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“The Last Closet” Campaign Tackles Homophobia In Men’s Pro Sports

Woman Vision, the production company behind the women’s-basketball documentary Training Rules, is heading into the men’s locker room with The Last Closet, a campaign aiming to end homophobia in men’s professional sports.

Launching today, the Last Closet website offers 100s of archival video clips—from interviews by allies like rugby star Ben Cohen and NFL Hall-of-Famer Michael Irvin (right) and first-person accounts by out athletes to egregious examples of homophobia on and off the field.

Visitors can also submit videos, join social-media campaigns and petition the commissioners from the five major-league sports to address the needs of gay players.

The campaign had originally been planned as a doc, along the lines of Training Rules (which explored the anti-lesbian policies of Penn State coach Rene Portland) but creators Fawn Yacker and Jennifer Kelley found themselves facing a ticking clock: “Making the film would take two to three years—the low average for completing an independent documentary film,” they wrote. “We felt an urgency enhanced by the depressing statistics related to bias-based bullying and gay teen suicide that were making news on an almost daily basis. We knew that just one professional athlete saying the words, ‘I’m a pro athlete and I’m gay,’ would make a world of difference in the lives of those kids struggling with self-acceptance.”

Photo: Out Magazine