Inspired by the experiences of Big Red soccer player Atticus DeProspo '15, ILR Assistant Professor Beth Livingston will advise the Athlete Ally chapter forming at Cornell this fall.
In what can be a homophobic world of sports, Athlete Ally provides a national network of respect for athletes of all sexual orientations, regardless of "perceived or actual sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression."
The non-profit organization encourages its members to lead others, promoting "Victory through Unity."
It provides on-campus trainings for students to learn about allied athletes, coaches, teams, athletic clubs and sports-based advocacy projects nationwide. Athlete Ally welcomes members of any orientation.
The launch of the Cornell chapter comes on the heels of the historic announcement by NBA player Jason Collins April 29.
He is the first gay male professional athlete currently competing in a major sports league in the United States to publicly announce he is gay.
A center for the Washington Wizards, he has played for six professional basketball teams during his 12 seasons in the NBA.
DeProspo introduced Livingston to Athlete Ally while talking about athletics and the professor’s interest in the "toxic masculinity" that often pervades male-dominated/stereotyped domains such as athletics.
These stereotypes help explain why gay female athletes are more likely to reveal their sexual orientations than male athletes, Livingston said, who found opportunities to share with the organization her research expertise in human resources, gender and stereotypes.
Athlete Ally, Livingston said, "has a mission that is near and dear to me. As a former athlete and a fan of athletics, knowing that my research expertise can help further a cause I believe in is a great opportunity."
In April, Livingston accepted an invitation to serve on its advisory board.
Hudson Taylor, a wrestling coach at Columbia University, founded Athlete Ally in 2011 after experiencing demeaning comments while participating in high school and college sports.
Livingston's said her Athlete Ally involvement will include refining an ambassador curriculum with the help of ILR student research assistants Josh Taylor '15 and Brian Hui '15.
More information about the Cornell chapter is available by contacting Beth Livingston at BAL93@cornell.edu. Membership drives begin this fall at Cornell.