Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Ground-Breaking Scholarly Conference on Sex and Sexuality in Sport

Last Wednesday through Friday, I attended a conference on Sport and Sexuality at Ithaca College in NY. The conference was organized by Dr. Ellen Staurowsky, a professor in Sport Management and Media at Ithaca. Over the course of two days and an evening, attendees were treated to a wonderful menu of research presentations, panels, Jeff Sheng’s Fearless photo exhibit, and a captivating two hour talk by John Amaechi. This conference was ground-breaking. As far as I know, it was the first scholarly conference to focus on sport and sexuality.

Established sport scholars like Sue Rankin from Penn State, Diane Gill from UNC-Greensboro, Vikki Krane from Bowling Green University and Becky Beal from Cal State-East Bay and Mo Smith from Cal State, Sacramento were joined by a younger generation of up and coming sport scholars like Erin Buzuvis, JD from Western New England College, Amy Sandler from UNLV, Kerrie Kauer from Cal State Long Beach, and Tre Wentling and Kristenne Robison from Syracuse. I hesitate to mention any names because all the presentations I attended were high quality and it is impossible to list everyone here. It was encouraging that so many young scholars are interested in and receiving support for research on LGBT issues in sport.

Those of us who focus on the practical side of these issues also had a chance to talk about our work with coaches and athletes. Some of these presentations were made by me, Helen Carroll from the NCLR Sports Project, Karin Lofstrom from the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women’s Sports, Ted Rybka from the GLAD Sports Desk, and Allison Subasic, LGBT Center director from Penn State. Good work is happening in the world of athletics to make sports a safer and more respectful place for all athletes and coaches, including LGBT people. I left the conference energized and excited about the connections I made and ready to get back to work.

Next time around (and I hope there will be a second conference on sport and sexuality), I hope we can focus more on intersections among gender, sex and sexuality with race, disability and religion. That would provide an even richer discussion of these important social justice issues in sport.

Kudos to Ithaca College, Ellen Staurowsky and all the folks to helped for planning and conducting a wonderful event.


austinstair said...

It was great meeting you at the Sport, Sexuality, and Culture Conference. Thank you for stopping by my poster presentation (Examining Online Intercollegiate Head Coaches’ Biographies: Reproducing or Challenging Heteronormativity and Heterosexism?). I look forward to any collaboration that could ensure from this research.

Austin Stair Calhoun
University of Minnesota

Anonymous said...

hey pat,

i'm also glad i finally met you at this historic conference after years of knowing about your work and having 'strong women, deep closets' on my bookshelf. as a black lesbian psychologist activist athlete who works in community (and many more things), it is my hope as well that this conference in the future does get broader in scope, representing a much more diverse spectrum of all of our lgbt in sports experience.

darlene a. hall, ph.d.
intersections consulting

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