Today Athlete Ally welcomes National Women’s Soccer League player Mandy Laddish, professional triathlete Jesse Thomas, the UK’s first female pro football freestyler Liv Cooke, and US National Quidditch Team player Kedzie Teller, as Pro Ambassadors.
They join more than 145 other professional athletes as Athlete Ally Ambassadors. Athlete Ally Ambassadors help the organization promote lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) inclusion and equality in sports and under the law, by speaking out to their peers and fan bases.
“Our Professional Ambassadors are the heart of our work here at Athlete Ally,” said Hudson Taylor, Athlete Ally Founder and Executive Director. “We count on our Ambassadors to bring the message of LGBT inclusion in sport to their peers and fans, which has a tremendous impact on LGBT equality. We are so excited to welcome Mandy, Jesse, Liv, and Kedzie, to the Athlete Ally team. We know they will only make our work stronger!”
Mandy Laddish is a Midfielder for FC Kansas City, and a former University of Notre Dame Team Women’s Soccer Team member. “I am honored to be an athlete ally and a part of an organization that celebrates individual equality and diversity in sport,” said Laddish. “I believe love has no boundaries and that everyone deserves happiness. Together we have the power to cultivate change and foster inclusion for all.” (Profile & Photo: http://www.athleteally.org/allies/mandy-laddish/)
Jesse Thomas is a professional triathlete. He started in endurance athletics as an Oregon State Track and Cross Country Champion, and NCAA All-American and School Record Holder in the 3000m Steeplechase at Stanford University. “During my lifelong pursuit of sport, I’ve witnessed various levels of disrespect, homophobia and transphobia from colleagues and influencers,” Thomas said. “I’m happy to show public support for the LGBTQ community and stand with them to promote equality and inclusion, regardless of sexual orientation.” (Profile & Photo: http://www.athleteally.org/allies/jesse-thomas/)
Liv Cooke is the UK’s first female football (soccer) freestyler. “I’m a strong believer that action is the first step towards achieving a goal and Athlete Ally is taking action for equality in sport,” Cooke said. “I’m honored to be a part of this movement.” (Profile & Photo: http://www.athleteally.org/allies/liv-cooke/)
Kedzie Teller is an Austin, Texas -based quidditch player with a background in soccer and Division I collegiate track. He was selected for and won gold with both iterations of the US National Quidditch Team (Oxford 2012 and Vancouver 2014), launched a city program in Boston that claimed the 2015 northeast regional title. He now plays for the 2015 national runner-up, Lone Star Q.C. “Sports have always been at the center of my world, but I struggled for years growing up, feeling that my sexual orientation made me less of an athlete,” Teller said. “Being an ambassador, I want to help remind athletes everywhere that they don’t ever have to overcompensate or hide. They should be proud of who they are and let their love of the game speak for itself. We’re never alone.” (Profile & Photo: http://www.athleteally.org/allies/kedzie-teller/)
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 2011, Athlete Ally has worked with the NBA, WNBA, and MLB on matters of LGBT respect and inclusion; led the Principle 6 campaign that helped convince the International Olympic Committee to include sexual orientation in the non-discrimination clause of the Olympic Charter; and counts more than 145 college, professional, and Olympic athletes among its dedicated and active Ambassadors.