Neil G. Giuliano is an American gay rights activist. He was the former four-term Republican mayor (1994-2004) of Tempe, Arizona. He chaired the commission in charge of hosting the third debate of the 2004 United States presidential elections. He has served as President of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) since September 1, 2005.
Topic: Helping LGBT Athletes
Neil Giuliano: Well if you think about—this is the way we thought about it. Where is the most defamation rooted in our society still? What aspects of society is there still a lot of homophobia against the LGBT community? And you look at the world of sports, and we have a long way to go. And so we’ve created the Sports Media Program to start working with media professionals that cover the sports world. When incidents come up that where there’s either been an act of defamation or there’s an opportunity to educate people through sports media, we want to have that kind of influence, the same way we have the influence in the entertainment world, in television shows and film and so forth. So the Sports Media Program is working with out athletes, on the college level, some closeted athletes on the professional level still, and really creating the opportunity to begin some of those dialogues. And then we’re also talking to professional broadcast journalists, people who are sportscasters, people who are writing stories about the sports world, to see if we can have more fair, accurate and inclusive representation of LGBTathletes, whether they’re—on whatever level they’re in. But certainly there’s a lot of young athletes who want to be able to compete, maybe some day as professionals, certainly maybe in the Olympics, and they want to know if they can be out. It’s a great story. We got an email not long ago from a mother who’s saying my son is an amazing high school athlete. He’s out and I want him to be able to go to a college or university where he can be out as an athlete and be safe. Where should he go, where can he look to? This is his sport, this is what he wants to do. This is coming from a parent, which is just tremendous. So we shared some information with that person, connected them with some people at some universities that are very supportive of the LGBT community, and some day we’ll be able to tell that young person’s story when he’s very successful as an athlete.
Recorded on: Mar 4 2008