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Michael Lahoud of Chivas USA soccer is strong advocate for equality

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Lahoud's Chivas USA team in Los Angeles will host Equality Night this Saturday, July 23, to welcome LGBT fans.

Earlier this month Michael Lahoud became one of the rare professional athletes to step foot in front of the NOH8 cameras to take a stand against homophobia. For the Chivas USA midfielder, it was the opportunity to express a position dear to his heart.

“I very much believe in equality on all fronts,” Lahoud said. “It’s as simple as that. Equality is a value we take half-heartedly at times. It felt right to stand up for an issue that is in front of lawmakers.”

Born in Sierra Leone, Lahoud grew up in Virginia and attended Wake Forest University in North Carolina. These are not the most gay-friendly places in the world; Homosexual acts in Sierra Leone come with a penalty of life imprisonment. Lahoud said his inclusive perspective came from his mother, but also in part from a gay man who has been influential in his life, but whom Lahoud would not name.

“He helped me out when I was going through a pretty tough time,” Lahoud said. “Just a normal guy like the rest of us. I think that strengthened my outlook that whather you’re gay or straight, you’re still a person.”

Lahoud said he first considered the idea of a gay teammate reading the story of Brandon Stoneham on Outsports; Before then it was simply an issue he didn’t give much thought to. He’s not sure how a gay player would be accepted by his teammates on Chivas USA, though he says there are a lot of “accepting guys” on the team.
Still, he’s crystal clear on where he would stand if a teammate of his came out.

“That’s bravery right there,” Lahoud said. “It’s the essence of bravery. We talk about having courage as an athlete, to have bigger courage to tell people something that isn’t widely accepted in the world, I admire people who are brave.

“It’s crazy sometimes because I’m a straight guy but the biggest thing for me is that, regardless of whether you’re gay or straight, you need to look at people as people. Being gay doesn’t make a guy different from a straight guy. Not everyone lives up to stereotypes. Just accept people for who they are. As corny as it sounds, the more we do that on a day to day basis, it really does make the world a better place.”