Pummeled With Homophobic Slurs, Straight Duke University Wrestler Speaks Up For The LGBT Community
Athlete Ally has found a new poster boy in Dylan Ryan, known by his Duke University peers as "Rhino." As a sophomore wrestler, Dylan found himself on the receiving end of homophobic slurs in an online discussion simply because of his sport. The experience enlightened the openly straight male and inspired him to become an outspoken advocate for the LGBT community.
“I told him ‘I saw this conversation, I was so proud of you,’” said Duke’s Assistant Director of Athletics for Student-Athlete Welfare Leslie Barnes. “I think publicly there are very few straight males willing to stand up the way he did and does. Rhino uses his social media platforms and will talk in front of other groups. There are some guys who behind closed doors you know they’re supportive, but they’re not at that point where they think it’s in their best interest or they say it’s not their business.”
With help from Barnes, Dylan reached out to Athlete Ally, a popular organization that supports LGBT equality in sports founded by former University of Maryland wrestler Hudson Taylor.
“In the past and presently knowing kids who have come out as members of the LGBTQ community it inspired me to get into contact with Hudson again knowing that he was a wrestler,” Dylan said. “So I wrote him a nice letter asking him how I could help out and he offered me the opportunity to be one of the college ambassadors to bring Athlete Ally to Duke.”
Thanks to Dylan's efforts, women from Duke's rowing and fencing teams have decided to become Athlete Ally ambassadors as well.
“I’d like to see at least an athlete from every team come to a meeting and come help out to keep their teammates accountable because at some point there is going to be an athlete in everybody’s sport who is openly LGBT," he adds. "It’s just about having equality and being a better university because obviously it’s a changing world and we’re going to have to change.”
Well done, Dylan!
(Image: Duke University; Source: GoDuke.com)