Sep 2011: IN THE LIFE episode “Changing the Game” about homophobia in sports

In the Life produced by In the Life Media

Episode Summary

There are currently no out major league athletes in the United States. IN THE LIFE goes inside the aggressive, homophobic world of sports with “Bam Bam” Meulens of the SF Giants, Former NY Giants Running Back Tiki Barber, Rugby Star Ben Cohen, college wrestling champ Hudson Taylor, and more in this month’s IN THE LIFE episode “Changing the Game” premiering on and airing on public television stations across the country.

When a professional athlete like Kobe Bryant screams the “F” word at a referee or the Atlanta Braves coach yells homophobic slurs at San Francisco Giants fans there is a message that homophobia in sports is okay, but the tide is turning as more teams and athletes take a public stance supporting the LGBT community. Featuring the pioneering work of GLSEN’s Pat Griffin, out college athletes, and the Fearless exhibit, IN THE LIFE documents the concerted effort to end homophobia in sports.

“I always hearken it back to the Jackie Robinson era. Think about a time when African Americans weren’t allowed to play sports simply because of the color of their skin. Think about the contributions that were missed then that are now capitalized on. It’s the same thing with sexual orientation as it was with skin color. It doesn’t matter. You’re either a great athlete or you’re not.” Tiki Barber, Former Running Back, NY Giants.

“Changing the Game” concludes with a profile of a college bound youth, Kadeem Swenson, who experienced homelessness and developed leadership skills with support from the organization Campus Pride.

“On a college level, things just don’t get better. We have to pick the right college. 23% of LGB, lesbian, gay and bi identified students, faculty, and staff are harassed on campuses. A third of transgender students, faculty, and staff fear for their physical safety. I mean this is 2011,” Shane Windmeyer, Executive Director & Founder, Campus Pride.

Changing the Game

Photo Credit: Jeff Sheng "Fearless"

Meet pro athletes and leaders standing up against homophobia in sports. Featuring “Bam Bam” Meulens of the SF Giants, former NY Giants running back Tiki Barber, rugby star Ben Cohen, college wrestling champ Hudson Taylor, and more.

College Bound

Kadeem Swenson was kicked out of the house after coming out to his parents in high school. With hard work and help from organizations and mentors, Swenson escaped homelessness and is now the first in his family to attend college.

“Changing the Game” is now airing on public television stations across the country and available for free video streaming and downloadable podcasts from the In The Life Media website. To find out when it will air in your local area, to stream or download it, go to

Full Episode


In The Life Media produces change through innovative media that exposes social injustice by chronicling lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender life. Produced by In The Life Media, IN THE LIFE is the longest running television show documenting the gay experience. IN THE LIFE is a two-time Emmy Award nominee, a Lambda Legal Liberty Award honoree, a Seigenthaler Award recipient from the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association for excellence in network television and a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding TV Journalism-Newsmagazine.


IN THE LIFE is distributed by American Public Television. APT has been a leading distributor of high-quality, top-rated programming to America’s public television stations since 1961. In 2009, APT distributed 56 of the top 100 highest-rated public television titles. Among its 300 new program titles per year are prominent documentaries, news and current affairs programs, dramatic series, how-to programs, children’s series and classic movies. APT also licenses programs internationally through its APT Worldwide service. In 2006, APT launched Create® – the TV channel featuring the best of public television’s lifestyle programming. APT is also a partner in the WORLD™ channel expansion project including its web presence at For more information about APT’s programs and services, visit For more information on Create, visit

Check out all of my blog posts featuring the “In the Life” series – CLICK HERE.

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