Former ‘Trevor Project’ Chair and CEO Launches New LGBT Equality Group for Sports and Entertainment


David McFarland, the former Chair and CEO of The Trevor Project, today launched United for Equality in Sports & Entertainment, a new non-profit organization whose mission, according to a press release, is to "serve as a national and international advocacy group in achieving equality in sport and entertainment for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) athletes and artists."

McfarlandSaid McFarland:

"I am thrilled to announce the launch of United for Equality in Sports & Entertainment. Sport and entertainment have the unique power to ignite, attract, mobilize and inspire. By their very nature, sport and entertainment provide effective platforms to promote the ideals of respect, acceptance, fairness, sportsmanship and equality for all. As a community that cares, we must take a bigger stance now, particularly for LGBT youth who need the leadership of an organization like UESE. Each one of us deserves a chance to dream for the future, no matter who we are, who we love or how we express our gender. For too many LGBT young people, the built-in safety nets of support, acceptance and caring do not exist in sport."

McFarland says he'll be announcing partners in the coming weeks.

It's unclear how the group will distinguish itself from Athlete Ally and the You Can Play Project, both of which focus on combating homophobia and inequality in sports, or GLAAD, whose mission seems to overlap as well.

Writes the group:

As a core value, UESE will serve as a major catalyst for change by taking an active role in building coalitions, collaborating with leading change agents and creating alliances with organizations in sport and entertainment to move from the passive notion of tolerance towards the active concept of acceptance to accelerate equality for all. Sport and entertainment are two of the last closets that exist in our culture.

In its inaugural year, UESE will achieve its goals by developing and encouraging dialogue, collaboration and partnerships with national and international sports organizations, the private sector, academia, media and key members of the sport and entertainment communities.


  1. Leo says

    Good luck on the entertainment end of things (sighs and rolls eyes).

    I know several openly gay agents in the business in L.A. (not friends nor acquaintances) that blatantly tell the actors or personalities they’re working for to stay in the closet (and believe me, there’s TONS of them). I’ve asked a few of them about the culture, implying somewhat an obligation on their part to change the culture, but they aren’t willing to nudge for fear of losing their jobs.

    So pardon the cynicism. I mean, we’ve made progress but at a snail’s pace it feels like…to me.

  2. Unruly says

    Things we don’t need. There are enough advocate groups covering these fields. Anyone wishing to get involved should start there. Call me a cynic, but it seems like one more person grabbing for lobbying-money.

  3. bandanajack says

    let me add to the feeding frenzy, it sounds to me as if this dude thinks howard bragman has a good gig going and would like a piece, if not all of that action. why should one lawyer get it all is what i imagine they are thinking.

  4. says

    Please include The Last Closet ( in the already existing organizations you listed whose goals are to end anti-gay bias in sports.
    TLC launched in Sept. 2012 to encourage the pro sports hierarchy to begin talking about homophobia. Our first letter writing campaign asked the commissioners of the five major sports to go on camera to invite their gay players to come out and provide safety nets for them once they do. Over a thousand letters were sent. At that point in time no athlete in any of the five major sports had come out publicly while actively playing. Since then two have come out and one commissioner (Gary Bettman NHL) has partnered with You Can Play and stated on camera that he welcomes his gay players out.
    The Last Closet has also lobbied major cities that host pro teams to create resolutions in support of their LGBT athletes. Three cities have done so since Nov. 2012 (SF, Chicago and Oakland).
    There are a host of other groups that are all working toward the same goals. Obtaining civil rights is a long road and takes many hands stirring in every direction to create movement. In light of that, over 100 of these groups are meeting in Portland at Nike world headquarters for the 2nd LGBT sports summit. On the agenda are discussions for how to move forward collectively to create change.
    Ultimately we are seeking to have strong role models in sports for our LGBT youth who often struggle with self-acceptance and take their lives in disproportionate numbers.
    Trevor has done great work in this area and hopefully will contribute to the whole of what is already in existence.

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