WNBA Becomes First American Pro League to Target LGBT Fans

In tandem with pride season, the WNBA will officially embrace its LGBT fans.

BY Annie Hollenbeck

May 28 2014 1:40 PM ET

Last week the WNBA debuted WNBA Pride, an LGBT equality program and the first one of its kind in major professional American sports. While the WNBA has arguably been the most LGBT-inclusive professional sports league, boasting far more out players and coaches than the NBA, the initiative is both an important step and a call to action to the perpetual issue of inequality in professional athletics.

Partnering with groups such as Br{ache The Silence, GLSEN and GLAAD, WNBA Pride will be a focal point in the league’s marketing and advertising during the month of June. 

"Some of my favorite memories are courtside with my wife and kids cheering on our favorite WNBA teams," GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said in a statement. "For years, the WNBA has been a leading force in building support for equality on the court and in the stands."

The initiative will end with a face-off between the Tulsa Shock and the Chicago Sky in Oklahoma, a veritable hotbed for the marriage equality debate. Earlier this year a federal judge in Oklahoma ruled the state’s anti–marriage equality law unconstitutional, but the decision has been stayed, pending appeal.

The WNBA also becomes the first league to launch a dedicated website highlighting league-wide LGBT issues, and this June, many teams and players will participate in pride festivals and parades across the country. Additionally, the number 1 draft pick of 2013, out lesbian Brittney Griner, has been named the grand marshal of the 2014 Phoenix Pride Parade.
 

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