A champion can be defined as a person who fights or argues for a cause or on behalf of someone else. While many understand the definition of a champion in relation to “the big game,” this form of champion is someone who truly fights for what they believe in every way, every day. Fighting the fight for equality for more than a decade is the team behind the Gay Polo League. Recently, the community has taken notice.
On April 3, the Gay Polo League will receive the prestigious Palm Beach County Sports Commission “Champion of Equity & Diversity Award” for its work on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender athletes through the game of polo.
Since its inception, the league has worked tirelessly to create an atmosphere that affirms and supports the understanding and acceptance of all individuals regardless of race, sexual preference, sexual identity or gender. The Lexus International Gay Polo Tournament, presented by Douglas Elliman Real Estate, is the only LGBTQ+ sporting event in Palm Beach County and remains so even after more than a decade.
While the Gay Polo League proudly has teams that participate in other leagues and tournaments, there is still much growth on the horizon. The league will continue its work to promote goodwill and camaraderie that extends throughout the game of polo and transcends into other sports and aspects of life.
“We have come such a long way,” Gay Polo League founder Chip McKenney said. “This award speaks volumes to the work we are doing for our friends, neighbors and allies. This means that our sleepless nights and bravery are truly making a difference. We are creating safe spaces, ruffling feathers in the best way possible and inciting positive change!”
The award will officially be bestowed during the 45th annual Palm Beach County Sports Hall of Fame Awards Celebration at the Palm Beach Kennel Club. The Gay Polo League will be the second polo entity recognized by the Palm Beach County Sports Commission and will proudly continue its work as change agents advocating understanding and acceptance of LGBTQ people.
McKenney believes that “differences are teachers” and values embracing, celebrating and elevating the benefits of diversity. He encourages the community to continue serving as allies for LGBTQ+ communities and working together to advance equity. While the league’s work is “changing the sport of polo one chukker at a time,” there is still much work to be done.
Learn more about the Gay Polo League at www.gaypolo.com.