LGBT athletes inducted into National Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame

Sat. July 12, 2014 2:16 PM by News Staff

photo credit // anthony meade
Chicago, IL - The National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame (NGLSHOF) recognized its second induction class of honorees during a ceremony Friday at Chicago's Center on Halsted.

"This past year has been a year of triumph and heartache for LGBT athletes," NGLSHOF founder and executive director Bill Gubrud said in his opening statement. "We've had the first openly gay player drafted in one of the four major sports. We've had numerous college athletes come out while still in college. We've had Olympic athletes come out. We've seen straight athletes show support to LGBT athletes. We've seen support from politicians and corporations."

Inductees included Billy Bean, retired MLB player; Wade Davis, Executive Director of You Can Play and retired NFL player; Tom Daley, Olympic Medal Winning Diver; Gareth Thomas, retired rugby player; Esara Tuaolo, retired NFL player; Brittney Griner, decorated collegiate athlete, active WNBA player; Diana Nyad, endurance swimmer; Fallon Fox, Mixed Martial Artist; Chris Mosier, founder of; Nike, corporation; Stand Up Foundation, anti-bullying non-profit; Mark Bingham, rugby player (Deceased); Jerry Smith, NFL player (Deceased); Mayor George Moscone, Straight Ally, Former Mayor of San Francisco, (Deceased).

The first of its kind in the U.S., Gubrud started the NGLSHOF last year with the goal of recognizing and preserving the history of individuals and organizations whose achievements have advanced sports and athletics for the LGBT community.

It's been a big year for the group, which has received recognition from the commissioners of Major League Baseball, National Hockey League, National Basketball Association and National Football League. NGLSHOF was also recognized by Mayor Emanuel and Governor Quinn and the Federation of Gay Games.

"It's been overwhelming to receive so much recognition," Gubrud told

Gubrud and members of the Sports Hall of Fame, including Jackie Weinberg, Nick Mauro, Andy Schweickert, Billy Lullo, Gary Chichester, Israel Wright and Robert Rupp, greeted guests and those inductees in attendance, which included Bean, Tuaolo, Fox, Mosier and representatives from Nike and Stand up Foundation. President of the Chicago Dragons rugby club Jason Sadler and President Emeritus Craig Sklenar accepted the award on Bingham's behalf.

The induction ceremony was held in conjunction with Saturday's Out at Wrigley, the nation's largest gay day at a major league sporting event.