Athlete Ally: Overcoming Homophobia in Athletics
Featuring Hudson Taylor and the opening of the "Fearless" exhibit with artist Jeff Sheng
Tuesday, October 1st, 2013. 7PM, TRAC Gym.
Sponsored by ECCE Speaker Series, Recreational Sports, UIS Athletics, UIS LGBTQA Resource Office. The Opening Event for Queertober at UIS, Go.UIS.EDU/Queertober
Hudson Taylor and Jeff Sheng will provide presentations with a joint question and answer session to follow. Hudson Taylor will discuss what it means to be an ally to the LGBTQ community in the context of sports and how professional athletes can overcome homophobia and transphobia. Jeff Sheng will explain the creation of the Fearless exhibit while providing context to the lives of out LGBTQ high school and college athletes. A reception will follow. The Fearless exhibit will be featured on campus during the month of October in the TRAC atrium.
Hudson Taylor - http://www.athleteally.org
Hudson Taylor founded Athlete Ally in January of 2011 and is a three-time NCAA All-American wrestler. An athlete all his life, Hudson experienced demeaning humor in high school and college athletics, but befriended LGBT people when studying theater and Interactive Performance Art at the University of Maryland. Seeing the juxtaposition between the theatre department and the locker room, Hudson felt it was imperative that he confront a side of sports that no athlete should be proud of: sports marginalizes LGBT athletes, coaches and others through systemic homophobia and transphobia. Hudson decided that he could no longer watch from the sidelines as his athletic culture isolated and segregated LGBT athletes and betrayed the integrity and diversity at the heart of athletics.
When Hudson wore an LGBT equality sticker from the Human Rights Campaign on his wrestling headgear, he encountered criticism from his peers, but received positive attention from the media. Following his presence in the media, Hudson received hundreds of emails from parents and closeted athletes. This experience inspired him to found this non-for-profit organization, with the mission of educating, encouraging and empowering straight athlete allies to combat homophobia and transphobia in sports. Hudson is currently an assistant coach of the Columbia University wrestling team.
Jeff Sheng - http://www.fearlessproject.org
Jeff Sheng is an American artist and photographer. He was a visiting guest professor of photography at Harvard University in 2011. He taught as a visiting assistant professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara for the departments of Studio Art and Asian American studies between 2007-2012. Jeff Sheng and the Fearless exhibit documents high school and collegiate athletes who openly self-identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender and are "out to their predominantly straight teammates and coaches. It features photos of the athletes with accompanying text written by the athletes. Exhibitions include over 50 high schools and colleges. In 2009, he was awarded a grant to exhibit at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Other venues have included ESPN headquarters in 2008, the 2009 International LGBT Human Rights Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, and Nike World Headquarters in 2010.
His recent photo series, "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," featuring images of closeted service members in the U.S. Military, was widely referenced by the national press during the repeal of the policy. His photography has been published in the New York Times Magazine, Newsweek, and Time Magazine, and he has been profiled by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, NPR, the BBC, CNN, and by ABC World News Tonight.