Hudson Taylor is a wrestler for the University of Maryland. He's ranked 3rd in the nation in his weight class. He wants to be a lawyer, and maybe run for office, but he isn't your basic, run of the mill athlete.
He is a openly straight ally of the LGBT community. He used to wear an HRC [Human Rights Campaign] sticker on his headgear when he wrestled--though he stopped when that became more of a topic than his athletic prowess--and he is an outspoken proponent of both LGBT and feminist rights.
"For me and my generation, [LGBT rights] is a pressing issue. I believe that whatever history I'm a part of, I'm responsible for. If I feel something is unjust or unequal, I feel a responsibility to do something about it."
And he isn't just talk, planning his spin for a possible political office run down the line. At twenty-three, he is a monthly donor to the HRC, and he works passionately to counteract the aura of homophobia that pervades sports by talking about gay rights in interviews and discussing the issues important to the LGBT community with teammates, despite the discomfort it might bring.
"It's tough being a college athlete. Guys like to bring each other down and use hurtful words. But I think you need to be conscious of your thoughts, words and actions."
While there aren't many sports that are "gay tolerant"--a look at the recent Olympics and the topic of Johnny Weir versus Evan Lysacek is a prime example--wrestling, and wrestlers face even more stigma. With the outfits wrestlers wear, and the opponents grabbing each other, it can seem very homoerotic to some. Taylor says this often leads some wrestlers, and other athletes, to feel the need to "reaffirm to others their quote, unquote, ‘masculinity,' and to show and strut their bravado." Hudson Taylor loves his teammates, but he isn't afraid to speak up when he hears one of them utter anything that might demean the gay community.
"A common way to degrade a teammate is to call them a ‘fag. This is not unique to wrestling, but a common discourse for many male sports teams. It's important to address it publicly and say something in front of the team."
His passion for gay rights doesn't come from having gay friends and witnessing the difficulty with which they must navigate through every day life; he just knows that discrimination, against anyone is wrong. The two maids of honor for his upcoming wedding to Lia Alexandra Mandaglio are lesbians, but he doesn't have a close gay male friend, and doesn't know of any college wrestlers who are gay. He, however, has been as gay on an Internet discussion forum for his pro-LGBT views.
Taylor Hudson is the future of the LGBT community, when our leaders don't necessarily need to be L, G, B or T, but simply human, and capable of understanding that no one is equal until we are all equal. i look forward to hearing more about Taylor Hudson and what he can do, and will do, as a pro-LGBT, feminist, lawyer, politician, artist, speaker. Human.
To read more about Taylor Hudson, and he really is quite interesting, go HERE