Thursday, Aug 17, 2017
 
search SGN
SERVING SEATTLE AND THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST FOR 37 YEARS!

click to visit advertiser's website


Javascript DHTML Drop Down Menu Powered by dhtml-menu-builder.com

Last Weeks Edition
   
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
 
 
 

 

 

[Valid RSS]

click to go to advertisers website
Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, August 10 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 32
Hudson Taylor: The power of an athlete ally
Section One
ALL STORIES
  next story
Hudson Taylor: The power of an athlete ally

by Dan Woog - SGN Contributing Writer

Hudson Taylor is not Gay. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

But three years ago, when the University of Maryland wrestler put a Human Rights Campaign sticker on his headgear, some people wondered about his sexuality.

Taylor didn't care. He was more concerned about sending a strong show of support to the Gay community. For him, the medium - sports - was an appropriate means for an important message.

Taylor admits he had 'zero exposure' to Gay people growing up. 'I started wrestling when I was 6,' he recalls. 'All my friends were other wrestlers. I didn't think the LGBT world pertained to me.'

But in middle school he sang in a choir. At Blair Academy in New Jersey he performed in musicals and plays. 'No one was out when I was there, but homophobic comments of my friends - and me - always got corrected,' he says. He lived in two worlds - 'jock and thespian' - and his horizons broadened.

The HRC sticker was his first act of public advocacy. It attracted plenty of attention, and in February of his senior year the Outsports website interviewed him. To Taylor's surprise, 2,000 e-mails poured in. Many came from closeted young athletes. 'It was jaw-dropping,' Taylor says. 'About half of them made me cry.' For the first time, he realized the power of allies to make a difference.

'If a college wrestler could get that response, imagine if a football coach or athletic director spoke out,' he said. 'They could change the world.'

Deferring law school, Taylor and his girlfriend, Lia - 'my partner in everything' and now his wife - began planning an organization called Athlete Ally. Taylor accepted attorney Fred Raffetto's offer of help, and asked if he could do the work pro bono. Hesitantly, Raffetto approached his firm, Ansell Grimm & Aaron. They agreed. (Raffetto is now a partner there.)

Taylor initially planned to create a place for allies to sign a pledge, which would give LGBT athletes hope and encouragement. The website (www.athleteally.com) does that, while also offering a place for allies to post personal stories.

But Athlete Ally has evolved into something far more: a resource to help allies speak out publicly and encourage others to do the same.

Today there are several dozen college Athlete Ally Ambassadors. They talk to teams and athletic departments at their universities, asking them to sign the Athlete Ally pledge. It says: '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.'

School newspapers, broadcast stations, and blogs cover those pledge signings, creating a snowball effect for the cause.

'Lots of student-athletes want to take a stand,' Taylor said. 'They just haven't had the tools to do it before.' So far, more than 5,000 athletes and coaches have signed the Athlete Ally pledge.

One of the group's biggest success stories is the University of Cincinnati, where 10 teams signed the pledge. Suddenly, the issue of LGBT athletes was in the news on campus.

Sometimes, Taylor notes, 'we get pledges from schools we hadn't even reached out to. This is definitely something that people are talking about now.'

There has been 'literally no pushback,' Taylor says. However, he admits, 'most of the schools we've reached out to are in the Northeast.' In an effort to broaden Athlete Ally's scope, he will head south - to schools like Rhodes College in Memphis - this fall. He's on the road often, usually every other week.

Taylor concentrates on colleges because, he says, those athletes and coaches are more politically and socially aware than their high school counterparts. It's easier to be 'active and aggressive' at the college level. And, he explains, the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) sponsors a 'Changing the Game' project at the K-12 level. 'Pat Griffin and her group have done a fantastic job,' he says.

In the coming year, Taylor hopes to encourage teams to wear an ally symbol when they compete. The design is still in the works. He envisions something instantly recognizable, like the pink ribbon that symbolizes breast cancer awareness.

'I come at this conversation from a very safe place,' Taylor notes. 'I'm part of the athletic culture. I said stupid things when I was younger. By telling my story, I allow others to tell theirs.'

It helps that he is still involved in sports. Taylor is an assistant wrestling coach at Columbia University. He is once again living in two worlds - this time, athletics and Gay advocacy.

Thanks to Hudson Taylor and Athlete Ally, those two worlds are no longer mutually exclusive.

Dan Woog is a journalist, educator, soccer coach, Gay activist, and author of the Jocks series of books on Gay male athletes. Visit his website at www.danwoog.com. He can be reached in care of SGN or at OutField@qsyndicate.com.

Tell a friend:

Share on Facebook  Share on Facebook

Post to MySpace!Share on MySpace!

    Share on Delicious

Share on StumbleUpon!

Pride in Uganda
------------------------------
Primary results look good for Democrats, LGBTs
------------------------------
We have Queer youth space!
------------------------------
LGBT candidates smiling after primary
------------------------------
Broadway Video back on Broadway
------------------------------
Lifelong's 'Gay Bingo' draws enthusiastic crowd
------------------------------
'Parent ambassadors' wanted for marriage equality
------------------------------
New Pride Foundation ad focused on love and commitment
------------------------------
Sister Boom Boom becomes a 'Nun of the Above'
------------------------------
Federal judge says legislatures must decide on marriage equality
------------------------------
HRC gives Murray and McDermott perfect score on LGBT issues
------------------------------
Transgenderism more likely in military, study finds
------------------------------
Goodwill ambassadors
------------------------------
Defining domestic violence
------------------------------
Chavela Vargas, Latina Lesbian singer, dies at 93
------------------------------
I'm a Patches Pal, aren't you?
------------------------------
BREAKING NEWS
------------------------------
Hudson Taylor: The power of an athlete ally
------------------------------
Renton health facility named 'leader' in LGBT-sensitive care
------------------------------
Madonna speaks up for Russia's LGBT community, is fined 500,000 Rubles
------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------
Reykjavik Mayor Dons Dress, Balaclava to Support Pussy Riot
------------------------------
Lebanon: Stop 'Tests of Shame'
------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

------------------------------

click to visit advertiser's website

click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
click to visit advertiser's website
Seattle Gay Blog post your own information on
the Seattle Gay Blog
 

gay news feeds gay news readers gay rss gay
http://sgn.org/rss.xml | what is RSS? | Add to Google use Google to set up your RSS feed
SGN Calendar For Mobile Phones http://sgn.org/rssCalendarMobile.xml
SGN Calendar http://sgn.org/rssCalendar.xml

Seattle Gay News - SGN
1605 12 Ave., Ste. 31
Seattle, WA 98122

Phone 206-324-4297
Fax 206-322-7188

email: sgn2@sgn.org
website suggestions: web@sgn.org

copyright Seattle Gay News - DigitalTeamWorks 2011

USA Gay News American News American Gay News USA American Gay News United States American Lesbian News USA American Lesbian News United States USA News
Pacific Northwest News in Seattle News in Washington State News