Inclusion Policy of LGBTQ Student-Athletes


The State University of New York at Buffalo is committed to ensuring equal employment, educational opportunity, and equal access to services, programs, and activities without regard to an individual's race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, gender, pregnancy, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, predisposing genetic characteristics, marital status, veteran status, military status, domestic violence victim status, or ex-offender status. This includes, but is not limited to, recruitment, the application process, examination and testing, hiring, training, grading, disciplinary actions, rates of pay or other compensation, advancement, classification, transfer and reassignment, discharge, and all other terms and conditions of employment, educational status, and access to university programs and activities.


-For more information please see UB policy for Discrimination and Harassment here


The State University of New York at Buffalo’s Inclusion policy is in accord with the NCAA on equity for LGBTQ student-athletes.  As stated in the NCAA Office of Inclusion’s NCAA Inclusion of Initiative Framework:


As a core value, the NCAA believes in and is committed to diversity, inclusion and gender equity among its student-athletes, coaches and administrators. We seek to establish and maintain an inclusive culture that fosters equitable participation for student-athletes and career opportunities for coaches and administrators from diverse backgrounds. Diversity and inclusion improve the learning environment for all student-athletes and enhance excellence within our UB department. 


- Adopted by the NCAA Executive Committee, April 2010


Our Athletic Department’s inclusion policy is committed to an inclusive environment that will provide programming and education, which sustains the foundations of a diverse and inclusive culture across dimensions of diversity including, but not limited to age, race, sex, national origin, class, creed, educational background, disability, gender identity, gender expression, geographical location, income, marital status, parental status, sexual orientation and work experiences. The University at Buffalo’s Athletic Department is dedicated to abiding by United States Federal Law 20 U.S.C. § 1681 which states:

"No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance."

20 U.S.C. § 1681



Ally - A person who is not a member of a targeted social group who takes action or speaks up to challenge discrimination or prejudice against a targeted social group.

Bisexual - A sexual orientation toward women and men in which gender is not a determining factor in romantic or sexual feelings toward another person.

Cisgender - An adjective often used to refer to someone whose gender identity is the same as the gender assigned to them at birth.

Gay - An adjective describing sexual orientation toward others of the same sex. Gay is also used to refer exclusively to gay men

Gender Expression - A term which refers to the ways in which we each manifest masculinity or femininity. It is usually an extension of our “gender identity,” our innate sense of being male, female, etc. Each of us expresses a particular gender every day – by the way we style our hair, select our clothing, or even the way we stand. Our appearance, speech, behavior, movement, and other factors signal that we feel – and wish to be understood – as masculine or feminine, or as a man or a woman.

Gender Fluidity - Gender fluidity conveys a wider, more flexible range of gender expression, with interests and behaviors that may even change from day to day. Gender fluid individuals do not feel confined by restrictive boundaries of stereotypical expectations of girls or boys.

Gender Identity - The sense of “being” male, female, genderqueer, etc. For some people, gender identity is in accord with physical anatomy. For transgender people, gender identity may differ from physical anatomy or expected social roles. It is important to note that gender identity, biological sex, and sexual orientation are separate and that you cannot assume how someone identifies in one category based on how they identify in another category.

Genderqueer - This term represents a blurring of the lines around gender identity and sexual orientation. Genderqueer individuals typically reject notions of static categories of gender and embrace a fluidity of gender identity and sexual orientation.

Lesbian - An adjective or noun used to describe the sexual orientation of women who are sexually attracted to women.

LGBTQ - A shorthand description of sexual orientations and gender identities/expressions typically included when discussing lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning or queer issues.

Queer - An umbrella term that is sometimes used to refer to gender and sexual minorities. Because of its history as a negative description of lesbian and gay people and its association with radicalism, the use of queer is somewhat controversial.

Questioning - An adjective used to describe people, especially young people, who are in the process of defining their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Sexual Orientation - Refers to being romantically or sexually attracted to people of a specific gender, or in the case of bisexually orientated people, any gender. Our sexual orientation and our gender identity are separate, distinct parts of our overall identity.

Trans - Umbrella term used to denote the increasingly wide spectrum of identities within the gender variant spectrum. Aimed at promoting unification among gender variant communities by placing focus on gender transgression over specific identity labels, genders, or bodies.


- Adopted from NCAA Champions of Respect


Title IX: NCAA Champions of Respect

The intentions of all civil rights legislation, of which Title IX is one example, is to eliminate inequality and to provide a “level playing field” where all people, regardless of individual or group differences, have access to the resources and opportunities they need to achieve personal goals in a climate that is equitable, safe and respectful. A student’s sex, gender expression or sexual orientation should not be grounds for harassment or discrimination in any school programming. Title IX is an effective legal tool for helping schools assure that all students are treated fairly and respectfully. School athletics should provide equitable and safe competition for all participants, male and female, gay and straight. Title IX can be an effective legal resource for challenging discrimination that threatens this ideal.

