Why is it Important to Distinguish LGBTQ+ Athletes?

Being a mix of a theatre major and a Division I wrestler at the University of Maryland, Hudson Taylor had a unique perspective on LGBTQ+ respect and inclusion in these two very different worlds. He gained national media attention when he decided to wear an LGBTQ+ equality sticker on his wrestling headgear to confront the marginalization of LGBTQ+ people in sport during his time at the University of Maryland. This experience ultimately drove him to start “Athlete Ally,” an organization whose mission is to “end the rampant homophobia and transphobia in sport and to activate the athletic community to exercise their leadership to champion LGBTQ+ equality.”

A former Division I basketball athlete, attorney and equity and inclusion strategist, Ashland Johnson’s past experiences all combined to found The Inclusion Playbook. The Inclusion Playbook is a sports impact project led with the goal of “empowering social change agents to transform communities in and through sports.” In 2016, Ashland was named as one of the 40 best LGBTQ+ lawyers under 40 by the National LGBT Bar Association. Ashland has also worked in numerous professional sports leagues such as the NBA and the NFL to strengthen their policies and programs surrounding inclusion, race, gender, and law.

In this video, both Ashland and Hudson discuss the response to the question some ask: why do we have to single out the LGBTQ+ community? Ashland states that oftentimes, many organizations are providing resources, so just taking the time to read and understand those resources that are handed to you is a crucial step. Hudson goes on to discuss how teams are more successful when they are diverse. He concludes by stating that when we create an environment where LGBTQ+ athletes cannot be their full, authentic selves, we are hurting their athletic ability as well.

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