Saturday, July 30, 2011

Hudson Taylor and Athlete Ally

Many of you have probably noticed two very attractive men in many of my photos….Thomas Roberts and Hudson Taylor.  Sorry ladies and gentlemen – both taken.  ;-)  Thomas got his time to shine in my blogs; on to Hudson.  Hudson Taylor is a quickly rising face of equality in sports, a leader in this movement of respecting diversity, and a fearless straight ally whom I admire and am proud to call a friend.  

I met Hudson at the PFLAG National Straight for Equality dinner when he was the recipient of the SfE in Sports Award. He graduated from the University of Maryland as a Division I three-time All-American wrestler in 2010 and currently ranks among the top-five pinners in NCAA history.  He's now a wrestling coach at Columbia University.  He is also the founder of Athlete Ally, his non-profit that raises awareness of equality on sports, holds athletes, coaches and fans accountable through his mission and pledge, and emphasizes the importance of straight allies in the locker room who allow LGBTQ athletes to feel safe, supported and equal contributors of the team without bias or discrimination.

I was able to join Hudson and his beautiful fiancé Lia on the trip down to Asbury Park, NJ for the first fundraiser for Athlete Ally.  We had a great turnout of supporters, lawyers and politicians, sponsored by the pro-bono law firm who works with Athlete Ally’s legal work.  It was amazing to hear the influence that the voice of a 23-year-old straight athlete can and has had on adults and their openness about their own sexual orientation.  The cool thing about Hudson is that he doesn’t have a family member and did not have close friends who were gay.  Instead, he saw this respect and support of people as equals regardless of their orientation or expression as the right thing to do.  It IS the right thing to do.  You can support Athlete Ally by visiting the website, taking the pledge and sharing with your community’s coaches and athletes in order to make the locker rooms and the fields safe for everyone.

I pledge to lead my athletic community to respect and welcome all persons, regardless of their perceived or actual sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. Beginning right now, I will do my part to promote the best of athletics by making all players feel respected on and off the field.

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