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.