Inside the Star-Studded Event Hosted by Ralph Lauren to Honor the LGBT Athletic Community

Inside the Star-Studded Event Hosted by Ralph Lauren to Honor the LGBT Athletic Community
Jared Siskin/Patrick McMullan(2); Joe Schildhorn/BFA
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Countless celebrities stepped out at Tuesday night's Ralph Lauren Polo event in New York to show support for the LGBT athletic community. To name a few, Tyson Beckford, Lindsay Ellingson, and Uma Thurman all attended the launch party, which was held in celebration of the recent partnership between Ralph Lauren and Athlete Ally, an organization that focuses on ending LGBT discrimination in the athletic community.

Stars including Robert De Niro and Alan Cumming showed up to support the cause, as well as several hundred other industry leaders. During the event, Hudson Taylor, a former wrestler and Athlete Ally founder, shared his powerful story with the attendees. As a college athlete, Taylor said he had witnessed many of his college friends face scrutiny and criticism from their peers for identifying with the LGBT community.

In taking a stand, Taylor began sporting an LGBT equality sticker on his college wrestling headgear, which was a bold and selfless move considering he is not gay. Instead, Taylor calls himself an ally to those facing discrimination because of their sexual orientation.

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After affixing the sticker to his headgear, the former athlete received a lot of feedback, both good and bad, which inspired him to start Athlete Ally with a mission of achieving "Victory Through Unity" for the LGBT athletic community.

Also a long-time supporter of the LGBT community, Ralph Lauren model Tyson Beckford arrived at the event decked out in the designer's duds. The model-turned-actor said he supports the cause because he sees no reason any human should have to hide or be separated by things they cannot control, such as "race, color, gender, or who you love."

Tyson Beckford
Jared Siskin/Patrick McMullan

"I've always been a supporter of the LGBT community," said Beckford. "I've been playing sports my whole life since I was a kid. And, although I ended up chasing my love of acting and fashion—rather than sports—I do feel for a lot of the athletes who have to hide their relationships and their status whether they are gay, straight, lesbian, or transgender."

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Victoria's Secret model, Lindsay Ellingson, who was a dancer in her younger years, says she also feels for the LGBT community of athletes and wanted to show her support because she feels it's so important to promote equality among athletes. "No matter what your sexual orientation may be, it's about athletics," Ellingson said.

In raising funds for the cause, customized Ralph Lauren Polo x Athlete Ally baseball caps were available for purchase with 100 percent of the proceeds collected going to Athlete Ally.

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