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NASCAR partners with Carolinas LGBTQ+ Chamber of Commerce

“NASCAR is excited to partner with the Carolinas LGBTQ+ Chamber of Commerce”

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Carolinas LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce, one of the largest LGBT Chambers within the Southeastern region pushing for equitable change within the workplace and marketplace, announced this past week that NASCAR will become the organization’s Diversity, Equity & Inclusion partner for the 2022 term.

This is the first time NASCAR has partnered with an LGBTQ+ Chamber of Commerce.

The Chamber’s annual DE&I partnership funds and supports all of its training and programming in diversity, equity and inclusion, and it allows the organization to have a more expansive reach throughout the region.

“NASCAR has a rich history in our region and continues to be one of the most popular sports in the nation,” said Tiffany Keaton, the vice chair of the Carolinas LGBTQ+ Chamber of Commerce. “The intentionality of their partnership will allow the Carolinas LGBTQ+ Chamber to leverage relationships and increase our work in the area of diversity, equity and inclusion. The distinct brand that NASCAR brings to the chamber validates their commitment to equality and non-discrimination both on and off the track.  It is an honor to name the league our ‘DE&I Partner’ for 2022, and I look forward to developing this amazing relationship.”

The Carolinas LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce’s work to support change and growth helps strengthen organizations large and small – and the Carolinas region as a whole. Promoting DE&I training and education programming is a critical component of that change and progress for NASCAR and the communities in which it operates.

“NASCAR is excited to partner with the Carolinas LGBTQ+ Chamber of Commerce,” said Brandon Thompson, NASCAR’s vice president of diversity and inclusion. “With NASCAR offices and much of our industry based in the Carolinas, we look forward to working with CLGBTCC in support of its mission to foster equity, inclusion and economic prosperity for the LGBTQ community.”

In June of 2020, the modified race car sport announced its support for the LGBTQ+ community in a tweet for Pride month.

The Carolinas LGBTQ+ Chamber of Commerce is an organization of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and LGBTQ+ and allied businesses, corporations and professionals throughout western North Carolina and most of South Carolina. Its mission is to foster equity, inclusion and economic prosperity for the LGBTQ community through strategic policy, professional enrichment, ally partnerships and economic development.

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Out soccer player calls out ‘homophobic abuse’ from crowd

The Adelaide United player said he had “no words” to describe his disappointment at being the target of anti-gay insults from the crowd

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Photo courtesy of Josh Cavallo Instagram

ADELAIDE, Australia – Professional soccer player Josh Cavallo, who became the only openly gay top-flight male professional footballer last year, told his Instagram followers over the weekend that he experienced “homophobic abuse” during his last game. 

The Adelaide United player said he had “no words” to describe his disappointment at being the target of anti-gay insults from the crowd at AAMI Park during his team’s Saturday game against the Melbourne Victory.

“As a society it shows we still face these problems in 2022,” he wrote. “This shouldn’t be acceptable and we need to do more to hold these people accountable. Hate never will win. I will never apologise for living my truth and most recently who I am outside of football.”

Cavallo added that he was also targeted after the game online. 

“To @instagram I don’t want any child or adult to have to receive the hateful and hurtful messages that I’ve received,” he said. “I knew truely being who I am that I was going to come across this. It’s a sad reality that your platforms are not doing enough to stop these messages.”

The Australian Professional Leagues (APL) said it was “shocked and saddened” to hear Cavallo’s reports of “homophobic bullying,” according to the Guardian

“Our players, staff and fans have the right to feel safe on and off the pitch,” APL CEO Danny Townsend said. “There is no place for bullying, harassment or abuse in Australian football and we have zero tolerance for this harmful behaviour.”

The APL is working with both teams to investigate the incident, adding that sanctions will be issued to anyone involved. 

In a statement, Adelaide United Chief Executive Officer Nathan Kosmina said that the team was “appalled” at the “verbal abuse” that Cavallo received. 

“Adelaide United is proud to be an inclusive and diverse football club, and to see one of our players subjected to homophobic abuse is disappointing and upsetting,” he said. “Josh continues to show immense courage and we join him in calling out abuse, which has no place in society, and it will not be tolerated by our Club.”

