By Angeline Acain
On Friday, October 12, 2012 I attended dot429.com’s Straight Talk conference in New York City. Columnist and commentator LZ Granderson was the moderator for speakers Hudson Taylor, founder of Athlete Ally (www.athleteally.com) and Wade Davis, a former NFL professional football player. Davis shared his experience of being gay in the macho field of professional football, viewing his teammates as family and stating that the conversation around masculinity needs to change. Taylor talked about leveling the playing field in athletics not just for gays but for women and trans folk as well.
After the LGBT in Athletics panel, the speaker that peaked my interest was next – Zach Wahls. Wahls is a young man who became an overnight sensation when a YouTube video of him giving testimony before the Iowa House Judiciary Committee about being raised by a lesbian couple went viral. His speech at the Democratic Convention this year was also just as amazing, which led an audience member to ask Wahls if he wanted a future in politics. Wahls answered that he looked forward to going back to school to continue his studies in engineering and although he was presented with that opportunity, he had no plans to enter politics. Moreover he considers himself an “accidental activist” revealing that he did not know he was being filmed when that fateful YouTube video went live. Wahls says he was just doing what was right because he says “stigmas affect the kids of gay parents.” Wahls spoke of having difficulty pronouncing the word “momses”, liking the description “Queer Spawn” and at the Democratic convention standing next to politician Tammy Baldwin and having his toe run over by actress Scarlett Johansson’s luggage. Although Wahl’s says he does not want a career in activism or politics he says “with great power comes great responsibility” and feels like his speaking out is “doing the right thing.” He says, “What a child ultimately wants is to have your parents to be proud of you.” I have no doubt his momses are.