What to do when an LGBT player comes out to you

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 of: What do I do when an LGBT player comes out to me?

The #1 reason that students don’t come out to coaches and teams is the fear of discrimination. So if they start the discussion, Dr. Withycombe advises that coaches first first thank the athlete for feeling comfortable enough to come out to you. Reassure your player that this doesn’t affect how you feel about them and offer your support. Ask your player to tell you how you can support them, especially if they want to tell the team. The coming out process is very complex so it’s important to be a support system to them in the process.

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:

jenny-withycombe

 Dr. Jenny Lind Withycombe, has over 15 years’ experience within the field of athletics as an athlete, coach, consultant, sport psychologist, and diversity and inclusion educator.

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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