Austin FC partnered with Lexus, the Club’s Official Luxury Vehicle partner, to host a panel event at Q2 Stadium on Wednesday in celebration of Austin’s LGBTQIA+ community. The event was held at the Lexus Club on Wednesday, August 18th and focused on supporting LGBTQIA+ youth participation in sports while creating affirming spaces for the Austin community.
The 2021 Pride in the ATX panelists included Austin FC Sporting Director and former U.S. Men’s National Team captain Claudio Reyna, Lexus Master Certified Vehicle Upgrade Manager and former professional and volleyball athlete, Mary Martin, activist and host of “The Tea with Bri”, Briona Jenkins and Operations and Programs Director for Out Youth, Ryn Gonzales. Additionally, the panel featured discussions in supporting youth sports, how professional athletes serve as role models and the power of Austin, Texas as a Pride-friendly city.
“Soccer is a sport for everyone,” said Austin FC Vice President of Community Impact Kaitlin Swarts. “It’s powered by passion and inclusivity, and to be able to hold events like this – in collaboration with our great partners at Lexus – is an important step towards becoming better allies to the LGBTQIA+ community as a whole.”
“Lexus is proud to support Austin’s LGBTQIA+ community and participate in meaningful discussions about the influence of sports and the power of acceptance,” said Adelmo Chaparro, Vehicle Operations Manager for Lexus Southern. “We look forward to continuing these conversations and growing Austin’s reputation as a Pride-friendly city.”
Austin FC has continuously strived to close the gaps of accessibility and helped amplify the voices of underrepresented communities, including low-income youth and members of the LGBTQIA+ community. Austin FC’s efforts have included a designated portion of sales revenues from the Austin Pride Patch, the auction of four (4) Pride pre-match tops and a round-up option for customers at the Verde Store benefiting the Austin LGBT Chamber of Commerce’s Education Fund, a 501© (3) organization which awards scholarships to LGBTQ and allied students who exhibit leadership potential, strong academic abilities and involvement in school and community organizations. For the month of August, round-up sales from the Verde Store will benefit Out Youth, an Austin-based nonprofit that has served LGBTQIA+ youth for 30 years.
Additionally, Austin FC hosted four (4) community members during the June 27th match including Tina Cannon, Austin LGBT Chamber of Commerce’s CEO, as the honorary Heartbeat of Austin chant leader, featured local musician and LGBT community member Gina Chavez, who sang the match’s national anthem and executed a Pride pre-match top, merch and social campaign featuring LGBT community members.