Ashland Johnson, a champion of equal rights and career advocate for LGBT equality, is joining the staff of non-profit organization Athlete Ally as its director of policy and campaigns, the organization announced today.
As director, Johnson will will be working to activate athletic communities to protect and promote LGBT equality across the country. Anti-LGBT legislation is still a threat in 2015, and continuing to highlight athlete voices will be central to maintaining the progress made in 2014. Johnson will begin her work with Athlete Ally immediately.
“As a former athlete myself, I believe that respect for your teammates and your community means respecting and honoring people’s identities,” said Johnson. “I agree that the world of sport can be a tremendous influence in changing social attitudes, and that power needs to be harnessed fully. I’m very excited to be working with Athlete Ally to accomplish that.”
Prior to joining Athlete Ally, Ashland served as Policy Counsel for the National Center for Lesbian Rights. In this role, she worked with NCLR’s Sports Project to eliminate sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex discrimination in sport. Ashland has written and presented extensively on sports inclusion, and on the intersection of sports, race, and gender.
“Our organization is growing and we are going to tackle some concerns that go beyond sport,” said Executive Director Hudson Taylor. “Ashland’s experience working on LGBT policy and sports inclusion within the greater struggle for LGBT equality is going to be essential to our success.”
Athlete Ally’s mission is to educate and activate athletic communities to eliminate homophobia and transphobia in sports and to exercise their leadership to champion LGBT equality. Founded in 2012, Athlete Ally has worked with the NBA, WNBA, and MLB on matters of respect and inclusion; led the Principle 6 campaign that convinced the International Olympic Committee to include sexual orientation in the non-discrimination clause of the Olympic Charter; and counts more than 100 college, professional, and Olympic athletes among its dedicated and active Ambassadors.