All-American Division I wrestler and Columbia University Assistant Wresting Coach Hudson Taylor returned to Penn State Monday night to speak about being an athlete and a LGBT ally.
While the event was scheduled for 7 p.m., only four people not involved with the LGBTA Student Resource Center were sitting in the HUB-Robeson Center Auditorium at this time. Craig Leets, assistant director of the LGBTA Student Resource Center, said this was due to a miscommunication on the event time with student athletes who were required to attend the event for their freshman seminar. For this reason, Leets said they had Taylor stall with magic tricks.
Josh Keilholtz, a programming and events intern for the Center, worked on the advertising and marketing for this event. Keilholtz (junior-sculpture) said the event was publicized in the Center’s usual way and was unsure as to the turnout’s limited numbers at that time.
“I mean I don’t know why but any turn out is better than nothing,” Keilholtz said.
Student athletes and others from the Penn State community filled a portion of auditorium by 7:30 p.m.
Taylor began his presentation with an explanation of the obstacles he faced in becoming an ally. He said these obstacles included his position as a wrestler, Christian family values and the absence of a gay person in his life prior to his college years at the University of Maryland.
“I stayed silent. I stayed compliant. I didn’t speak out [initially],” Taylor said.
While the journey to becoming a straight ally took time, Taylor developed four principles that helped him along the way.
Taylor said the first principle, his platinum rule, was “Treat others as they want to be treated.” This principle was related to a number of LGBT teen deaths in year that stemmed from not others not following this rule.
The remaining three principles focused on maximizing happiness while minimizing suffering, continuing to act as long as the burdens don’t outweigh the benefits and the idea that each person is responsible for any history that he or she is a part of.
Some students in the audience, such as Penn State gymnasts Kelsey Kreider (freshman-kinesiology) and Sammie Musto(freshman-kinesiology), said they only came to the event because it was mandatory.
Students and Penn State Lionettes Dance Team members Amy Doering (freshman-division of undergraduate studies) and Angela Connors (freshman-division of undergraduate studies), on the other hand, said they would have come to the event without the requirement and took away a better sense of awareness from the event.