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Friday, November 29, 2013

No Holds Barred: Fallon Fox, Thomas Krever, Brendon Ayanbadejo on 2013 Emery Awards 

(Photo of Hudson Taylor, Fallon Fox, and Brendon Ayanbadejo receiving 2013 Emery Awards, courtesy of Fallon Fox)

On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman spoke with Fallon Fox, the first openly transgender MMA fighter; Thomas Krever, the CEO of the Hetrick-Martin Institute (HMI); and Brendon Ayanbadejo, a three-time Pro Bowl NFL player, a member of the world champion Baltimore Ravens who won Super Bowl XLVII, and a long-time advocate for equal rights.

What they have in common is that they all were involved in the 2013 Emery Awards, presented by the Hetrick-Martin Institute, a professional provider of social support and programming for at-risk lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning (LGBTQ) youth. These awards were presented at an event in New York on Wednesday, November 13. Fallon Fox and Brendon Ayanbadejo were among the athletes receiving these awards, as well as Hudson Taylor, a three-time All-American wrestler at the University of Maryland who is now a volunteer assistant coach for the Columbia University wrestling team and is the founder and executive director of Athlete Ally, a nonprofit organization focused on ending homophobia and transphobia in sports by educating allies in the athletic community and empowering them to take a stand. Also receiving awards were Chelsea Clinton, vice chair of the Clinton Foundation, and several other individuals.

The Emery Awards are given to individuals and corporations that exemplify HMI's mission of providing a safe and supportive environment for all young people regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

We spoke with Thomas Krever and Brendon Ayanbadejo right before the awards event on November 13, on the red carpet outside Cipriani Wall Street. We spoke with Fallon Fox by phone Wednesday, November 27.

Saying that she had a "wonderful time" at this event, Fallon Fox, in our discussion, raised some of the issues involving the combat sports and the LGBT community.

"I don't think mixed martial arts is very big within the LGBT world. I think it's getting bigger with myself in mixed martial arts and a few other athletes who are lesbian, open lesbian," she said.

There are "LGBT athletes in every sport. We've always been there and always will be. But it's a good thing that a lot of us are coming out now," she said.

And she added, "I hope there's going to be a male gay athlete that comes out in the future."

We also discussed her plans to return to action next year after suffering her first loss in MMA, her plans to go on the public speaking circuit, and much more.

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