gay issues in an analytical way and "Playmakers" dramatizing the life of a gay football player, and newsapers devoting more space to GLBT topics. How much more does the media need to do? Is this just the first steps of the media coming to grips with GLBT athletes? How are fans responding? Does increased coverage prompt more athletes to come out?


  • Judy Van Handle, from the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association (moderator)
  • Nicole Noren, from the ESPN show "Outside the Lines"
  • John Natale, soccer coach that was outed by a regional media publication
  • Roger Brigham

Judy Van Handle was one of the co-founders of the Boston chapter of the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association in 1992. She has been a member of the Boston Globe's sports department for the last 26 years, working as a copy editor and also as a writer for the weekly Sports/Women page. She also covers women's basketball, both college and pro, for the Globe and is the 2004 Massachusetts voting coordinator for the women's Wooden Award, awarded by the Los Angeles Athletic Club for the first time this year to the best collegiate women's basketball player in the nation. During the 1980's, she wrote a regular column on politics, "In the Public Eye," for Boston-based Bay Windows and also was a contributing writer for the New York Native.

Nicole Noren is a producer for ESPN's Emmy-winning series, Outside the Lines. A University of Hawaii graduate, she has been at the network since 2000. Having worked as a researcher and producer at ESPN, Ms. Noren has been influential in the decision-making process as to which stories end up the air.

John Natale is the founding president of the (IGLFA) International Gay and Lesbian Football Association (soccer) cica 1992. It is an organization of more than 100 gay and lesbian soccer teams throught out the world. In 1996 he was outed by a regional soccer publication called Soccer New England. An avid soccer player and coach, Natale has been both a high school and college coach, most recently coaching at Suffolk University in Boston for five years. Natale has been a member of the local gay and lesbian soccer club, the Boston Strikers, since 1987.

Roger Brigham represents Wrestlers WithOut Borders as a delegate to the Federation of Gay Games. He has roughly 14 years of experience as a sports reporter and editor for newspapers in New York, California and Alaska, and served as sports guru for Apple Online Services and @Home. In 1992, when the Advocate sought a reporter from the LGBT community who was familiar with the NBA for its cover-story Q&A with Magic Johnson, it hired Roger as the only openly out sports editor at a major metropolitan newspaper. He has reported on more than 40 sports, was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for his 1987 series on "Death and Disability in Football," and has reported on such major international events as the World Series, the Super Bowl and the World Cup. He competed in soccer and rugby at Ohio Wesleyan University, where he earned two varsity letters in wrestling, and coached high school wrestling for nine years in Alaska. He currently is a freelance web editor and designer in Oakland, Ca., where he lives with his partner of 13 years, Eduardo. They were married earlier this month in San Francisco.

See last year's videos and photos. Read the testimonials from 2003.


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