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WSU Creates Cougar Pride Student-Athlete Alliance for LGBTQIA+ Students

Sep 9, 2020

PULLMAN, Wash.  – Washington State University student-athletes, with the help of the Washington State Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, have put together the Cougar Pride Student-Athlete Alliance (CPSAA). The group is open to all WSU student-athletes and staff members who are either involved in, or in support of, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Pansexual, Transgender, Genderqueer, Queer, Intersexed, Agender, Asexual, and Ally community.

The Cougar Pride Student-Athlete Alliance aims to educate, advocate, and connect members of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Pansexual, Transgender, Genderqueer, Queer, Intersexed, Agender, Asexual, and Ally community and their accomplices at Washington State. Their goal is break down the stigmas of the LGBTQIA+ community through education and advocation, as well as facilitate communities of acceptance, both within and beyond WSU Athletics.

Washington State junior rower Megan Duthart put the Cougar Pride Student-Athlete Alliance together after having the realization that WSU lacked a visible community of student-athletes that she could identify with.

"Having an LGBTQIA+ group involved with the community can be really powerful for feeling comfortable and happy with who you are," expressed Duthart. "I'd love for as many LGBTQIA+ student-athletes and accomplices to be as involved as possible. The group is open to all WSU student-athletes of any and every orientation and identity."

Duthart sought out the help from WSU rowing assistant coach Samantha Clifford to get the Cougar Pride Student-Athlete Alliance started.  Once Clifford was approached, she knew she wanted to get involved and a help all LGBTQIA+ student-athletes and staff members at WSU. Which was why she decided to become the faculty representative for the CPSAA.

"The idea for the group was something Megan and I discussed in the spring and she's done the work to put it together," said Clifford. "Having an LGBTQIA+ group for student-athletes, staff, and everyone in our department is critical for our entire Coug Family. We want to provide a safe space where Cougs can be celebrated for being themselves."

Shelby McKay, WSU's Assistant Director of Athletics, Student-Athlete Development, was also pleased and eager to jump at the opportunity to assist in the creation of the Cougar Pride Student-Athlete Alliance.

"I am excited to work with Megan and Sam on developing a community for our LGBTQIA+ student-athletes, staff and allies," said McKay. "This is also an opportunity for us to educate our community on the history of LGBTQIA+, how to be an ally, and how to support LGBTQIA+ student-athletes and staff here at Washington State."

The Cougar Pride Student-Athlete Alliance is open to any and all WSU student-athletes and staff members. Their first meeting will be on Thursday, Sept. 10, via Zoom. For more information on the Zoom meeting or the CPSAA, e-mail Samantha Clifford at samantha.clifford@wsu.edu. You can also follow the CPSAA on Instagram and Twitter at @WSUCPSAA.