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The story behind Nike's #BeTrue line for LGBT athletes

Nike

A selection of Nike's #BeTrue items the company featured on Twitter. #BeTrue is designed to celebrate LGBT athletes.

Nike debuts its new line of clothing today, #BeTrue, the slogan for its collection inspired by LGBT athletes. It's available in Nike stores throughout the country, but the story of how this line came to be started well before the names Jason Collins or Michael Sam made headlines.

"The LGBT sports movement wasn't really acting as a movement," says Cyd Zeigler, co-founder of OutSports. So three years ago, Nike, he and other activists got together to host the LGBT Sports Summit.

"We brought all of the top players to Portland during gay pride month to talk about how we can become a movement."

A coalition was formed that has met every year since, and Nike helped fund it through the sales of the #BeTrue line. But even then, the line was only available in just three stores throughout the country.

"They didn't know what the reaction was going to be," says Ziegler. "They were afraid of alienating their customer base."

That was in 2012, and the #BeTrue products were popular where they were sold. But this year, with LGBT pro athletes finding general acceptance among the public, Ziegler says Nike is doing what it can to spread the product even further.

"This year, they're diving in head first. They're realizing this isn't a hot button issue anymore, and they want to be the leaders on it."

The #BeTrue products are now available in four stores in Southern California, alone, and a more than a dozen more elsewhere around the country.


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