Athlete Ally is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that believes sport will change the world when it welcomes and empowers all people. As a leading national nonprofit working at the intersection of sport and LGBTQ equality, Athlete Ally works to end the structural and systemic oppression that isolates, excludes and endangers LGBTQ people in sport. The organization educates individuals and institutions to understand obstacles to inclusion for LGBTQ people and how they can build an inclusive culture within their athletic communities. Athlete Ally works to ensure sport governing bodies, teams and leagues’ adopt policies that reflect the diversity of their constituents. Athlete Ally incubates athlete activism to advance LGBTQ equality in and through sport.
As an athlete in high school and college, Hudson Taylor often observed the use of homophobic language and demeaning humor, especially in sports. Soon after enrolling at the University of Maryland, he befriended LGBT students in his theatre classes and became increasingly aware of the pain caused by homophobic behavior. Hudson, who is not gay, felt it was imperative that he confront an aspect of sports that no athlete should be proud of: sports marginalize LGBT athletes, coaches and others through systemic homophobia and transphobia. He decided to take action as a straight ally to change athletic culture for the better. To stand in solidarity with the LGBT community, Hudson wore an LGBT equality sticker from the Human Rights Campaign on his wrestling headgear in college. Though he encountered criticism from his peers, he received positive attention from the media, and received thousands of emails from parents and closeted athletes, expressing thanks and sharing their own experiences of homophobia in sports. This inspired Hudson to launch Athlete Ally.When he blogged about experiencing homophobia in collegiate sports, he received hundreds of emails from closeted athletes. In 2013, Taylor received an Emery Award for his work with Athlete Ally.
Hudson Taylor is the founder and executive director of Athlete Ally, a former wrestling coach at Columbia University and a prominent straight ally and civil rights activist of LGBT rights.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is the largest LGBT civil rights advocacy group and political lobbying organization in the United States. The organization focuses on protecting and expanding rights for LGBT individuals, most notably advocating for marriage equality, anti-discrimination and hate crimes legislation, and HIV/AIDS advocacy. The organization has a number of legislative initiatives as well as supporting resources for LGBT individuals.
Homophobia encompasses a range of negative attitudes and feelings toward homosexuality or people who are identified or perceived as being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT). It has been defined as contempt, prejudice, aversion, hatred or antipathy, may be based on irrational fear, and is often related to religious beliefs.
Athlete Ally educates athletic communities at all levels — sport governing bodies, teams, and individual athletes — to understand obstacles to inclusion for LGBTQ people in sports and how they can build inclusive communities on their teams or within their organizations. We hold trainings across the country on college campuses, with front office staff of major sports leagues and institutions like the NBA, NCAA and the MLB and with individual athletes. We have partnered with teams in major cities like Seattle,New York, and Washington DC, to host Pride Nights and raise awareness about LGBTQ issues.
Athlete Ally visits K-8, high schools, colleges, and corporate campuses to educate and empower athletes and to educate others on the value of allyship. Athlete Ally has a network of speakers ranging from its Executive Director and three-times All-American Wrestler Hudson Taylor to professional athlete ambassadors.
In the past Athlete Ally has conducted all student-athlete Keynote speeches; facilitated conversations on policies and practice with athletic department representatives; held roundtable discussions with SAAC representatives on the LGBTQ-inclusiveness of their athletic departments; held joint meetings with the LGBTQ Center on campus to discuss partnerships and more. Every campus speaking engagement is customized with a campus based on the needs and interests related to LGBTQ inclusion.
Athlete Ally campus chapters decide on and enact programming specific to their campus based on Athlete Ally’s mission. This includes hosting pride nights, giving educational workshops on LGBTQ-topics, working to adopt inclusive policies at the school and/or conference level, and advocating for anti-discriminatory policies at a city, state, regional and national level. Athlete Ally works with chapters daily to assess their campus culture to figure out appropriate programming. Athlete Ally currently has 35+ campus chapters.
Athlete Ally has a strong relationship with the National Basketball Association. The organization has conducted trainings at the NBA's Rookie Orientation Program,as well as at Junior NBA Coaches Forums.
Athlete Ally works to ensure athletic communities are as LGBTQ inclusive as they should be. The organization works closely with teams and institutions like the NCAA to develop clear and accessible policies around LGBTQ inclusion. In 2012, Athlete Ally co-authored with Dr Pat Griffin the NCAA’s first LGBTQ equality guide — Champions of Respect— for college coaches, athletes, and administrators. In 2017, Athlete Ally launched the Athletic Equality Index (AEI) to measure LGBTQ inclusion policies and practices in the NCAA’s Power Five conferences. The AEI brings the LGBTQ movement into a new era of advocacy, transparency and accountability. Institutions will no longer be able to cite a lack of data and reporting as a rationale for inaction, and will offer an industry-wide benchmark for the progress needed to achieve the full dignity and inclusion of the LGBTQ community in sport.
