New York (September 16, 2019) – Today, Athlete Ally announced that Minnesota United FC player Collin Martin will be honored at the Sixth Annual Athlete Ally Action Awards. Athlete Ally is a nonprofit organization focused on fostering inclusive athletic environments and mobilizing the athletic community to champion LGBTQ equality. The awards ceremony, with additional honorees to be announced shortly, will take place on Tuesday, November 12th at the New World Stages in New York City.
On June 29, 2018, Collin Martin became the only openly gay, active Major League Soccer player and the only out gay man in any of the big five American sports leagues or any top-division professional men’s national soccer league. In his historic coming out post on Twitter in advance of his team’s Pride night, Collin thanked them for “their unconditional support of who I am.” He also spoke to countless closeted athletes and fans, telling them:
“I want to take this moment to encourage others who play sports professionally or otherwise to have confidence that sport will welcome them wholeheartedly. June is Pride month, and I am proud to be Playing for Pride, and and to be playing as an out gay man.”
Collin was one of hundreds of soccer players participating in Playing for Pride, an initiative started by fellow soccer player Austin da Luz to mobilize pro soccer players to support Athlete Ally’s work to end homophobia and transphobia in sports throughout Pride month. His involvement was especially meaningful to him, and he wanted to tell the world why.
“That was the big inspiration for me in the first place,” he told Pioneer Press. “For me, it was important to show why I was Playing for Pride.”
Since coming out, Collin has worked with Athlete Ally as a Pro Ambassador, using his platform to speak to student athletes, fellow players and the media about the need to root out homophobia and transphobia in sport and in society.
“Colin is a true trailblazer for LGBTQ athletes,” said Hudson Taylor, Executive Director of Athlete Ally. “His dedication to proudly telling his story and being his full self as a professional athlete, and as the only active, out MLS player, is incredibly inspiring. Thanks to out athletes like him, more LGBTQ athletes are likely to come out, and more straight players are likely to step up as allies and speak out for a more inclusive sport community.”
“I’m honored to accept this award from Athlete Ally,” said Collin. “Being one of the first LGBTQ athletes in a sport can be daunting, but knowing that I was joining a global community of athletes and supporters made all the difference. I look forward to working with Athlete Ally to help pave the way for other LGBTQ athletes who dream of playing the sport they love without having to hide who they are.”
To purchase tickets to the Awards, click here.
About Athlete Ally
Athlete Ally believes sport will change the world when it welcomes and empowers all people. As a leading national nonprofit working at the intersection of sport and LGBTQ equality, Athlete Ally works to end the structural and systemic oppression that isolates, excludes and endangers LGBTQ people in sport. We educate individuals and institutions to understand obstacles to inclusion for LGBTQ people and how they can build an inclusive culture within their athletic communities. We work to ensure sport governing bodies, teams and leagues adopt policies that reflect the diversity of their constituents. We incubate athlete activism to advance LGBTQ equality in and through sport.
The Sixth Annual Athlete Ally Action awards are made possible due to generous support, to date, from the National Basketball Association/Women’s Basketball Association (NBA/WNBA), HBO, Warner Media, Gatorade, Major League Soccer, Credit Suisse, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA), TransPerfect, MillerCoors, and Tito’s Vodka in addition to individual supporters and other corporate support.
Learn more about the Action Awards here.
Press Inquiries: Joanna Hoffman, [email protected]