New York, NY, June 19, 2012 - GLAAD, the nation's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) media advocacy and anti-defamation organization, today announced an official partnership with Athlete Ally, which is a leader in the movement for full equality for LGBT people in the world of athletics. Together, the groups will offer proactive Athlete Ally trainings for professional sports teams from the MLB, NBA, WNBA, NHL and NFL along with others. GLAAD and Athlete Ally founder Hudson Taylor will educate professional athletes about the importance of LGBT allyship and empower pro sports organizations to stand against homophobia and transphobia.
"This is not about politics, it's about being respectful of fans, personnel, and athletes of all levels who just happen to be LGBT," said Herndon Graddick, President of GLAAD. "Safe spaces for LGBT young people in the world of sports can be just as important as they are in the classroom. Pro athletes are some of our culture's most important role models, and we want to empower them to stand up for teamwork and respect."
"Athletes are leaders," said Athlete Ally Executive Director Hudson Taylor. "Today more than ever, professional players have the power to affirm, connect and inspire people around the world. By taking small steps based on simple ideas at the heart of sportsmanship - like treating others as you want to be treated – professional sports can unite communities and create a better and more inclusive tomorrow."
GLAAD has worked closely with Athlete Ally and Taylor, its founder, since its inception. Taylor was a three-time All American college wrestler who is one of the top pinners in NCAA history. Now he’s at the leading edge of a growing movement towards LGBT inclusion in the world of sports.
Taylor founded Athlete Ally to be a resource for athletes, coaches and fans looking to combat anti-LGBT sentiments in the world of amateur and professional sports, from neighborhood leagues to the major leagues. All visitors to the website are presented with a pledge to be a leader in educating others in the athletic community about LGBT equality: I pledge to lead my athletic community to respect and welcome all persons, regardless of their perceived or actual sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. Beginning right now, I will do my part to promote the best of athletics by making all players feel respected on and off the field.