Breaking the Silence in Harvard Athletics

Sunday's panel to explore the issues surrounding homosexuality in sports

Harvard's athletics program boasts 41 varsity teams and 1,543 athletes. Out of all them, Katherine M. Callaghan '03 is one of only two that are gay and out of the closet.

"The stakes are higher," she says, explaining why gay athletes might be hesitant to come out of the closet. "Taking a risk with a team is different than taking a risk with a roommate. If you tell a roommate and she reacts badly, you can find another roommate."

She says the Athletic Department does not have a support structure in place for gay athletes, and has seemed, to her, largely unaware of the problems they face.

"I feel as though the Athletic Department doesn't see us," she says.

This Sunday, Callaghan will sit on a public panel--which has been aggressively promoted by the Athletic Department--on what it is like to be a gay athlete at Harvard.

Senior Associate Athletic Director Patricia W. Henry, who is promoting the panel within the athletics department, wants to encourage this kind of discussion on homosexuality.

"Any issues that relate to diversity, tolerance, and respect are important ones to discuss," Henry says. "To put dialogue on the table is a positive first step."

Making Some Noise