There’s been a noticeable uptick in police harassment since 2023, that began with legislators proposing bills aimed at LGBTQ people. More recently police and other public officials have seemingly gone out of their way to target the LGBTQ community. This includes spaces in “red states,” like Missouri where police officers arrested the owners of Bar:PM (a leather bar in St. Louis) after they wrecked their police cruiser into it. “Blue states” however, are not immune to this — as was the case in Seattle where authorities raided The Cuff and The Seattle Eagle citing them for “lewd conduct” because of a bartender’s exposed nipple, and patrons wearing jockstraps.
As many LGBTQ activists are already aware, federal policymakers have been enacting legislation at the local and federal level targeting the LGBTQ community. Among those at the federal level is the Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA), a bill introduced by Sen. Richard Blumenthal in May of 2023. Endorsed by President Joe Biden, the bill is a bipartisan initiative to “protect” kids from harmful content online by placing a responsibility on online social media platforms to regulate content and services. Republicans have noted, if passed, the bill would be used to protect “minor children from the Transgender [sic] in this culture and that influence.”
While KOSA seems to have stalled, despite urging from the Biden administration to pass it, some states have begun passing their own versions of the bill — or by enforcing laws at LGBTQ venues like The Cuff in Seattle. Utah’s obscenity laws has even caused PornHub to pull out of states passing these laws, due to their vagueness.
While some may dismiss these concerns as overblown, it seems clear that it is only one part of a larger strategy aimed at curtailing LGBTQ expression. The irony is that those espousing “freedom” are the same ones passing censorship laws. This gradual ratchet effect, which began last summer by targeting children’s books and LGBTQ persons online, has now shifted into something targeting LGBTQ institutions. It’s the same rhetoric used in the 1960s—which included government produced propaganda directed at LGBTQ people painting them as a social contagion dangerous to kids. At the height of this moral panic were laws prohibiting positive depictions of LGBTQ persons, the impact of which is still being felt today through stereotypes and negative framing.
Even in states that aren’t adding to this moral panic, KOSA has provided the framework by which states can pass vague “obscenity” laws that appear neutral, but in practice are aimed at LGBTQ people. Structural forms of discrimination also exist online as social media platforms act as determiners of what is allowable under their guidelines. In reality, moderation disproportionality impacts LGBTQ people, and especially trans women online. According to a recent study, content moderation against trans people was roughly five times more to occur than cisgender counterparts. These facts and figures resonate with trans content creators we spoke with, like Polly People who was recently de-platformed for “inappropriate attire” — the same attire that is promoted by cisgender women on the same platform.
Whether it’s jockstrap night at the local leather bar, trans content creators trying to express themselves, or protests of expressions of sexuality at Pride or events at Folsom, we are quickly descending into an age of marginalization that many LGBTQ people haven’t experienced since before Stonewall. While some of the established forms of collective organizing and community have been forgotten or lost, new forms are emerging to fight against these laws and regulations designed to further marginalize and render invisible the lives of LGBTQ Americans.
Christopher T. Conner is assistant professor of Sociology at the University of Missouri. They are author of numerous scholarly publications, including ‘The Gayborhood: From Sexual Revolution to Cosmopolitan Spectacle.’ Fletcher Jackson is a senior undergraduate student at the University of Missouri, Columbia in Religious Studies and are co-teaching a class in spring 2024. Their research is at the intersection of psychology, spirituality, and queer visibility.
Despite making mistakes on two major jumps in her free skate routine on 26 January, Glenn won with 210.46 points to silver medalist Josephine Lee’s 204.13 points and bronze medalist Isabeau Levito’s 200.68 points.
In an interview with NBC Sports, the victor said: “Being the first openly queer women’s champion is incredible. When I came out initially, I was terrified. I was scared it would affect my scores or something.
She continued: “It was worth it to see the amount of young people who felt more comfortable in their environments at the rink, [people] who feel, ‘Oh, I’m represented by her, and she’s one of the top skaters [so] I don’t have to try and hide the sight of me.’ Just because you have this aspect doesn’t mean you can’t be a top athlete.”
Glenn’s win marks the first openly LGBTQ+ woman athlete to reach the top spot at the competition, but there are other out queer U.S. figure skaters, including Adam Rippon, Eliot Halverson, Karina Manta, and Timothy LeDuc.
The figure skater won the championship a decade after winning the junior U.S. championship title in 2014, and navigating a few bumps in the road during her professional career.
At the start of this season, Glenn suffered from a severe concussion and was previously forced to withdraw from the 2022 Olympic trials after testing positive for Coronavirus.
“This wasn’t exactly how I wanted to win my first national title, but I’m extremely grateful for it,” she said during a press conference following the event. “It means so much to me, after everything I’ve been through in the last 10 years.”
Glenn proudly lifted the Progress Pride flag following her win and came out publicly in 2019. She said to Dallas Voice at the time: “The fear of not being accepted is a huge struggle for me.
“Being perceived as [going through] ‘just a phase’ or ‘[being] indecisive’ is a common thing for bisexual/pansexual women. I don’t want to shove my sexuality in people’s faces, but I also don’t want to hide who I am.”
