WATCH: Greg Louganis, Mark Tewksbury and Wade Davis provide details about a roundtable discussion at the U of T on LGBTQ inclusion in sport.
TORONTO – The University of Toronto is planning to launch a sports and sexual diversity course as part of the institution’s Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies program.
Former Canadian Olympian Mark Tewksbury made the announcement official Thursday during an appearance on Global’s The Morning Show alongside former U.S. Olympic diver Greg Louganis and former American professional football player Wade Davis.
“A lot of change is coming from people in power who have brothers or sisters who are part of the community and they’re realizing we want our kids to be safe,” said Tewksbury.
The Canadian Olympic gold medalist said the Canadian Olympic Committee is partnering with the Bonham Centre to offer the fully credited course to students at U of T.
“Sochi was a huge issue that rallied the world to think about how we handle LGBT issues, sending athletes to a country that is hostile,” he said. “Because of that, positive things have come.”
Louganis said acceptance of gay issues and athletes in sport has now reached a tipping point.
“There’s so much education that’s happening, surrounding HIV AIDS, surrounding sensitivity to LGBT issues,” he said. “I’m so grateful to be a part of that.”
Louganis said he was diagnosed HIV-positive six months prior to competing in the 1988 Seoul Summer Olympic Games and was afraid to speak out at the time.
“Had they known my HIV status, I would not have been allowed in the country,” Louganis said.
“When I would travel internationally, there was always a kind of debate when we would go to international competitions, ‘Who’s going to room with the fag.'”
Davis, who had stints with several teams in the National Football League, came out publicly in 2012 and says conversations about homosexuality is happening in the sport.
“The commissioner’s brother is gay,” said Davis. “So when I had a chance to meet with Mr. Goodell, the first thing he said is, ‘How do I make my sport safe for even my brother.'”
The U of T undergraduate course offering coincides with an international roundtable on LGBTQ inclusion in sport taking place on campus Thursday.