The Rock Magazine Winter 2013

Page 11

EXECUTIVE ORDER Student Invited to Meet Vice President


WORTH 1,000 WORDS “Fearless” Athletes Stand Up for Tolerance

“Courageous” is what Vice President Joe Biden has called Rosemary Llewellyn ’14. According to her, however, it’s a title she hasn’t really “earned” yet—though her work in the LGBT family movement would say otherwise. In September, Llewellyn was among a small group of young people invited to Washington, D.C. to meet with Vice President Joe Biden to discuss issues related to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) families. The social work major has been identified as an emerging leader in the movement, both locally and nationally, and she and her brother Robert Llewellyn '13—who come from a same-sex family—have been active with the Family Quality Council, the nation's foremost advocate organization for LGBT families, since childhood. During the two-day D.C. visit, Llewellyn participated in a policy roundtable on issues related to the LGBT community, and met with the Family Quality

a FEARLESS. Photographer Jeff Sheng stands in the CI gallery amid his recent photos of LGBT athletes that include Jordan Vega ’13 and Alyssa Sialaris ‘13.

Council—reaffirming her commitment to work with the group's Outspoken Generation program. The highlight of the trip, though, was attending a

Well-known photographer and activist

in the project and invited teammate Sialaris

Jeff Sheng visited campus this fall to talk

to participate with him.

barbeque at the Vice President's home, where she had

about his “Fearless Project”—a photo series

the opportunity to personally thank Biden for his support.

of over 150 LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual,

Sialaris who discusses not wanting to conform

Transgender) student-athletes from across the

to a stereotype as a lesbian female athlete.

“He told us that we were ‘courageous,’ And some of the people there have really done a lot for the LGBT community and have been through a lot. Seeing them

nation, a project 10 years in the making. During his presentation, Sheng dis-

“I really believed in the project,” said

Both athletes, like the many featured in this project, have had their own struggles

get recognized by such an influential person was

cussed his struggle of being a “closeted”

and continue to share their story through

really empowering,” she recalls. “But I felt like [in

gay athlete, which is what ultimately

a new multi-media spoke of the project,

comparison], I really haven't done anything yet—I am

inspired him to begin this project. His goal

which includes video commentaries submit-

just an emerging leader.

was to visually demonstrate what it was

ted by athletes.

“I just backed my family like anyone else would,” she said.

like for an openly gay NCAA athlete in an

to be part of something that was bigger and

“Fearless Project,” Sheng strives to promote

more influential than myself,” said Vega. “I

equality, tolerance, acceptance, and diver-

wanted to help be a part of a generation that

sity in the in the NCAA and sports at the

is free of discrimination and hate and instead

collegiate and professional level.

promotes diversity, equality, and tolerance. I

“I didn't think [The Fearless Project] would grow to be this big,” noted Sheng, whose related work has been featured at

a A formal bbq. Rosemary Llewellyn ’14 (third from left) poses with Vice President Joe Biden during a visit to his home in Washington D.C.

“I chose to participate because I wanted

unwelcoming world of sports. Through his

want to make a difference in this world and I want to help in any little way I can.” In addition to the Fearless Project,

the last two Olympic Games, as well as the

Sheng is also well known for his “Don't Ask,

ESPN headquarters.

Don't Tell” photography series, which

Whittier athletes Alyssa Sialaris '13 and

features closeted service members in the

Jordan Vega '13 were two of Sheng’s latest

United States military. A portion of the

subjects photographed for the exhibit.

“Fearless” exhibit, including the Vega and

Vega, a cross country and track & field athlete, contacted Sheng about participating

Sialaris photos, was on display in the Campus Center during Sheng’s visit.

>> A talented bunch, the incoming class includes the lead singer of an accomplished rock band, mascot for a minor league baseball team, and a champion mathlete.