Magazine article Out

Mission Possible

Magazine article Out

Mission Possible

Article excerpt

FORMER COLLEGE WRESTLER HUDSUN TAYLOR FIGHTS HOMOPHOBIA IN SPORTS.

While religion pervades the households of many Americans, Hudson Taylor experienced it on quite a different level. His great-great-great grandfather, James Hudson Taylor, was a Christian missionary in 19th-century China. Historians say he was responsible for the conversion of more Christians than anyone since the apostle Paul.

Now Taylor is on a conversion mission of his own. In 2010, as a star wrestler in his senior year at the University of Maryland, he put a Human Rights Campaign sticker on his headgear to take a quiet stand against homophobic language in sports. Since then, he has started Athlete Ally, a nonprofit organization encouraging high school and college athletes, coaches, and athletic departments to pledge to fight homophobia.

"There are a lot of ways you can be an ally, but for what I'm aiming at in sports, it's a pretty simple equation: maki ng the sports community more respectful simply by being conscious of your words," he says.

Taylor's fiancée, Lia Alexandra Mandaglio, is strongly behind his advocacy· h was she who encouraged Taylor to wear the HRC sticker, helping him surmount his initial concern about what his teammates might think.

"That was one of the major obstacles that I had to overcome. If somebody thinks I'm gay, and it's a negative thing to them, how is that enough of a fear when you could potentially save somebody's life or make someone feel comfortable joining an athletic team? …

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