This week, in another step towards inclusiveness, the WNBA became the first pro sports league to launch a marketing campaign specifically directed towards the LGBT community. The league launched their WNBA Pride website on Wednesday.

According to the Star Tribune:

The campaign, which begins with the debut of a website Wednesday, includes having teams participate in local pride festivals and parades, working with advocacy groups to raise awareness of inclusion through grassroots events and advertising with lesbian media. A nationally televised pride game will take place between Tulsa and Chicago on Sunday, June 22. All 12 teams will also have some sort of pride initiative over the course of the season.

The most prominent WNBA player in the LGBT community is Phoenix Mercury center Brittney Griner, who came out as a lesbian last year and has spoken in-depth about her own experiences with bullying. But there are many others in the league who are doing great work. Layshia Clarendon, drafted by the Indiana Fever, is the Director of Ambassador Relations with the Br{ache the Silence campaign, which seeks to provide a platform for LGBT voices to speak out in order to help the leadership development of future generations.

Seimone Augustus of the Minnesota Lynx, who is openly lesbian, was the co-grand marshal at the 2012 pride parade in downtown Minnesota. The team also has a booth at the Gay Pride Festival, and has been very involved about raising awareness and promoting inclusion in the community.

So, it’s wonderful to see the WNBA take the next step to make this more of a league-wide mandate. With the recent news pertaining to the likes of Jason Collins and Michael Sam, we’ve seen that the best part about an athlete coming out is the productive conversations that we as fans are having with one another. Because this issue will always bring a rise out of a certain population, there will always be noise in the chatter — the type that is ignorant and counterproductive to helping achieve a society that promote inclusion instead of pushing it away. While that part of it will always exist, it is also increasingly becoming just background noise, and it’s movements like the WNBA’s public campaign that’s helping with that.

This announcement may have been lost because of the obscurity of the WNBA relative to the NBA, especially with the playoffs going on right now. But it’s also very important news, and another step forward.

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