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Hudson Taylor, founder and executive director of Athlete Ally and San Antonio Stars player and Ally ambassador Jayne Appel will lead a post-game discussion.

Athlete Ally teams up with Stars to promote equality in sports

QSanAntonio, June 6, 2014

Athlete Ally, a non-profit that strives to encourage equality in sports, and the San Antonio Stars are teaming up for a special night on June 13 at the AT&T Center that includes a basketball game against the Seattle Storm and a post-game discussion.

Hudson Taylor, founder and executive director of Athlete Ally and San Antonio Stars player and Ally ambassador Jayne Appel will lead a post-game discussion about the work being done to make sports safe and inclusive for everyone and what can be done to help put an end to anti-LGBT bias, bullying and discrimination in sports.

Taylor , a former three-time NCAA All-American wrestler, says he founded Athlete Ally in 2010 because he got tired of his close friends struggling with the coming out process, often inhibited by the fear they had about disclosing their sexual orientation.

As a guest lecturer and keynote speaker at schools and colleges across the country, Taylor emphasizes the athlete’s responsibility to lead the fight for respect and inclusion in sports.

He was featured on ESPN as a leading LGBT ally and called “the most exciting wrestler in the world” by Sports Illustrated. In March 2011, PFLAG awarded Taylor with the “Straight for Equality in Sports” Award at their Third Annual Gala in New York City.

Taylor also serves serves on the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) Sport’s Project Advisory Board. He is authoring a book entitled, "The Athlete Ally: Empowering a New Era of Leadership and Inclusion in Sports."

Last month, the WNBA became the first professional sports organization to market their league to the LGBT community. In doing market research, the WNBA discovered the LGBT community and lesbians in particular make up a significant portion of its fan base.

The campaign (#ProudToPlay), includes the debut of a new website (WNBA.com/Pride) and having league teams participate in local pride festivals and parades and working with advocacy groups to raise awareness.

"For us it's a celebration of diversity and inclusion and recognition of an audience that has been with us very passionately," WNBA President Laurel Richie told the Associated Press.

"For a long time they were happy to have those lesbians fill those seats in the stands, but not willing for a long time to embrace the fan base," Pat Griffin, professor emeritus in the social justice education program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, told the AP.

"I attribute that to the homophobia, fear that somehow acknowledging the fan base would encourage other fans not to go to games. What they've learned is that the fan doesn't keep other people from going to games."

Stars Athlete Ally Night, Friday, June 13 at the AT&T Center. Basketball game: San Antonio Stars versus Seattle Storm. Purchase a ticket for that night and join in a post-game discussion after the game with Hudson Taylor, founder and executive director of Athlete Ally, and San Antonio Stars and Athlete Ally Ambassador Jayne Appel. A portion of the proceeds from ticket purchases will be donated to Athlete Ally. Tickets start at $15 and must be purchased by contacting Janelle Diaz at 210-444-5070 or jdiaz@attcenter.com.