By: Shannon Ralph
Some days, in the struggle against homophobia, it is easy to fall into an “us” versus “them” mentality. It is tempting, as gay people, to pit ourselves against straight people. Straight people don’t get it. Why don’t straight people understand that discrimination against anyone is a detriment to everyone? Straight people don’t care about gay rights. Correct? Umm…not so fast.
Ben Cohen and Hudson Taylor are two world-class athletes who have dedicated themselves to the issues of homophobia and bullying in sports. Hudson is a world-class English rugby star. Taylor is a three-time college all-American wrestler and assistant wrestling coach at Columbia. If I were to try to come up with two of the manliest, most red-blooded, uber-masculine, testosterone-heavy, pheromone-filled-sweaty-stud sports out there, rugby and wrestling would certainly top my list.
So why are two straight—that’s right, straight—male athletes in two of the most macho sports played today dedicating themselves to wiping out gay bullying in sports? Quite simply, because bullying is wrong. Homophobia is corrupt. Anti-gay slurs and actions are reprehensible. These are two straight men to “get it”.
Taylor, who attracted national attention when he wore a Human Rights Campaign sticker on his wrestling headgear, said, “In a lot of people’s minds, it’s not a straight person’s issue. That’s an obstacle that has to be overcome.”
The world needs more men like Cohen and Taylor. Gay allies who speak out simply because the alternative is unacceptable.