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Simon Williamson, columnist with Georgia Voice

Simon Williamson: Ticking every macho box

I typically love it when sports stars come out, because it shatters the myth that gay men are anything stereotypical and that, in fact, we are a many varied beast. Along with being talented in many arenas hi...
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Tickets now on sale for ATL screening of ‘Legalize Gay’ starring rugby star and gay icon Ben Cohen

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Ben Cohen, a U.K. rugby star athlete and founder of the StandUp Foundation based in Atlanta to combat bullying and homophobia in sports, will be in Atlanta June 11 for a screening of "Legalize Gay" as part of Atlanta Pride's Stonewall month of events. Tickets go on sale for the event today at 3 p.m.

The screening is a collaboration of the StandUp Foundation, Atlanta Pride Committee and Out on Film, Atlanta's LGBT film fest that had its world premiere at the festival last October.

A Q&A with Cohen will take place after the movie screening at Midtown Art Cinema.

Cohen, a straight ally, is the first straight sports star to focus his philanthropic efforts on LGBT causes.

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Atlanta gay ruggers do it in drag

Atlanta Bucks Rugby

The annual Atlanta Bucks Rugby Football Club's Miss Ruck & Maul Pageant will be at Jungle on Saturday beginning at 6:30 p.m. and promises to be a hoot with burly men and their mentors dressed in gaudy drag attire competing for the coveted title.

What's better — the event not only entertains but is also a fundraiser for the Bucks and this year also for the Atlanta Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence's new Saint and Lost Fund to help LGBT homeless youth. You can pay $10 at the door or make a donation online at here.

The hostesses for the Miss Ruck & Maul Pageant are Ruby Redd and Jenna Tellya — also known as rugby players Ray Matheson and Gary Durden.

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Ben Cohen kicks off his StandUp Foundation

Rugby star Ben Cohen auctions off personal items to raise money for his StandUp Foundation

Ben Cohen's "Acceptance Tour 2011" and the Atlanta Bucks held a cocktail reception on Friday, May 20, 2011, at the Livingston Restaurant & Bar at Georgian Terrace.

Cohen, a straight rugby star from the UK, also announced his StandUp Foundation, an organization dedicated to ending bullying and combating homophobia in sports, would be based in Atlanta.

Cohen, now retired, auctioned off a few jerseys as well as the last pair of "boots" he was wearing when he stepped down from the sport. The boots sold for $2,500 and thousands of more dollars were raised for the foundation. Brian Sims, president of Equality Pennsylvania, was with Cohen as part of the tour. Sims came out as gay in 2000 while captain of his college football team, Bloomsburg University in Division II and is the only known openly gay college football captain.

To view more photos from the event, click here.

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Rugby star and gay icon Ben Cohen selects Atlanta as home for his StandUp Foundation

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Atlanta will be the home for Ben Cohen's StandUp Foundation as well as his StandUp brand, it was announced today.

Cohen, the hunky — and straight — rugby star (now retired) from England, has been in Atlanta this week as part of his “Acceptance Tour 2011” to bring awareness about bullying against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people and to find ways to stop it.


“I have a big following, I have a voice, I want to use it,” he said. “I’m in a privileged position and I want to set a precedent. Being gay is not a disease, it’s not a choice," he told the GA Voice in a recent interview.

Making Atlanta the home base for his foundation was a simple choice, Cohen said in statement released late Friday. Because Atlanta has been dubbed in the past as the “gayest city” in America by The Advocate and is home to the civil rights movement, the city "too busy to hate" was the best place.

“I can think of no better place to base our operations and make the differences we intend to make,” Cohen said.

Cohen said he is also the first straight athlete to focus his energy on LGBT causes and anti-bullying measures.

“The Foundation is believed to be the world’s first organization dedicated solely to the cause of anti-bullying, wherever and to whomever it occurs,” states a press release from the StandUp Foundation.