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Today Athlete Ally, a nonprofit focused on educating and activating athletes to champion LGBT equality, announces the addition of four new Professional Ambassadors, three of whom are transgender-identified bodybuilders, and one fitness trainer who includes transgender-specific fitness programs in her core curriculum. Athlete Ally Ambassadors help the organization promote lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) inclusion in sports by speaking out to their peers, sports and fan bases.
“Athlete Ally is so proud to count Aydian, Janae Marie, Mason, and Hailee, among our Athlete Ally Ambassadors,” said Hudson Taylor, Founder and Executive Director of Athlete Ally. “Each Ambassador has an amazing story, educates others, and speaks to the positive impact that inclusive fitness and sports environments can have on individuals and communities.”
“Right now, transgender people are not fully protected from discrimination in 33 states, and they face staggeringly disproportionate amounts of discrimination, harassment, and violence. That’s why the stories of each of these Ambassadors is so critical,” Taylor continued. “When openly transgender athletes are in the running for magazine covers, world record-setting weightlifters, and winners of gold medals at the Gay Games – and when non-transgender trainers take the time to develop substantial fitness programs especially for trans athletes – everyone wins. Because visibility, inclusion, and education lead to true allyship and support for transgender people.”
More about the new Athlete Ally Pro Ambassadors:
New Athlete Ally Ambassador Aydian Dowling began making headlines this summer when he entered the Men’s Health Magazine “Ultimate Guy Search” cover model contest, and quickly led in the contest voting, with more than 72,000 votes. The magazine is expected to announce the contest winner October 12. Bodybuilder Dowling, from Oregon, produces a popular video series on YouTube that explores bodybuilding and weight training for transgender men.
“Body building has helped me build a loving relationship with my body and given me opportunities to feel empowered as well as empower others. We are all just playing one game, and everyone can win the same if we can hold space for each other’s strengths instead of highlighting our differences. I will be your ally if you will be mine. Let’s end transphobia and homophobia in the sports world for good!”
Aydian Dowling’s Athlete Ally profile: http://www.athleteally.org/allies/aydian-dowling/
New Athlete Ally Ambassador Janae Marie Kroc is a world champion and world record holding powerlifter. She is best known for inventing the Kroc Row, a popular and well-regarded weight training technique that develops the upper back. Kroc resides in Michigan. She is a transgender woman, a bodybuilder, a former United States Marine, a cancer survivor, an author, a pharmacist, and a model. Kroc was recently profiled in Muscle and Fitness Magazine’s October issue, becoming the magazine’s first transgender athlete to be featured in the magazine.
“I couldn’t be more proud to be partnering with an organization that is committed to ending homophobia and transphobia in sports,” said Kroc. “Regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, all athletes deserve equal treatment by the sport they love, and I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to be part of making that dream a reality.”
Janae Marie Kroc’s Athlete Ally profile: http://www.athleteally.org/allies/janae-marie-kroc/
New Athlete Ally Ambassador Mason Caminiti is an Ohio-based bodybuilder originally from New York. A lifelong athlete, Caminiti won a gold medal in bodybuilding at the 2014 Gay Games. Caminiti credits sports and weight training with helping him transform his body as a transgender man.
“Whether you’re a spectator or athlete, sports bring us all together displaying both our individuality and commonality,” said Caminiti. “It provides a critical link to reach all people in an effort to educate, unite and celebrate diversity. I couldn’t be more proud to be a part of an organization that supports this philosophy and brings about such positive change.”
Mason Caminiti’s Athlete Ally profile: http://www.athleteally.org/allies/mason-caminiti/
New Athlete Ally Ambassador Hailee Bland-Walsh made headlines this summer when her gym was featured in a touching television ad produced by Google that ran during the ESPY Awards. Bland-Walsh, a former pro soccer player and fitness trainer, owns City Gym, an LGBT-inclusive workout facility in Kansas City, Missouri. When a transgender man asked her about specific fitness training programs for transgender men, Bland-Walsh discovered there were not any in existence, and worked to build one. She now trains an amazing group of transgender men in Kansas City, which has caught the eye of transgender people and fitness professionals alike.
“Athletics has long played a role in social change,” said Bland-Walsh. “As a proud Athlete Ally, I am honored to have the opportunity demonstrate the power and importance of inclusion and equality. Real change happens when people stand together for the greater good.”
Hailee Bland-Walsh’s Athlete Ally profile: http://www.athleteally.org/allies/hailee-bland-walsh/
These four athletes join more than 130 other Athlete Ally Pro Ambassadors, from Olympians to World Cup Champions to NFL and NBA stars. All Ambassadors work to further equality and acceptance within athletic communities.
Athlete Ally’s mission is to educate and activate athletic communities 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 130 college, professional, and Olympic athletes among its dedicated and active Ambassadors. www.athleteally.org