Pride Panel Recap

Sky forward Jessica Breland also joined the panel to discuss her experience as an “out” athlete, and provided advice for taking a stand against homophobia.

Kokenis opened the discussion by sharing the challenges she faced in college as an openly lesbian athlete. Kokenis founded Stanford’s Athlete-Ally student group as a result of the misunderstanding her fellow teammates had about the LGBT community. Her goal was to create an equal and inclusive sports community. Breland built off Kokenis’ ideas adding that society is, “afraid of different and what’s outside of the norm.” Furthermore, she challenged the audience to use encouragement and education to create a more safe, and understanding, sports community.

Taylor incorporated his experience as a straight male who competed as a Division I wrestler at the University of Maryland and who admitted he was guilty of using homophobic language in college. After seeing the effect his negative language had on the LGBT community, Taylor was determined to change his behavior, founding Athlete Ally as a vehicle for change. The organization is dedicated to raising public awareness by fostering educational programs to foster inclusive sports communities.

Today, Athlete Ally ambassadors include over 80 college athletes and 100 professional athletes. Taylor closed with a call to action saying anyone can be an Athlete Ally regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. To learn more about Athlete Ally visit http://www.athleteally.org/

The Sky will continue to celebrate Pride on Sunday, June 29 when members of the coaching staff and team join Equality Illinois to walk in the Chicago Pride Parade.

For tickets to see the Sky play this summer click here or call 866.SKY.WNBA