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NEW YORK (August 11, 2016) — Today Athlete Ally welcomes Middle Distance Runner/Transgender Athlete and Advocate, Ricki Coughlin, Olympic Rower, Caryn Davies, USA Swimming National Champion, Tom Luchsinger, National Steeplechase Champion and Olympian, Billy Nelson and USA Wheelchair Basketball Player/Former Bodybuilder, Kayden Peterson-Craig.
They join more than 150 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 amplify Athlete Ally’s messages of inclusion to their respective sport’s fans and peers,” said Hudson Taylor, Athlete Ally Founder and Executive Director. “We are fortunate to have such an incredibly diverse and impressive group of athletes and activists.”
Ricki Coughlin is an Australian middle distance runner, transgender athlete and advocate. “I particularly hope to continue to reach out to LGBTI children and youth, to assure them that they have a place in sport, school culture and a valued place in our wider community. My message is one of hope, kindness and inclusivity and what that does for us when we receive this – and offer it too.”
(Profile & Photo: http://www.athleteally.org/allies/ricki-coughlan/)
Caryn Davies holds two gold medals and one silver Olympic medal and holds the distinction of being Harvard’s most decorated Olympian. “An athlete who feels ostracized for her orientation or identity cannot perform at her peak. In building an accepting athletic community, we are also creating a faster, higher and stronger group of athletes.”
(Profile & Photo: http://www.athleteally.org/allies/caryn-davies/)
Tom Luchsinger is a USA Swimming National Champion and was the ACC Swimmer of the year in 2013. “I have an evil cackle of a laugh. It’s loud and it sounds like I have a plan to take over the world. After I came out, one of my teammates cracked a joke that resulted in the production of this borderline obnoxious happy sound. She looked at me sideways, smiled and said while giggling, ‘I’ve never heard you laugh like that! I really like it! It makes me laugh!’ Right then, I realized how much of myself I was hiding—my teammates had never actually heard me laugh. I’m proud to be a Pro Ambassador for Athlete Ally, encouraging individuals to live (and laugh) authentically.”
(Profile & Photo: http://www.athleteally.org/allies/tom-luchsinger/)
Billy Nelson is a National Steeplechase Champion and Olympian “I was immediately attracted to what Athlete Ally stands for the minute I learned about it. I am honored to be a Pro Ambassador and use my stance as an athlete to help promote equality in the world of sports. Nobody, on or off the field, should experience any amount of inequality based on their basic human right to choose who to love. I have always tried to use my athletic platform to speak up for those who feel voiceless and I am happy we can stand together to promote acceptance and discourage discrimination in the world of athletics.”
(Profile & Photo: http://www.athleteally.org/allies/billy-nelson/)
Kayden Peterson-Craig plays in the National Wheelchair Basketball Association and also competed in Bodybuilding, “As a Gay trans disabled man I feel it is important to continue to advance the visibility of LGBT athletics to show that we all have a place in sports. We all can do it. No matter what our differences are. Everyone deserves a chance to become a champion and strive to be their best!”
(Profile & Photo: http://www.athleteally.org/allies/kayden-peterson-craig/)
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 150 college, professional, and Olympic athletes among its dedicated and active Ambassadors.