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US gay and lesbian hall of fame honors athletes

August 1, 2013

CHICAGO (AP) — What organizers say is the first hall of fame for gay and lesbian athletes in the United States will induct its inaugural class Friday.

Among those being inducted into the National Gay & Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame are tennis greats Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova, Olympic diving champion Greg Louganis and basketball player Jason Collins. Collins became the first active male professional athlete in a major team sport to publicly reveal he was gay.

Executive Director Bill Gubrud says Chicago was chosen for the site because it’s “one of the most gay-friendly cities in the United States” and the local Cubs baseball team was the first professional sports team advertise in a gay newspaper.

Organizers plan to raise money and find a building to house the hall of fame there.

Executive Director Bill Gubrud says a number of the inductees who are not gay are being recognized for having “helped create safe environment for LGBTs to compete in sports at every level.”

Among those is Ben Cohen, an English rugby player. “He founded a foundation to stop bullying against LGBTs,” Gubrud said.

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