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Hudson Taylor presents: Allyship: Becoming a Champion for Inclusion on Your Campus - LIB 100 & 201 Approved

Hudson Taylor, founder Athlete Ally

Hudson Taylor, founder Athlete Ally

Date and Time:

Thursday, October 4, 2012
7:00 PM - 8:15 PM

Location:

  • Kirkhof Center » RM 2250 GRAND RIVER ROOM

Description:

Hudson Taylor Vimeo: http://vimeo.com/38924637# During his final season as an NCAA All-American and team wrestling captain at The University of Maryland, Hudson Taylor decided that his closest-held values as a leader and student-athlete required that he stand up and say something about the homophobia and transphobia he experienced in locker rooms and on playing fields across the nation. Like many college students, he had seen close friends struggle with the coming out process, often inhibited by the fear they had about disclosing their sexual orientation. I could no longer watch from the sidelines as this culture isolated and segregated LGBT athletes and fans and betrayed the integrity and diversity at the heart of athletics, he said. To show his solidarity as a straight ally, he wore an LGBT rights sticker on his wrestling headgear. That single act drew turned a lot of heads. Spectators, opponents, coaches and others wondered if Hudson was making a statement about his own sexuality. It never seemed odd to him that an All-American college wrestler couldnt also be a very effective LGBT rights advocate. It only seemed odd to him that more people couldnt stand up for the rights of others. Athletics should be a safe space for everybody, Hudson said. Its really just that simple. I believe athletic communities are ready to deal honestly with this issue. Thousands of appreciative emails from closeted athletes, parents and other members of the LGBT community began pouring in. Hudson came to realize a much deeper realitythat allies willing to stick their necks out are an integral part of eliminating hate and prejudice. He thought about how much empowerment could come if more people stood up as allies for their friends and peers who are LGBT. Hudson went on to form Athlete Ally, a nonprofit sports organization that calls on athletes, coaches, school administrators, parents and fans to champion respect and inclusion at every level of athletics. He has spoken at dozens of high schools and collegesto faculty, students, coaches and administrators. The organizations website at www.athleteally.org has become a true resource not only for LGBT athletes, but also for athletic departments of all levels looking to combat homophobia. More than 4,000 student-athletes have signed the pledge at the site to be allies. Hudson recently received the PFLAG (Parents, Friends and Family of Lesbians and Gays) Straight for Equality Award and was named Greatest Person of the Day in 2011 by the Huffington Post. Also in 2011, he was honored by Buick and the NCAA with a film short highlighting his educational efforts. When hes not touring and speaking, his day job is as a wrestling coach at Columbia University in New York City.

Contact:

Bryan Beran, greeksa@gvsu.edu Tom Coy, coyt@gvsu.edu

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