Who is the latest LGBT ally in sports? A Polish boxer.

Poland is a country with minimal LGBT protections, and yet it has a heavyweight in its corner.  Dariusz Michalczewski, a former light heavyweight world champion, has come out as an ally to the LGBT community.

Michalczewski recently posed with a sign that read, in Polish, “I am an ally of LGBT people, because I want to live in a country where my gay friends are not discriminated against.” The photo was in connection with one of Poland's largest LGBT organizations, Shoulder to Shoulder on Equality — LGBT and Friends.

The fact that Michalczewski is a champion in boxing, rich, white, heterosexual, makes his empathy even more compelling. He has sparred with anti-LGBT leaders, calling them to love their children who may be LGBT.

In an op-ed for the New York Times, Slawomir Sierakowski writes:

Mr. Michalczewski is both a surprising advocate for gay rights and the perfect choice for the role: He is white, heterosexual, Catholic, rich, professionally successful and widely popular, and thus more likely to persuade conservatives than a liberal intellectual or politician. A typical young man from an economically depressed town that doesn’t have a single movie theater but has five churches might not get a chance to read a progressive manifesto. The opinions of a legendary boxer who grew up under similar circumstances, meanwhile, might prove thought-provoking.

And Mr. Michalczewski has guts: The popular sportsman did not limit himself to one photograph. He supports not only homosexuals’ right to enter into civil unions, but also their right to adopt children. In one TV appearance, he directly confronted right-wing politicians, by asking: “What if your daughter were a lesbian? What if your son were gay? If it were my child, I would love him very much. And I would support him in everything, because he’d be my child!”

Read the full story at the New York Times.

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