On October 6, 2019, Michigan men’s and women’s soccer hosted the first LGBTQ+ Pride Games in the history of Michigan Athletics. The idea was inspired by the 50th anniversary of Stonewall and our student-athletes’ intentional commitment to utilize sport to establish an inclusive space for all fans to come together and support the LGBTQ+ community.
The games were brought to life through a collaboration among our ticketing and game presentation staff members, our counseling team, coaching staff and the Michigan Athletics DEI committee. The event was supported by Athletes Connected (a joint program of Athletics and the Depression Center), the Spectrum Center and Athlete Ally, a national organization that champions LGBTQ+ equality efforts. Each organization set up a table on the plaza near the main bleachers to hand out pins, stickers and resources. Fans could pick up Pride flags or stickers as giveaways, and M Den added a rainbow Michigan t-shirt to their collection, which was available for sale.
Both teams wore Pride t-shirts for warm-ups, and some student-athletes donned other rainbow gear as well. During halftime at both games, a public service announcement was shown featuring several student-athletes, Athletic Director Warde Manuel and both head soccer coaches. Michigan Athletics looks forward to hosting more LGBTQ+ Pride Games in the future.