Athlete Ally also applies pressure to global sport governing bodies to ensure their policies around LGBTQ inclusion are existent and consistent. In 2017, the organization launched an ongoing campaign demanding that World Rugby adopt transgender-inclusive policies.
In 2015, Athlete Ally joined the #WomenInFIFA movement to push FIFA Congress to enact proposed reforms for women in soccer.
Athlete Ally created the landmark campaign, Principle 6,which successfully lobbied the International Olympic Committee to include sexual orientation in the Olympic Charter.
Athlete Ally successfully launched a global campaign calling on FIBA to overturn its discriminatory ban on players competing in hijabs.
Athlete Ally believes athlete activism should be expected and accepted. They incubate athlete activism through their Ambassador Program for athletes and sports institutions to advance LGBTQ civil rights, including mobilizing athletes and teams to voice their opposition to laws and policies that discriminate against LGBTQ people. Athlete Ally helped organize Boston sports teams to support the Mass Public Accommodations Billand worked with the NBA, NCAA, and ACC to move games and championships out of North Carolina over the passing of anti-LGBTQ law HB2. In addition, Athlete Ally partnered with transgender high school wrestler Mack Beggs to publish a PSA pushing back against the anti-trans bathroom bill introduced in Texas Special Session.
The Athlete Ally board is composed of some of the most respected and qualified individuals in sports, media, and LGBT advocacy. The board works to implement the mission and vision of Athlete Ally and develop its strategic plan.The board of directors includes Hudson Taylor, Mike Balaban, Sean Avery, Brian Ellner, Alison Grover, Laura Clise, Lia Parifax, Sam Marchiano, Frederick Raffetto, Frank Selvaggi, Robert Smith, Joe Solmonese, Mark Stephanz, Sandye Taylor, Andrew Ward, Deborah Block and Christine Quinn.
Athlete Ally also includes an advisory board of athletes, media, academics and other sports professionals that help drive the organization's programmatic work. The advisory board includes:
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is a non-profit organization which regulates athletes of 1,268 North American institutions and conferences. It also organizes the athletic programs of many colleges and universities in the United States and Canada, and helps more than 480,000 college student-athletes who compete annually in college sports. The organization is headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana.
LGBT, or GLBT, is an initialism that stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender. In use since the 1990s, the term is an adaptation of the initialism LGB, which was used to replace the term gay in reference to the LGBT community beginning in the mid-to-late 1980s. Activists believed that the term gay community did not accurately represent all those to whom it referred.
GLSEN is a United States-based education organization working to create safe and inclusive K-12 schools. Founded in 1990 in Boston, Massachusetts, GLSEN's mission states the organization seeks to end discrimination, harassment, and bullying based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression in K-12 schools. In recognition that a more inclusive name was needed, the organization no longer uses its former full name and is commonly known today as GLSEN. The organization is headquartered in New York City and an office of public policy based in Washington, D.C. GLSEN focuses its efforts on the support and opportunities provided by the four pillars of safety, respect, health, and leadership. Through programs, research, policy, training, and resource development work, GLSEN has built a network of 39 GLSEN Chapters in 26 states, 20,000 educators, and more than 8,000 registered student clubs.
PFLAG is the United States' first and largest organization uniting families and allies with people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer (LGBTQ). PFLAG National is the national organization, which provides support to the PFLAG network of local chapters. PFLAG has nearly 400 chapters across the United States, with more than 200,000 members and supporters.
A gay–straight alliance (GSA) is a student-led or community-based organization, found in middle schools and high schools as well as colleges and universities, primarily in the United States and Canada, that is intended to provide a safe and supportive environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) children, teenagers, and youth as well as their cisgender heterosexual allies. A gay–straight alliance may also be known by another name, such as gender–sexuality alliance. In middle schools and high schools, GSAs are overseen by a responsible teacher. The first GSAs were established in the 1980s.
A straight ally or heterosexual ally is a heterosexual and cisgender person who supports equal civil rights, gender equality, LGBT social movements, and challenges homophobia, biphobia and transphobia. Despite this, some people who meet this definition do not identify themselves as straight allies. A straight ally believes that LGBT people face discrimination and thus are socially and economically disadvantaged. They aim to use their position as heterosexual or cisgender individuals in a society focused on heteronormativity to fight homophobia, biphobia and transphobia.