The Melbourne Victory added that it “sees football as a platform to unite fans no matter what background. Spectators found to have breached these standards will be banned from future matches.”

At the end of his Instagram message, Cavallo thanked those sending him positive messages, love and support. 

“Love will always win,” he said. 

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2 Trans athletes competed head to head at college women’s swim meet

Lia Thomas won some, lost some but didn’t set any new records; California native Iszac Henig made waves

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Iszac Henig via Instagram

NEW HAVEN, Ct. – The last home meet at the University of Pennsylvania for out trans woman Lia Thomas was a double dual against Dartmouth and Yale, and despite a pair of victories, it ended with double the disappointment for the record-setting swimmer.

That’s because Yale University’s Bulldogs won Saturday’s meet and returned to Connecticut with their undefeated record intact, and one of its swimmers on the women’s team trounced Thomas in the 100-yard freestyle.

That swimmer was Iszac Henig, 21, a senior from Menlo Park, Calif., who came out as a trans man in April 2021. 

Iszac Henig via Instagram

Although he underwent gender-affirming top surgery while competition was suspended during the pandemic, Henig decided to not start hormone therapy so he could continue to compete with his teammates in accordance with NCAA rules, as he wrote in The New York Times

“As a student athlete, coming out as a trans guy put me in a weird position,” Henig wrote in The Times. “I could start hormones to align more with myself, or wait, transition socially, and keep competing on a women’s swim team. I decided on the latter. I value my contributions to the team and recognize that my boyhood doesn’t hinge on whether there’s more or less testosterone running through my veins. At least, that’s what I’ll try to remember when I put on the women’s swimsuit for competition and am reminded of a self I no longer feel attached to.”

Wearing that traditional women’s swimsuit, Henig won the 50-yard freestyle in 22.76 by 0.96 seconds, then he followed that with a 49.57 to win the 100 free, by 1.60 seconds. As Swimswam.com reported, those are huge margins for each of those events. 

In contrast, Thomas, 22, finished 6th in the 100 free with 52.84, her slowest 100 of the season by more than a second. She was, however, able to win the 500 free with a 4:57.20, her slowest time of the season by 3 seconds. As Swimswam.com noted, it’s 23 seconds slower than her season best of 4:34.06. 

Thomas also recorded a 1:48.73 to win the 200 free, her 2nd-slowest 200 of the season so far. She swam 26.08 and 28.12 on the first 2 50s. Then on the back half, she split 27.14 and 27.39, for a 54.53 on the 2nd 100, which swimswam.com summarized as an “almost an even-split swim.”

This was Thomas’s first meet since last month, when she made headlines around the world by setting new Ivy League conference records. Thomas has been undergoing testosterone suppression, a medical treatment required by the NCAA for her to compete, for 2 ½ years, 18 months longer than is currently required.

Lia-Thomas (right) and friend Hannah Liu via Instagram

UPenn closed the meet to the public, except for a limited number of guests of athletes and coaches, in accordance with its COVID-19 guidelines for spectator sports. But as the Philadelphia Inquirer reported, a phalanx of national media from Newsweek, ESPN, the Washington Post, the Daily Mail and Fox News, among others, were credentialed to cover it. 

According to the Inquirer, student-athletes who were reportedly threatening to boycott the meet to protest Thomas’s inclusion failed to make good on those threats. 

On the contrary, the other senior swimmers and divers from all three universities included both Thomas and Henig before the meet in a celebration of their collegiate accomplishments. They each received bouquets and posed together for a Senior Day photo. 

University of Pennsylvania swim meet (Photo credit: yalebulldogs.com)

In the days leading up to Saturday’s meet, Thomas’s legitimacy to compete in accordance with NCAA rules was endorsed by the Ivy League, the University of Pennsylvania, and by Penn Law School students, who tweeted their support along with a group of affiliate organizations.

