We had the great pleasure to speak with Dr. Jenny Lind Withycombe about diversity among elite athletes. Dr. Withycombe, has over 15 years experience within the field of athletics as an athlete, coach, consultant, sport psychologist, and diversity and inclusion educator. Most notably Dr. WIthycombe has worked with the NCAA, AMCC and the US Rowing team.
Dr. Withycombe often gets asked the question:
The simple answer is no. Relationships of any kind outside of the team dynamic can be detrimental, both sexual and friendship based. The most important thing to remember is that you have to explain it isn’t because they are same sex but rather that it is a real threat to the team dynamic.
However, relationships are going to happen sometimes, and there's not much you can do about it. That's why it’s very important to be prepared for the situation. Dr. Withycombe suggests creating a policy around inter-team relationships. You want to make sure you address topics such as team travel, public displays of affection, practice etiquette and more.
Studies show, teams that focus on creating more diverse inclusive programs saw many benefits such as increased creativity, more harmonious team environment and player happiness. They also enjoyed higher rates of success in terms of wins and losses.
Listen to other podcasts on a number of different LGBT athlete issues including:
About our guest:
Dr. Withycombe conducts Diversity Education workshops, talks, and planning sessions all over the United States focusing on the current issues and unique challenges found within educational institutions and sport. Dr. Withycombe’s focus on best practices provides real-world strategies for influencing the culture in your departments and teams.
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