June 6, 2014 by Hayley Miller, Digital Media Associate
Ballparks across the country have started to host extremely popular LGBT and Pride nights, according to Slate.com. Major cities including Washington, D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Philadelphia are all hosting LGBT nights this year.
In an e-mail to Slate, Major League Baseball (MLB) Senior Vice President of Public Relations Pat Courtney said, “We are happy to see the clubs welcoming the LGBT community. … Baseball and sports can make a meaningful difference in changing opinions of how the American public perceives the LGBT community.”
This is a huge change from past LGBT experiences with MLB. In 2000, the Los Angeles Dodger kicked out a same-sex couple who kissed after a home run. Some major cities only started hosting LGBT nights last year. A majority of MLB’s LGBT nights remain sponsored by outside and independent groups, but the parks and teams have remained open and committed to inclusion of the LGBT community.
Last year MLB announced an agreement to expand its existing anti-discrimination policy to include sexual orientation and agreed to provide training sessions and a centralized complaint system to report incidents of harassment and discrimination.
The social and legal landscape is rapidly changing for the LGBT sports community thanks to trailblazers like Michael Sam and Jason Collins. To learn more about other changes in professional sports and out players, click here.