Women’s Lacrosse player Riley Caechlin of Westwood, Massachusetts is an LGBT inclusion advocate at Bridgewater State University. Here, she explains why she chose to get involved, and about her efforts to bring Athlete Ally to campus.
I jumped at the opportunity to become a campus ambassador for Athlete Ally because I want everyone involved in BSU athletics to understand what it means to be an ally. I think we have a pretty solid support system for our athletes in terms of academics and various leadership programs, but that support system is not complete if we are not making an effort support LGBT athletes. I’ve seen the way my lacrosse team has accepted gay teammates in past seasons and it was awesome! I want to make sure that every team at Bridgewater State embraces LGBT teammates the same way.
Here at Bridgewater State University we are in the early stages of building our Athlete Ally program on campus. At the end of October I began assembling a committee of student athletes interested in supporting Athlete Ally and its principles. The goal is to have at least one representative from each varsity sport. This way the athletes can take what they learn in our meetings and share it with their respective teams. Currently, we are about halfway there with eight teams represented, including women’s lacrosse, women’s basketball, volleyball, and men’s and women’s track and field. As we continue to expand our program, we will meet once a month.
Our first meeting took place at the end of January. There I introduced the program to the committee with the ‘Athlete Ally Introduction’ video. Afterwards, all of the representatives introduced themselves and talked a little bit about what made them want to join BSU Athlete Ally. We also discussed the Olympics and the P6 campaign. In between meetings, I keep the committee updated on all of the latest Athlete Ally news by posting on our BSU Athlete Ally Facebook page.
My first involvement as an ally to the LGBTQ community was back in high school with our GSA program. Since I was a kid I could never understand (and never will) why people are hateful towards the LGBT community. To me it just seems like people going out of their way to bully others for no reason. The idea that that people are discriminated against every day for being themselves is extremely upsetting. I am proud to be an ally and will continue to fight for LGBT rights until gay marriage is legal everywhere. I truly believe that it is the allies who have the power to make a difference, which is why I’m bringing Athlete Ally to Bridgewater State.