Thursday, January 27, 2022 — GLAAD, the world’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization, along with Athlete Ally, a national nonprofit working to elevate and advocate for LGBTQI+ athletes, and OutChina, are releasing a “Guide to Covering LGBTQ Athletes at the 2022 Olympics and Paralympics” as a resource to journalists and media professionals.
There are at least 32 out LGBTQ athletes competing in the Winter Games in Beijing, according to Outsports.com, a leading news source on LGBTQ athletes. This is a historic number of out athletes for the Winter Olympics; the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics featured 15 out athletes. A sample listing of out LGBTQ athletes who will be in Beijing is below.
The guide provides journalists with best practices for covering transgender, nonbinary, and other LGBTQ athletes, along with the history of LGBTQ athletes at the Olympics and context on the policies and issues facing LGBTQ athletes this year. The guide also addresses how issues of equality like race and gender intersect for athletes and spectators and the Chinese LGBTQ socio-political context.
The 2022 Beijing Winter Games will be the first Olympics under the International Olympic Committee’s new framework on Fairness, Inclusion, and Non-Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity and Sex Variations, which was published in November 2021. This framework, put in place to foster gender equity and equality in professional sports competition, offers different criteria and policy for athletic governing bodies to ensure that there is no exclusion based on gender identity or sex in elite competition and all athletes are treated fairly. The Olympics have had inclusion policies, such as guidelines for transgender athletes, in all Olympic sports since 2004, however the IOC’s new framework reflects comprehensive, up-to-date policy research that was conducted in collaboration with Athlete Ally and more than 250 athletes and stakeholders, including medical and legal professionals and human rights advocates.
PARTIAL LIST AND BIOS OF OUT OLYMPIANS and PARALYMPIANS COMPETING IN BEIJING
(as of January 27, 2022; Outsports provides a continuously updated list of athletes)
Timothy LeDuc (they/them, USA, figure skating) is a 2019 US Champion and 2019 World Team Trophy champion alongside figure skating partner Ashley Cain-Gribble. LeDuc is openly gay and was the first out LGBTQ athlete to win the national pairs title in 2019. Named to Team USA on January 9, LeDuc will be the first out nonbinary Winter Olympian.
Andrew Blaser (he/him, USA, skeleton racing) is a professional skeleton racer and is one of three skeleton athletes competing for Team USA this year. Blaser won multiple gold medals at the 2018-19 Men’s Skeleton North American Cup and is currently ranked 28th worldwide as well as the top American male skeleton athlete. He will be the only male athlete on Team USA’s skeleton racing team and is the first openly gay athlete to compete in skeleting racing at the Olympic level. Blaser has been outspoken in his experiences as a gay athlete and supporting other LGBTQ athletes.
Brittany Bowe (she/her, USA, Speedskating) is a two-time Olympian and US Long Track speedskater. She earned a bronze medal at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games in Team Pursuit speedskating. Bowe is the only openly LGBTQ woman athlete in Team USA and is in a long-term relationship with Dutch inline skater Manon Kamminga. She has spoken publicly and posted on social media about her relationship, as well as being an LGBTQ athlete. On January 6, Bowe became the first out Olympic athlete to qualify to represent Team USA in Beijing.
Ireen Wüst (she/her, Netherlands, Speedskating) is the most decorated speed skater of all time, with 5 gold medals, 5 silver medals, and a bronze medal for a total of 11 Olympic medals. She is also the Netherlands’ most successful Olympian ever, first appearing at the 2006 Torino Games and being the first out LGBTQ athlete to win a medal at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games. Wust is openly bisexual and has spoken about her experiences in various media.
Belle Brockhoff (she/her, Australia, Snowboarding) is a two-time Olympian and has represented Australia at the FIS Snowboarding World Championships as well. She made her Olympic debut at the 2014 Sochi Games and competed in the 2018 Pyeongchang Games. Brockhoff has been very involved in LGBTQ advocacy and publicly came out prior to the 2014 Sochi Games as part of a protest against anti-LGBTQ laws in Russia.
