Allyship: Becoming a Champion for Inclusion
This session will bring together a diverse contingent of professional athletes, sports figures and LGBT and ally activists discussing LGBT visibility and allyship in sports. Presenters will use their personal experiences to outline how activism and outreach through sports can foster real social change in a variety of contexts. This panel will go beyond the notion of inclusion and acceptance of LGBT athletes in sport, and move to develop an understanding of how LGBT athletes can be celebrated and how momentum can be built around them to support a social movement.
This session is part of the brand new SXsports programming at SXSW 2014.
Professional Basketball Player
Hudson Taylor, a three-time NCAA All-American wrestler at the University of Maryland is
currently a wrestling coach at Columbia University and is the founder and executive director
of Athlete Ally. Athlete Ally is a non-profit organization dedicated to encouraging athletes,
coaches, parents, fans and other members of the sports community to respect all individuals
involved in sports, regardless of perceived or actual sexual-orientation or gender identity or
Taylor’s exceptional collegiate wrestling career, marked by his is ranking among the top five
pinners in NCAA wrestling history, propelled him to found Athlete Ally. During his final season
as an NCAA All-American and team wrestling captain at The University of Maryland, Hudson
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 witnessed in locker rooms and on
playing fields across the nation. To show his solidarity with the LGBT community as a straight
ally, he wore an HRC sticker on his wrestling headgear. That single act drew thousands of
appreciative emails from closeted athletes, parents and other members of the LGBT community.
Since founding Athlete Ally, Taylor has received numerous recognition awards including
the PFLAG Straight for Equality Award and the Huffington Post’s "Greatest Person of the Day"
recognition. Earlier this year, Taylor was honored by Buick and the NCAA alongside Eunice
Kennedy Shriver and other advocates in sports as a feature story of the Buick Human Highlight
Taylor’s work is now featured in the permanent Miller Family Youth Exhibition at the Illinois
Holocaust Museum and Education Center, which aims to empower young persons to stand
as leaders against discrimination. He has worked tirelessly to build a strong contingent of
professional athlete ambassadors for his cause that includes Brendon Ayanbadejo (Baltimore
Ravens), Chris Kluwe (Minnesota Vikings), Andy Roddick (Tennis), Kenneth Faried (Denver
Nuggets), and scores more. In April 2012, Taylor was named University of Maryland Alumnus
of the Year for the school of Undergraduate Studies for his work as an LGBT rights activist.
Taylor is married to Lia Parifax and lives in New York City.