WNBA Finally Recognizes LGBT Fans League-Wide

WNBA Finally Recognizes LGBT Fans League-Wide

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Neil Enns/Storm Photos
Neil Enns/Storm Photos

The Seattle Storm, in conjunction with the WNBA’s league-wide announcement Thursday, has announced all Storm-specific events and plans for the 40th Anniversary of Seattle Pride. Two Storm games, Sunday, June 22 vs. Washington and Friday, June 27 vs. Minnesota are Pride-centric theme nights.

The WNBA tipped off WNBA Pride presented by COVERGIRL, a new national platform celebrating inclusion and equality, while combating anti-LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) bias; it was announced Thursday by WNBA President Laurel J. Richie.

“The WNBA welcomes all fans, athletes, and partners to our game,” said Richie.  “These beliefs unite the 12 teams of the WNBA and we are very excited to introduce the WNBA Pride platform which celebrates acceptance and inclusion.  The WNBA takes great pride in working with extraordinary partners who share these values, and we are so grateful to our presenting partner COVERGIRL along with ESPN, GLSEN and GLAAD for joining the WNBA on this important initiative.”

The WNBA will be the first professional sports league to establish an integrated marketing, media, grassroots and social responsibility program for the LGBT community including a new special site,WNBA.com/pride where league and team Pride content, events and schedules will be posted throughout the season.  Information will also be shared on the league’s social media channels where the content will be aggregated with the hashtag #wnbapride.

There will be a new WNBA Pride logo appearing in courtside signage and in-game promotions.

“We applaud our WNBA partners for creating and launching such an important initiative. The Walt Disney Company and ESPN have a long history of encouraging a welcoming environment for diverse communities, including the LGBT community, and we are proud to showcase the WNBA Pride platform to our national audience,” said John Skipper, ESPN President, Co-Chairman of Disney Media Networks.

As presenting partner, COVERGIRL will activate within the Pride game aired on ESPN2, on WNBA.com and on WNBA social media.  “COVERGIRL has always supported the strength and diversity of women. We believe every woman is a COVERGIRL, and that COVERGIRLs rock the world,” said Esi Eggleston Bracey, VP and General Manager, COVERGIRL. “Our recently launched #GirlsCan campaign was established to help women overcome boundaries to break barriers, including in the pursuit of a career where women are currently under-represented, like professional sports. We are proud partners of the WNBA.”

“Every day in the news we see that inclusion is the new standard for our society, and every day we see more and more people reject prejudice and anything that would divide us,” said Phoenix Mercury Center Brittney Griner.  “I’m proud to be a part of the WNBA and NBA family that has chosen to embrace the LGBT community, not just for the out athletes like me, but also the allies and fans who love them.”

On Sunday, June 22, Storm fans are invited to join the Storm during the Pride Kickoff game against the Washington Mystics. The first 3,000 fans in attendance will receive a free t-shirt. The Storm has invited Greater Seattle Business Association (GSBA) Scholars to attend the game in recognition of their achievements. The GSBA is the nation’s largest LGBT chamber, and awarded $330,000 in scholarships this year to students.

On Friday, June 27, as Seattle welcomes the reigning WNBA Champions Minnesota Lynx to KeyArena, Storm fans are invited to open Seattle Pride Weekend with the Storm. The first 3,000 fans will receive Storm Rainbow beads and guest DJ Ricki Leigh will be in the bowl performing before and during the game.

In addition to the games, Storm fans are invited to join Doppler at the 5th annual Pride Picnic at Volunteer Park on Saturday, June 14 at 11 a.m. The Pride Picnic includes live entertainment, food and activities for all ages.

The Storm will, once again, have a presence in the Seattle Pride Parade on Sunday, June 29 and fans are invited to walk with the Storm car and Doppler. Additionally, the Storm will have a presence at The Seattle Lesbian’s Pride Announcer’s Stage at the corner of 4th and Denny during the 40th annual Seattle Pride Parade, starting at 11 a.m.

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