Indiana Daily Student

GLBTAA celebrates progress at game

Cindy Stone holds up a shirt being auctioned off during Pride Night hosted by the GLBT Alumni Association on Thursday at Cook Hall.
Cindy Stone holds up a shirt being auctioned off during Pride Night hosted by the GLBT Alumni Association on Thursday at Cook Hall.

The Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Alumni Association celebrated progress Thursday night.

That’s progress for the GLBT community and its relationship with IU athletics, specifically since IU Coach Curt Miller, an openly gay man, began coaching the women’s basketball team.

Chair of the Pride Night event and member of the GLBTAA Cindy Stone said ten years ago, a Christian college played IU and the rival athletes publicly told their stories of previously living sinful gay lives where they slept with other women.

“That was 10 years ago, and here we are today throwing a Pride athletic event,” Stone said. “We don’t have those people come here anymore. Things have changed.”
Stone and the GLBTAA planned the event for around 70 people, but by starting time, only standing room was left for attendees.

As guests shuffled in from the cold, Stone greeted them at the door. She said she hopes the event could be the first of many GLBT events with IU athletics.

“We are trying to put a welcome mat on Cook and Assembly Hall,” Stone said. “IU athletics is inclusive of everyone no matter whose hand you hold.”

Miller spoke at the event to thank the community for their support of him and his program.

He also expressed his hopes for this Pride Night to become a source of inspiration for other Division I Athletics.

“You hear about pride nights in professional sports like hockey, but not very often in Division I athletic events.” Miller said. “I hope we’re a trend-setter and get the word out.
It’s wonderful to see the momentum here.”

Miller spoke about always wanting to do a pride night in his previous job to gain support, but his marketing directors were hesitant to do so, he said.

He said the event was personal to him, as he and his partner of almost 19 years are welcome at IU because of the great support from the athletic administration and Athletic Director Fred Glass.

“Not everyone would take a chance on me as a new basketball coach,” Miller said to the audience. “Not because of my successes or failures, but because of my personal story. And I can’t thank you all enough.”

Senior Andrew Johnson attended the event because he has volunteered for the GLBTAA since his freshman year.

“It was nice to see athletics and GLBT overlap,” Johnson said. “You don’t see that often. It’s a good bridge to build.”

Since Miller started coaching last season, the team has made huge progress: it started the season off 14-0 and were ranked in the top 25 early on.

In his short speech, Athletic Director Fred Glass commended Miller on his hard work with the team.

“You can tell in the last year there’s a new approach to the women’s basketball here at Indiana,” Glass said. “It’s building and building to be the best it’s ever been.”

Through the team facing injuries and other hardships, the GLBTAA wants to show support for Coach Miller and the team, Stone said.

“We are proud of what the team has done this year,” Stone said. “But we say our best days are still to come.”

Follow reporter Suzanne Grossman on Twitter @suzannepaige6.

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