For more information please see here:

Best Practices for Creating an Inclusive Culture

  • Learn more about LGBTQ issues in sport and how prejudice and discrimination based on differences, such as race, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression and religion, can affect teams/individuals.
  • Assume that LGBTQ people are on your athletics teams and among your coaching and support staff, even if they have not identified themselves. Be prepared to provide resources to parents or guardians of LGBTQ student-athletes, and to coaches or staff who require them.
  • If LGBTQ student-athletes or coaches identify themselves to you, respect their right to confidentiality and privacy. Always be careful not to out a student to anyone.
  • Monitor your beliefs or assumptions about LGBTQ people and commit yourself to evaluating others on the basis of their character and competence, not sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.
  • Know what resources are available locally and nationally for LGBTQ students, parents and staff, and what resources and advocacy organizations for addressing LGBTQ discrimination or harassment in athletics are available.
  • Be a visible and active role model of respect and fairness for your school’s coaches and student-athletes, including attending Safe Zone training.
  • Use language that is inclusive of LGBTQ athletes and coaches and do not make anti-LGBTQ slurs, jokes or other comments. Make it clear to student-athletes and coaches this language will not be tolerated.
  • Treat all student-athletes, coaches and parents fairly and respectfully regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. Make clear to coaches and staff your expectations of respectful and fair treatment for all student-athletes and other coaches or staff.
  • Expect the same standards of behavior from all student-athletes, coaches and staff regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.
  • Make information accessible about nondiscrimination and anti-harassment policies and laws to athletics department staff and parents or guardians of student-athletes.
  • Provide accessibility to educational programs about LGBTQ issues in athletics for student-athletes, coaches, staff and parents.
  • Understand and comprehend the following definitions and issues that may arise:
    • Heterosexism -  A social system of individual beliefs and actions, institutional rules and laws and cultural norms that privileges heterosexual relations and people and disadvantages same-sex relationships and lesbian, gay and bisexual people.
    • Transphobia - The fear, hatred, or intolerance of people who identify or are perceived as transgender or the fear and hatred of all those individuals who transgress, violate or blur the dominant gender categories in a given society.
    • Bi-phobia - The fear, hatred, or intolerance of people who identify or are perceived as bisexual.
    • Homophobia - Describes a range of negative feelings toward lesbian and gay people as individuals or as a group. Homophobia is manifested in hostile or derisive language or actions directed toward lesbian and gay people or those assumed to be gay or lesbian.


Best Practices for Coaches

  • At the beginning of your sport season, make clear your expectations of respect for diversity among all members of athletics teams, including LGBTQ coaches and student-athletes.
  • Communicate to student-athletes, staff and coaches that anti-LGBTQ actions or language will not be tolerated.
  • Enlist the leadership of team captains and assistant coaches to set a climate of respect.
  • Know campus resources for addressing LGBTQ issues (UB Wellness Center, Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, Counseling Services).


Best Practices for Student-Athletes

  • Treat diversity among teammates as a team strength, and treat teammates as you would like to be treated: Be respectful.
  • Learn more about prejudice and discrimination based on such differences as race, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression and religion.
  • Understand the important role that allies can play in making athletics inclusive and respectful for everyone.
  • Use your visibility and leadership role as a student-athlete in your school to promote respect for diversity. If you or someone you know is targeted by anti-LGBTQ discrimination, harassment or violence, tell someone who can help (coach, teacher, Title IX athletic coordinator).
  • Judge teammates, coaches and support staff on the basis of their character, not their sexual orientation or gender identity/expression. Do not make assumptions about teammates' or coaches' sexual orientation or gender identity based on appearance or stereotypes.
  • Respect the rights of all teammates to be safe and included, and support LGBTQ teammates who choose to identify themselves to others.
  • Use language that is inclusive of LGBTQ coaches, student-athletes and staff (Don't assume that everyone on your team is heterosexual). Do not make anti-LGBTQ slurs, jokes or comments.
  • Use your leadership role to set an example of fairness and respect for other members of the team, including LGBTQ teammates.


What to Do if You Think You Have Been Discriminated Against on the Basis of Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity/Expression?

  • Identify teammates or staff whom you can count on and who will provide emotional support to you.
  • If you have an anti-LGBTQ experience, tell administration or a coach. Additionally, if an experience occurs during a game or match, let security or a facilities member know.
  • Refer to UB Title IX policy for your rights.
  • Every person has a right to be treated with respect and fairness. When you stand up and demand to be treated fairly, you will help to make athletics a safe, respectful and fair place for others, too.

- Adopted from NCAA Champions of Respect


Enforcement and Non-Retaliation

  • Enforcement - Any member of an athletics department who has been found to have violated this policy by threatening to withhold athletic opportunity or harassing any student on the basis of their gender identity or expression, or by breaching medical confidentiality, will be subject to disciplinary action. Any member of the athletics department who becomes aware of conduct that violates this policy should report the conduct to the appropriate official such as the Senior Associate Athletic Director/Senior Woman Administrator.
  • Retaliation - Retaliation is specifically forbidden against anyone who complains about discrimination based on gender identity or expression, even if the person was in error. If retaliation is known to have occurred the offender will be subject to disciplinary action.
  • Any Title IX violations will be reported to the UB Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.