Are transgender athletes allowed in the Olympics? With Paris 2024 soon approaching, many people have been asking that question.
Unfortunately, recent years have seen transgender athletes competing in sporting events face increasingly extreme restrictions.
While transgender athletes are technically allowed in the Olympics, they’re not exactly given a warm welcome given the increasingly demanding requirements placed on them.
Ahead of the Paris 2024 Olympic games, the topic of trans athletes’ participation is once again being raised. The forthcoming Olympic games are set to introduce further restrictions to previous editions.
Can trans athletes compete at the Olympics?
Taking place in Paris this July and August, the 2024 Olympics includes a new requirement that athletes must have completed their transition before the age of 12 to compete.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has suggested that transitioning after the age of 12 could give an advantage to athletes over their cisgender competitors.
There are examples of transgender athletes at the Olympics. At the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, New Zealand weightlifter Laurel Hubbard made history as the first openly trans athlete to compete at the Olympic Games.
Now, athletes like Hubbard who have previously represented their nation at the Olympics will not be eligible for the Paris 2024 Games.
Previously, the IOC had guidelines in place that allowed trans women athletes to compete if their testosterone levels were below 10 nanomoles per litre a year before competing.
Various further bans have also been enacted against trans athletes recently in a number of sporting groups.
Are there restrictions on trans people in professional sports?
Last March, the governing body of athletics (World Athletics Council) banned women from competing in elite female competitions if they have gone through male puberty.
At the time, World Athletics president Sebastian Coe said the tightening restrictions to exclude transgender women was due to the “overarching need to protect the female category.”
The decision was enacted on 31 March, Transgender Day of Visibility.
Unfortunately, similar attitudes were then adopted by World Aquatics in its ‘Gender Inclusion Policy’.
The governing body voted to bar trans women from competing in women’s swimming events if they had gone through any part of puberty.
Swimmer Lia Thomas has now filed a legal dispute against World Aquatics’ anti-trans policies, citing a number of decisions from the governing body disqualifying most trans women and intersex athletes from international events.
The International Cycling Union (UCI) has also introduced bans on trans women participating if they have reached puberty before transitioning.
Such restrictions are introduced with the attempted justification of ‘safeguarding’ women’s sport. These trans bans have reached every corner of the sporting world: professional golfer Hailey Davidson was pushed into testosterone testing to verify her eligibility after she won a women’s pro tournament in Florida.
Former Las Vegas Raiders star Carl Nassib made history during Pride month in 2021 when he came out as gay.
“I actually hope that, one day, videos like this and the whole coming-out process are just not necessary,” he said in a post on Instagram. “But until then, I’m going to do my best, and my part, to cultivate a culture that’s accepting, that’s compassionate.”
Having also played for the Cleveland Browns and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Nassib announced his retirement from the NFL last September.
Many people believe that Nassib was the first player to come out, but that’s far from the case. Sure, he was the first to come out while on the sport’s regular season roster, but the title of “first” actually goes to Dave Kopay, who revealed his gay identity 26 years earlier, three years after retiring.
What’s more, in 1969 Kopay was on the same team as two other gay NFL football players, training under the legendary (and open-minded) Washington coach Vince Lombardi. He also played for the San Francisco 49ers, Detroit Lions, New Orleans Saints and the Green Bay Packers.
To date, there have only ever been 16 out gay or bisexual NFL players – hardly any, in the grand scheme of things, especially when you think about the huge number of footballers who have donned a uniform since the NFL was founded in 1920.
There are undoubtedly more players who never came out, but sadly that means their stories are lost in the mists of time.
Thankfully, we do know the incredible, powerful and heart-wrenching stories of three players. Two lost their lives during the Aids crisis, but all of them were truly talented.
These are the stories of running back Dave Kopay, who played between 1964 and 1972, Jerry Smith (1965-77), a tight end with Washington, and Ray McDonald (1967-68), a running back, also for Washington.
Dave Kopay was the first professional team sport athlete ever to declare his homosexuality. He made the announcement in 1975, three years after his retirement, following a nine-year NFL career.
He played for five teams during his career: San Francisco, Detroit, Washington, New Orleans and Green Bay. After he came out, he tried to get into coaching, but he claims that NFL and colleges expressed no interest after his sexuality became public knowledge.
Kopay spent a lot of his younger years denying his sexuality. He joined the Theta Chi fraternity when he arrived at the University of Washington, and it was at the there that he says met the man he now calls the great love of his life. But he was still very much in the closet, and trying to deny who he really was. After all, this was the early 1960s, when declaring he was gay would have essentially ruined his prospects.
Describing that time to the University of Washington Magazine, he said: I was never thinking I was a gay man because I just wasn’t like ‘one of them’. Just talking about it like that almost reinforces the utter bullsh*t that society uses to identify gay folks.
“I didn’t have the knowledge or strength to take it on then, and even after I did take it on, there were many, many times that it almost consumed me and took me into deep depression.”
