With your help 40-50 LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning) youth and straight allies ages 14-24 will participate in a free 4-day sports and leadership development camp in the great city of Chicago. This work is critical. But why?
To our knowledge, there are no sports camps designed specifically as safe spaces for LGBTQ youth in the US. In addition, LGBTQ youth may resist participating on sports teams within their schools and communities because of fear of discrimination and/or bullying. In fact, they may lack access to safe spaces that affirm their various identities and expressions. We want to change that. We want to affirm LGBTQ youth and proclaim, "YOU Belong!"
The YOU Belong: LGBTQA Sports and Leadership Initiative has been conceptualized in response to the lack of programs available to LGBTQ athletes (and budding athletes). We were tired of talking about the problems that our young people face within sports environments and decided to proactively respond so that barriers that prevent LGBTQ youth from participating in school-based sports activities can be removed.
The Chicago basketball camp, in partnership with the WNBA Chicago Sky and NBA professionals, will provide access to sports training and leadership development in a safe, supportive, and fun environment. Young people will be welcomed into an affirming, inviting, and gender neutral space. And, that is why we need your help.