The long-anticipated 2021 Tokyo Olympics officially kicked off on July 23 and will last until August 8. But, it seems like this particular year will go down in history and not just because spectators are not allowed to watch the games. More than 160 LGBTQ+ players are participating in the 2021 Olympics, making this year’s Games the most inclusive ever.
The Olympic Games have long been known as a cultural cornerstone for countries to showcase some of the most extraordinary talents around the world. With that said, it can be noted that we are witnessing tremendous growth of LGBTQ+ rights, recognition, and advocacy, as more athletes are openly expressing themselves about who they truly are without getting extreme backlash from the public.
Being an ally for the LGBTQ+ community has been proven very effective in many ways. Allies can help LGBTQ+ people feel more comfortable about coming out and help others understand the importance of fairness and equality for all people.
There are many ways you can be an ally and be the change that this society needs, some of the main ones being:
- Stay informed
- Support equality
- Speak up for LGBTQ+ people
Additionally, if you are a gambler enthusiast, you can support your favorite LGBTQ+ players by betting on them. If you place a bet at a 200% deposit bonus casino, you’ll get a bonus that is double what your original deposit is.
The Olympics is a platform that has always boosted their participation. Back in 2012, there were 23 LGBTQ+ players in the London Games. Then, in the 2016 Rio Games, the number escalated to 56. And now, more than 160 players are competing in Tokyo, which sends a powerful message for gender inclusivity.
The massive increase in the number of outspoken athletes truly reflects the growing acceptance of LGBTQ people in sports as well as society. This year at least 27 different countries will be represented by at least one LGBTQ+ identifying athlete in 30 sports, including the first trans-Olympians.
Laurel Hubbard is a 43-year-old New Zealander who transitioned from male to female back in 2012. She is the first transgender sportsperson to be picked to compete at an Olympics. Her selection hasn’t gone unnoticed; quite contrary, she has sparked fierce debate about fair competition at the Games. Some rival weightlifters have voiced opposition to her inclusion in the event, while several former sports stars, such as Martina Navratilova and Caitlyn Jenner, have spoken out against athletes who were assigned male as their gender competing in women’s sports.
However, despite the criticism, Laurel Hubbard got approval to compete because she is not breaking any current rules, according to the International Olympic Committee. And even though the debate on both sides has been loud, Laurel Hubbard has remained quiet in public and hasn’t given a media interview since 2017.
Quinn, a midfielder for OL Reign and the Canada women’s national soccer team, who is non-binary and uses they/them pronouns, came out as transgender via an Instagram post in September 2020.
Quinn stated in an Instagram post that she feels proud being the first openly trans Olympian to compete, but at the same time feels saddened by the fact that there are trans-Olympians before that weren’t able to live their truth because of the world.
“I feel optimistic for change. Change in legislature. Changes in rules, structures and mindsets,” Quinn said in her Instagram post.
Quinn played as a substitute in Canada’s second game of the Olympics on July 25, which was a win against Chile, 2-1. As for what comes next? Quinn and the rest of the Canada Women’s National Team are scheduled to play against the United Kingdom on July 27.
Quinn’s coming out story inspired many other athletes to come forward, including international soccer player Kumi Yokoyama. Soccer player Quinn is the first out trans Olympian but won’t be the last.
34-year-old Emma Twig, a New Zealand rower and 2014 world champion, has set to win the medal in the fourth Olympics in Tokyo. Emma was so far ahead in the third quarter of her 2000m race on July 25 that the second and third-placed scullers were out of the TV frame. She ended up first in a time of 7:54:96, so we’ll be seeing her on July 29 in the semi-finals.
One interesting fact about Emma Twigg is that she didn’t plan to be back at an Olympics after finishing fourth for the second successive Games in Rio back in 2016. The same year Twigg left the sport, and it seemed like she would depart without making the podium at an Olympics. However, two years later, she returned, and now she’s breaking records at the Tokyo Olympics 2021.