Reflecting on the Past, Present, and Future of LGBTQ+ Representation in Sports

SPORTS HAVE ALWAYS HAD THE POWER TO BRING US TOGETHER. Even in the age of streaming television, we still gather to watch live sports events in the tens of millions, whether it’s the Super Bowl or a match between Serena Williams and underdog Bianca Andreescu at the U.S. Open. Every two years, the Olympics gather the world’s most elite athletes in a showcase of both competition and unity—and this year, the postponement of the summer games felt like an existential blow. To some, team colors are an identity. But for LGBTQ+ competitors, their identity as an athlete can be hard to reconcile with their identity—who they are, who they love, how openly they get to live—as a human being. Still, more athletes are coming out, with the dream that the arena they love will become a place for more out athletes to play and excel. For former pro baseball player Billy Bean, 56, the sport he loved became a prison; now he works within the MLB to make it safe and inclusive for players and fans alike. For football player Ryan Russell, 28, sports was a place to find family; he says it’s an “injustice” for “people in the LGBTQ+ community or any minority community to feel alienated or excluded in the world of sports—a place that I think can be very just humanizing and very uniting.” Celebrated duathlete, triathlete, and race walker Chris Mosier, 40, was finally living openly in his true gender identity; he fought the International Olympic Committee and won policy changes that would let him compete openly, too. Adam Rippon, 30, saw his greatest success on the skating rink when he started living authentically on and off it. And for boxer Patricio Manuel, 34, intersectional identity isn’t an abstract concept—it’s very personal. “As a Black trans man, it’s pretty hard not to talk about inequalities because they’ve been my direct lived experiences,” he says; his victories in the ring are yet more victories in the long and hard and continuing fight for representation.ADVERTISEMENT – CONTINUE READING BELOW

Before the kick-off to June Pride Month, Men’s Health assembled the group to talk about identity in sports: as athletes; as members of the LGBTQ+ community; and as people whose experiences are providing a roadmap to greater representation. Below, we ask them: How far have we come, and where do we go from here?”

Read More

Via: Men’s Health