Thomas also recently received support from 2016 U.S. Olympian Jacob Pebley, and two-time Australian Olympic silver medalist Madeline Groves. Pebley posted on Instagram that those attacking Thomas should instead focus on the governing bodies deciding policies, and criticized those who have been normalizing discrimination and ignoring the effects of the attacks on her mental health. 

In a series of Instagram stories, reported by Swimswam.com, Groves described those critical of Thomas’ participation with other women as spreading  “transphobic dribble.”

“It’s so sad to me to see apparently educated people use their platform to post transphobic dribble – what the fuck gives you the right to decide who can play sport? Athletes are traditionally self-centered but using bigotry to justify excluding an entire group of people from sport is just disgusting.

“If you’re too threatened to compete alongside trans women, you’re a selfish coward that probs wasn’t that good at sport in the first place.”

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British Olympian & LGBTQ+ rights advocate to use OBE to further equality

“Accepting this OBE it’s now my responsibility to help create change & help create this environment where everybody can be anything they want”

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Tom Daley (Screenshot via BBC Breakfast)

LONDON – When the annual Queen’s New Year Honor’s List was released this past Friday, among the honorees was British gold medalist, Olympian diver Tom Daley, who was bestowed with an Order of the British Empire for his work raising awareness of LGBTQ+ issues, in addition to his Olympic diving accomplishments.

In an interview on the BBC news show BBC Breakfast, Daley said; “I’m extremely proud to be honoured with an OBE,” then added he felt “a responsibility to make the whole Commonwealth a better place for LGBTQ+ people, for women, for people of colour, to make it a more inclusive and accepting environment”.

“With accepting this OBE it’s now my responsibility to help create change and help create this environment where everybody can be anything that they want, no matter where they came from.”

The Order of the British Empire rewards contributions to the arts and sciences, work with charitable and welfare organizations, and public service outside the British government’s civil service which also includes the Commonwealth countries.

The British champion diver has long publicly expressed his condemnation of those nations and called for changes in the sports community’s stance on affirmation and action on behalf of the global LGBTQ+ community.

Appearing in a pre-recorded ‘Alternative Christmas Message,’ an annual holiday tradition of UK media giant Channel 4, Daley noted; “In 2022 the World Cup is being held in the second most dangerous country for queer people, Qatar. Why are we allowing places that aren’t safe for ALL fans and ALL players to host our most prestigious sporting events?” the diver said according to a press release.

He pointed out that those same countries shouldn’t be able to host Olympic games either- then he called out the upcoming World Cup in Qatar;

The World Cup coming up in Qatar has extreme rules against LGBT people and women and I think it should not be allowed for a sporting event to host in a country that criminalizes against basic human rights,” he said.

In his Channel 4 message, Daley says he is “incredibly lucky” that his sport has supported him to live as an openly gay man, but he acknowledges not everyone in sport has the same backing. Using the platform to raise an issue close to his heart he speaks of homophobia in sport, particularly football.

Daley addressed the need for a culture change in football, saying, ‘if I had one Christmas wish it would be that next year that changes. That one impossibly brave Premier League player steps forward and says, ‘I am gay’. That person would inspire gay people everywhere, give hope to thousands of teenagers struggling with their sexuality and save the lives of countless young people who don’t currently feel like they have a place in this world.”.

He summarized by saying “We can make this country the most accepting, the most inclusive, the most progressive country on Earth. What if in Britain anybody could be anything regardless of where they started? What if we all started from the same place. Now wouldn’t that be something to be proud of?”

Daley told an audience at the Virgin Atlantic Attitude Awards held at The Roundhouse Theatre in Central London this past October that the Olympic Games should ban those nations. In his speech accepting the 2021 Attitude Magazine Foundation’s Virgin Atlantic Attitude Sport Award, the 27-year-old champion diver said: “These past Olympic Games there were more out LGBT athletes than at any of the previous Olympics combined, which is a great step forward,” Daley said. “Yet there are still 10 countries that punish being gay with death that were still allowed to compete at the Olympic Games.”

I want to make it my mission before the Paris Olympics in 2024 to make it so that the countries that criminalize and make it punishable by death for LGBT people are not allowed to compete at the Olympic Games,” Daley said.

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