Eric Radford (he/him, Canada, Team figure skating) is a Canadian figure skater and two-time Olympian. He won a silver medal at the 2014 Sochi Games and bronze and gold medals at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games, where be became the first openly gay athlete to win a gold medal. Radford has been very vocal about being an LGBTQ athlete both in the news and on social media.
Jason Brown (he/him, USA, Single Figure Skating) is a US figure skater and Olympic medalist. Brown won a bronze medal in team figure skating at the 2014 Sochi Games. He was named to the Olympic team on January 9. He is openly gay and came out this year in a moving social media post, sharing his experiences surrounded by supportive LGBTQ role models and allies.
Paul Poirier (he/him, Canada, Team Figure Skating) is a two-time Olympian and Canadian figure skater. He made his Olympic debut at the 2010 Vancouver Games and competed at the 2018 Pyeongchang Games. Poirier is openly gay and has been very outspoken in his experiences as an LGBTQ athlete and how sports competitions can become more inclusive.
Gus Kenworthy (he/him, Great Britain, Freestyle skiing) is a two-time Olympian and silver medalist. His events include slopestyle and halfpipe, and he won silver at the 2017 World Championships in slopestyle skiing for Team USA. However, this winter, he is competing for Great Britain. He is very outspoken about being an out gay athlete, having spoke out about LGBTQ issues in various news outlets and at the GLAAD Media Awards. He is also an actor, having appeared on American Horror Story: 1984.
Sarka Pancochova (she/her, Czech Republic, Snowboarding) is a three-time Olympian and Czech snowboarder. Pancochova has competed at the 2010, 2014, and 2018 Winter Olympics in Big Air, Slopestyle, and Halfpipe events. She is openly lesbian and has been very vocal about LGBTQ rights in the Czech Republic especially; Pancochova has stated that she will not marry her girlfriend until same-sex marriage is legalized in the Czech Republic.
Emilia Andersson Ramboldt (she/her, Sweden, Ice Hockey) is a Swedish ice hockey player and three-time Olympian. She has competed at the 2010, 2014, and 2018 Winter Olympics as a defenceman for the Swedish national ice hockey team. Ramboldt came out publicly as LGBTQ in the media during the 2018 Pyeongchang Games and is one of a few out LGBTQ ice hockey athletes.
Daniela Iraschko-Stolz (she/her, Austria, Ski Jumping) is an Austrian ski jumper and two-time Olympian. Iraschko-Stolz won the silver medal at the 2014 Sochi Games in the Normal Hill ski jumping competition. She came out publicly as lesbian and is married.
Kim Meylemans (she/her, Belgium, Skeleton Racing) is an Olympian and the first athlete to represent Belgium in skeleton racing at the 2018 Olympics. Meylemans is and out lesbian and has been vocal in the media about being an LGBTQ athlete, including the importance of athletes to be outspoken on LGBTQ issues.
About Athlete Ally: Athlete Ally believes sport will change the world when it welcomes and empowers all people. As a leading national nonprofit working at the intersection of sport and LGBTQI+ equality, Athlete Ally works to end the structural and systemic oppression that isolates, excludes and endangers LGBTQI+ people in sport. We educate individuals and institutions to understand obstacles to inclusion for LGBTQI+ people and how they can build an inclusive culture within their athletic communities. We work to ensure sport governing bodies, teams and leagues adopt policies that reflect the diversity of their constituents. We incubate athlete activism to advance LGBTQI+ equality in and through sport. For more information, visit www.athleteally.org or follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Contact: email@example.com
About OutChina: OutChina is a multimedia storytelling project of China’s LGBTQ community. With an estimated 70 million LGBTQ population, China is yet one of the most conservative countries towards non-cis/straight people. This project aims to raise awareness and increase visibility of this underrepresented community and provide resources to people in need. Visit www.chinalgbt.org to learn more. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
About GLAAD: GLAAD rewrites the script for LGBTQ acceptance. As a dynamic media force, GLAAD tackles tough issues to shape the narrative and provoke dialogue that leads to cultural change. GLAAD protects all that has been accomplished and creates a world where everyone can live the life they love. For more information, please visit www.glaad.org or connect with GLAAD on Facebook and Twitter.