By Ken Reed

Athlete Ally is a non-profit founded to raise awareness and homophobia in sports. It’s an organization and cause that’s deeply needed in a sports culture that too often falls back on “macho man” ethics and mentalities.

Athlete Ally was founded by a wrestler named Hudson Taylor.  Taylor has been joined by athletes and coaches at all levels, including Brendon Ayanbadejo of the Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens, Chris Kluwe of the Minnesota Vikings, Scott Fujita of the Cleveland Browns, and Connor Barwin of the Houston Texans.  Kenneth Faried, of the Denver Nuggets, recently became the first NBA player to join forces with Athlete Ally.

Athlete Ally’s stated mission is to encourage “all individuals involved in sports to respect every member of their communities, regardless of perceived or actual sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, and to lead others in doing the same. Athlete Ally provides social advocacy campaigns, on-campus trainings and practical tools including resources to locate and learn about allied athletes, coaches, teams, athletic clubs and sports-based advocacy projects around the country.”

According to the organization’s website, Athlete Ally is “any person — regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity — who takes a stand against homophobia and transphobia in sports and brings the message of respect, inclusion and equality to their athletic community.  Athlete Allies include competitive and recreational athletes as well as coaches, parents, teachers, league officials, sports fans, other sports participants and advocates.”

Faried recently said, “Becoming an Athlete Ally gives me the opportunity to spread a message of inclusiveness throughout the NBA and our country.  I have two moms and I love them both very much.  I respect, honor and support them in every way.  The bond I have with them has made me realize that I want all members of the LGBT community – whether they are parents, players, coaches or fans – to feel welcome in the NBA and in all of our communities.”

Here’s hoping this movement takes off.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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