First-ever class of National Gay & Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame finalized

BRENDON AYANBADEJO. PHOTO: CREATIVE COMMONS.

BRENDON AYANBADEJO. PHOTO: CREATIVE COMMONS.

Individuals and a group, LGBT and straight, active and retired — the final members of the first induction class for the National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame feature a little bit of everything.

The last nine inductees were revealed last week and join 17 previously announced honorees. They’ll all be inducted at a ceremony at the Center on Halsted on Friday, Aug. 2.

Among those on the latest list are a pair of straight National Football League players who have been outspoken in their support of LGBT causes: linebacker and special teams star Brendon Ayanbadejo, who won a Super Bowl ring with the Baltimore Ravens earlier this year and is now a free agent, and punter Chris Kluwe, who signed with the Oakland Raiders this offseason.

Two other active athletes on the list are out figure skater Johnny Weir, a two-time Olympian who has won three U.S. championships, and golfer Patty Sheehan, whose 35 LPGA victories include six major titles. The first out female pro golfer, Sheehan now competes on the Legends Tour.

The newest inductees also include former NFL player David Kopay and former Major League Baseball umpire Dave Pallone, along with two posthumous selections: Justin Fashanu, the first English pro soccer player to come out, and gay softball pioneer Chuck Dima.

Rounding out the list is the Gay Games, whose founder, the late Dr. Tom Waddell, was among those on the initial list of inductees.

Tickets for the induction ceremony are $50 (VIP) and $25 (general admission). The ceremony will be part of an LGBT-themed weekend, with the annual Out at Wrigley gathering scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 3, when the Cubs host the Los Angeles Dodgers.

For more info, go to: www.gayandlesbiansports.com.