Featured events

7-9 September 2012
Brussels Games

Brussels Gay Sports will offer a weekend of fun and fairplay in the capital of Europe, with volleyball, swimming, badminton, and tennis, as well as fitness and hiking.

Learn more HERE.
26-28 October 2012
Bern, Switzerland

The success of the first edition of the QueergamesBern proved the need for an LGBT multisport event in Switzerland. This year will be even bigger, with badminton, bowling, running, walking, floorball.

Learn more HERE.
17-20 January 2013
Sin City Shootout
Las Vegas
The 7th Sin City Shootout will feature softball, ice hockey, tennis, wrestling, basketball, dodgeball, bodybuilding and basketball.

Learn more HERE.

13-16 June 2013
IGLFA Euro Cup
After this year's edition in Budapest at the EuroGames, the IGLFA Euro Cup heads to Dublin for 2013, hosted by the Dublin Devils and the Dublin Phoenix Tigers.

Learn more HERE.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Athlete Ally featured in essay highlighting the distance sports has to travel with regard to homophobia

Pete Redington offers an essay in Massachussetts' Valley Advocate on the Kobe Bryant incident, and the responses to homophobia in sport from athletes, including Hudson Taylor's Athlete Ally scheme.

It also takes courage for straight athletes to stand up against homophobia. A new organization, Athlete Ally (athleteally.com), in supporting members of the sports community who want to "take proactive steps to end homophobia in sports," is doing just that.

"When we inspire teams and athletic departments to commit to a new standard of athletic integrity," states the organization's founder, Hudson Taylor, "we will change the environment in locker rooms and on playing fields."

Now working as Columbia University's wrestling coach, Taylor is a recently graduated "Division I three-time All-American wrestler & [who] currently ranks among the top five pinners in NCAA history."

But, despite his personal athletic accomplishments, the University of Maryland alum is best known for wearing "a Human Rights Campaign sticker on his wrestling headgear & to show solidarity," he said, "with the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community."

Taylor, who began as an undergraduate theater major, experienced two very different sides of campus life with regard to the acceptance, or lack thereof, of his school's gay students. "Pretty much once a month, one of my friends, one of my classmates in theater, would come out. It would just be a very wonderful occasion," he told Doug Merlino. "Then a few hours later & in the locker room with teammates, arguably my best friends ... to hear them use that homophobic and derogatory language all of a sudden affected me a lot."

So Taylor decided to do something about it. He wore a Human Rights Campaign sticker during his wrestling matches.

The overwhelming encouragement he received convinced him to do more. "I was contacted by OutSports.com, and did this interview with them about why I put the sticker on," Taylor remembers. "I got hundreds and hundreds of emails from just that interview. [Mostly] ... from young, closeted athletes who didn't feel safe in this space, and I was crying reading a lot of them."

At his website, gay rights supporters are encouraged to sign the Athlete Ally Pledge. For Taylor, it's the first step in creating a more tolerant sports community. "I'd also like to make a database from the pledge of safe spaces in sports," he explains, "so if a football team in Miami signs the pledge, I'd like a young LGBT kid to know that they can play football in Miami because it's an open environment."

Taylor is well aware that the odds are stacked against him. Not many well-known athletes have allied themselves with the fight for gay rights. But Taylor remains hopeful of a changing sports community nonetheless.

Read the full essay HERE.

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