The Queer Youth Network (QYN) was a national non-profit-making organisation that was run by and for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) young people and is based in the United Kingdom. It had an aim to represent the needs and views of younger LGBT people by campaigning for greater visibility and equal rights, as well as providing general support and information to those who are just coming out or who are experiencing homophobia.
GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBTQ Equality (GLMA) is an international organization of approximately 1,000 lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and ally (LGBT) healthcare professionals and students of all disciplines, including physicians, advanced practice nurses, physician assistants, nurses, behavioral health specialists, researchers and acamedicians, and their supporters in the United States and internationally. Founded in 1981 as the American Association of Physicians for Human Rights, GLMA "came out of the closet" and changed its name in 1994 to the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association. GLMA changed its name again in 2012 to GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBT Equality, later adding the Q to the tagline in 2018.
OutRight Action International (OutRight) is a LGBTIQ human rights non-governmental organization that addresses human rights violations and abuses against lesbian, gay, bisexual, intersex, and transgender people. OutRight Action International documents human rights discrimination and abuses based on their sexual orientation and gender identity or expression in partnership with activists, advocates, media, NGOs and allies on a local, regional, national and international level. OutRight Action International holds consultative status with ECOSOC.
The Rider Broncs are the athletic teams of Rider University, a private nonsectarian university in Lawrenceville, New Jersey, United States. The school is a Division I member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), and its athletes compete in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC). Rider is the only member that is not a Catholic institution. For wrestling only, Rider is an affiliate member of the Mid-American Conference (MAC).
Susan Anne "Sam" Marchiano is an American television sportscaster, documentarian and activist who is adjunct faculty at the NYU Tisch Sports Institute for Sports Management, Media and Business. In addition to teaching Leagues and Governing Organizations and Leadership for Crisis Situations, Marchiano served as Research Chair for NYU's 2016 Social Responsibility of Sports Conference. She is a Founding Member of the Board of Directors of the Equality League, a non profit launching in spring 2018.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and other non-heterosexual or non-cisgender (LGBTQ+) athletes have faced intolerance due to heteronormativity within sports culture.
In the recent history of the expansion of LGBT rights, the issue of teaching various aspects of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender life and existence to younger children has become a heated point of debate, with proponents stating that the teaching of LGBT-affirming topics to children will increase a sense of visibility for LGBT students and reduce incidences of homophobia or closeted behavior for children, while opponents to the pedagogical discussion of LGBT people to students are afraid that such discussions would encourage children to violate or question religiously or ideologically motivated rejections of non-heterosexuality in private settings. Much of the religious and/or social conservative aversion to non-heterosexuality and the broaching of the topic to juveniles tends to occur in regions with a historic demographic dominance or majority of adherents to an Abrahamic religion, particularly the majority of denominations of Christianity, Islam and Judaism, while those who were raised in those religions but advocate or take more favorable/nuanced positions on LGBT issues or are LGBT themselves may often be ostracized from more socially conservative congregations over the issue.
Equality Florida is a political advocacy group which advocates for civil rights and protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents of the U.S. state of Florida. It has a non-profit arm, "Equality Florida Institute." It was established in 1997 and has been headed since inception by executive director Nadine Smith. Smith, a former award-winning journalist at the Tampa Tribune, served as one of the four national co-chairs on the 1993 March on Washington. After graduating high school, Smith attended the Air Force Academy, but left after the Don't Ask Don't Tell policy in 1993.Smith began her role as an activist in college, 1986, and went on to serve on the founding board of the International Gay and Lesbian Youth Organisation. Smith also led the movement to enact the St. Petersburg Human Rights Ordinance which was passed in January 2002. This law originally protected those whom resided in St. Petersburg, Florida from discrimination no matter their sexual orientation, and provided them with equal rights to public accommodation, housing, employment, and as of 2016, wage theft. Now this protection has expanded to all of Pinellas County.
You Can Play is a social activism campaign dedicated to the eradication of homophobia in sports, centered on the slogan, "If you can play, you can play." The campaign was launched on March 4, 2012, by its three co-founders: Patrick Burke, Brian Kitts, and Glenn Witman. The campaign was precipitated by the death of Brendan Burke, son of Brian and brother of Patrick. You Can Play is an official partner of the National Hockey League. The current executive director of the organization is Wade Davis.
True Colors United is an American nonprofit organization addressing the issue of youth homelessness in the United States. Founded in 2008 by Cyndi Lauper, the organization focuses on the unique experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth, who make up 40% of the homeless youth population in America.
Akil Sadiki Patterson attended Frederick High School, Maryland, where he was an All-State Athlete in Football, Wrestling, and Track & Field as a shot-putter. At the California University of Pennsylvania he was a two time Division-II All American. In 2006, he graduated with a B.S. in Sports Management.