LGBTQ People Who Are World Sports Champions

Diver, Tom Daley – Image: Radio Times

The list of out LGBTQ individuals who have achieved success as world champions in sport deserves recognition. Competitive superiority in athletics is not dependent on sexual orientation, as is attested to by the number and diversity of sports involved.

Noteworthy is the fact that world champions exist across the whole LGBTQ spectrum. While many of these individuals did not reveal their sexual orientation during competition, their presence creates role models, and they become mentors to others, who either are out, or are considering doing so.

Many of the individuals, who came out prior to winning their world championship status, have stated that coming out mentally freed them to better compete, by removing the pressure of hiding that aspect of themselves. Those who came out subsequent to their honour discuss the hyper-aggressive culture of bias and homophobia that pressured them to stay in the closet, as well as the financial risk of being publicly out (through loss of sponsorship, for example).

As world champions, these individuals have become recognized nationally, and often internationally. They have received many additional honours and awards as a result. Many of them broke down regional barriers and stereotypes, both when they competed and when they were declared victors.

Note that this list of individuals does not include Olympic gold medal athletes, but rather focuses on those who have competed in organized World Championship competitions.

Queerbio have identified individuals, like diver, Tom Daley from the UK, and sportspeople from Brazil, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, the United States, France, Germany, Scotland, The Netherlands, Slovakia, Norway, Denmark, Ireland, Sweden, Puerto Rico, and Belgium.

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