LGBTQ Educator Pat Griffin to Speak on Changing Sports Climate for Athletes and Coaches

AMHERST, Mass. – The College of Education at the University of Massachusetts Amherst will host Pat Griffin, a national LGBTQ and athletics educator, activist, professor emerita and alumna of the college, for a talk on “The Changing Sports Climate for LGBTQ Athletes and Coaches: Successes and Challenges” on Saturday, Oct. 19 at 4:30 p.m. in Mark’s Meadow Auditorium at the College of Education, 813 N. Pleasant St., Amherst.

The acknowledged “grandmother” of the LGBTQ social justice in athletics movement, Griffin, who resides in Belchertown, has been an advocate for LGBT equality in sports for more than 30 years. Drawing on her experiences as a social justice educator and university swimming and diving coach, Griffin regularly provides counsel to the NCAA and college and high school athletics programs as they work toward greater LGBTQ inclusion in sports.

She is the author of “Strong Women, Deep Closets: Lesbians and Homophobia in Sport,” co-editor of “Teaching For Diversity and Social Justice,” and co-author of “On The Team: Equal Opportunities for Transgender Student-Athletes, the NCAA Guide for the Inclusion of Transgender Athletes” and “Champions of Respect: NCAA Guide for the Inclusion of LGBTQ Student-Athletes.” In addition, she is the author of “Pat Griffin’s LGBT Sports Blog” (

Griffin is the founder of Changing the Game: The Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network (GLSEN) Sports Project, an education and advocacy program focused on addressing LGBT issues in K-12 school-based athletic and physical education programs. The project was launched in 2011 with an advisory group consisting of hall of fame, Olympic and national champion athletes, award-winning journalists, former college athletic directors and current professional, college and high school coaches.

She is also a co-organizer of the first National LGBT Sports Summit hosted by Nike in 2012 to develop a nationwide network of organizations focused on making sports inclusive and respectful for LGBT athletes and coaches. This year, she was invited to Stockholm to address the Swedish National Youth Sports Organization on the topic of including transgender youth in sports programs.

Griffin has appeared on ESPN Outside the Lines and Quite Frankly with Stephen A. Smith, HBO Real Sports and ABC Sports. She was named one of the 100 Champions by the Gay Games Federation in 2006, one of the top 100 sport educators in the United States by the Institute for International Sport in 2007, and a Woman of Honor by the University of Maryland in 2008. She received the R. Tait McKenzie Award from the American Alliance of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance in 2011. She was voted Person of Year for 2011 for her accomplishments combating homophobia and sexism in sports.

Griffin played basketball and field hockey and swam at the University of Maryland. She coached high school basketball, field hockey and softball in Montgomery County, Md. and coached swimming and diving at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She won a bronze medal in the 1994 Gay Games Triathlon and a gold medal in the 1998 Gay Games Hammer Throw.

A free public reception will follow Griffin’s presentation. Registration for both the presentation and the reception is required. Register online at