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Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California

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LGBT Athletes Discuss Challenges at USC Conference

The three-day conference focuses on the difficulties LGBT athletes face - and how society is changing to ease those difficulties.

What's it like to be openly gay and a competitive collegiate athlete? How can the NCAA combat homophobia?

These and other questions were discussed Wednesday on campus in a panel focusing on the experience of LGBT atheletes at the university level.

The panel is part of a three-day conference discussing the intersection of LGBT issues and athletics and presented by the USC Annenberg Institute of Sports, Media and Society.

Panel members, which included USC swimmer Sean Mulroy, Senior Associate Atheletic Director Donna Heinel, and UCLA's Asst. softball coach Kirk Walker, said LGBT athletes face challenges in coming out.

While panel members commended USC's efforts to cultivate a more respectful environment for LGBT athletes, they said high school athletes - who may lack the hangups of older students - are growing up with a higher level of acceptance.

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