Letters from fans helped him to find the strength to carry on, the former running back explained.
Kopay is alive and well. He became a Gay Games ambassador, and was a featured announcer in the opening ceremony for Gay Games VII, in Chicago in July 2006.
In 1986 Kopay revealed, in his autobiography, a brief affair with fellow NFL star Jerry Smith, who played for Washington (then the Redskins, but now called the Commanders) from 1965 to 1977, playing in a losing Super Bowl team in 1973 – although he didn’t name Smith at the time.
Tight end Smith kept his sexuality very private, focusing on his career. After officially retiring at the end of the 1978 season, he quietly came out as gay to a few family members. He moved to Austin, Texas, where he co-owned a gay bar called The Boathouse.
In 1986, Smith revealed that he had contracted AIDS, hoping to bring awareness about the disease and de-stigmatise it – a brave move as, at the time, the prevailing belief was that it was an illness that only affected “drug addicts and hairdressers” as Jim Graham, director of the Whitman-Walker Clinic, put it in an interview with the Washington Post in 1986.
Smith’s teammates all visited him as he lay in a Maryland hospital. He died, aged 43, on October 15, 1986, of an AIDS-related illness, a year after being diagnosed with HIV. Twenty-three players from Washington’s 1973 Super Bowl team reunited for the funeral, with several, including Sonny Jurgensen, Charley Taylor and Bobby Mitchell, serving as pallbearers.
“I don’t know how many of the players even knew he was gay, but I’ll tell you one thing: if they had known, they wouldn’t have cared,” Jurgensen has said.
As it turns out, Washington had not one, not two, but three gay men on the roster in 1969. The third was Ray McDonald, who had studied at the University of Idaho.
Questions about McDonald’s sexuality are believed to have started late in his college career, with rumours spreading that he was seeing a man at Washington State University, about 10 minutes from Idaho’s campus.
At the time, Washington was coached by the now-legendary Vince Lombardi, who was no stranger to the LGBTQ+ community: his brother was gay, and many former players say he knew some of his team were gay. Not only did he not have a problem with it, but he also went out of his way to make sure no one else would make it a problem.
The year: 1969. Man landed on the moon, the Beatles gave their last concert on top of the Apple building in London, and we mourned Judy Garland’s death. But most notable for me was the Stonewall Uprising on June 28.
As a gay African-American man, I am an activist and a pioneer. I have experienced some of the brightest and darkest highlights of LGBTQ history. So much has changed and I know my generation has made a significant contribution to the growth and positive changes. My mantra: “I’m living my best life!”
The year of the Stonewall Uprising, I was beginning my studies at Parsons School of Design. It was a turning point in my life. I felt equipped to leave my family nest and ready to be independent, a trait that was instilled in me at an early age.
As soon as I arrived in New York, the city was swarming with so much energy that it was hard to contain myself. New York City has always been a significant influence on gay life, art, music, fashion, commerce, and innovations on all fronts. I took some time to discover myself during those years, learning to navigate the city and indulge in self-expression.
The diversity of New York is something I have always loved. In fact, it was the openness and freedom of expression that led me to accept my sexuality. I gradually acclimated to my new life and adventures, only later realizing what an accomplishment it was to move to New York City and succeed at the tender age of 18.
As a textile designer and artist in the Garment District, I continued to take drawing classes at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art to keep my skills sharp. While in the workforce, I complied to corporate standards in the workplace to be taken seriously and avoid discrimination. But even so, I accepted my truth and began to live unapologetically as a gay African-American man.
One of the hard truths I had to learn – and something many people still refuse to acknowledge – is that the LGBTQ community has always been splintered and separated. I made it a point to nurture friendships with young gay people, mostly people of color. Most of my gay and bi friends attended venues that attracted people like me, where nightlife was flourishing and the creative community thrived. We saw diverse venues like David’s Loft in Manhattan, the first private dance club, as well as Andre’s, Jays, and the Big Apple in Harlem, all catering to people of color. I saw the 70’s as a “Golden Age” of gay life and freedom of self-expression.
Overwhelmed with a thirst for knowledge and enthusiasm to discover more about the LGBTQ experience, I moved to Berlin, Germany, in 1979. I was influenced by many Black figures who paved the way, including Josephine Baker, Richard Wright, and James Baldwin. Moving to another country allowed me to escape racial disparities back home.
I was emboldened to continue advocating for LGBTQ people of color, which became crucial as we were hit with the HIV/AIDS epidemic. As a result of attending so many funerals weekly, I became exhausted and fearful for my own health. I moved back to the U.S., making the best of my time in the Midwest professionally, but also prioritized being an advocate for HIV/AIDS and the LGBTQ community as a whole.
Together, gays and lesbians organized community events, prepared meals, and initiated housing projects for suffering people who had been on the street. Fundraisers were held to raise money for those in need. Organizations like AmfAR (the Foundation for Aids Research) made their debut, as well as the drag ball Night of a Thousand Gowns and the Design Industry Foundation for AIDS. The late great Larry Kramer founded Gay Men’s Health Crisis and ACT UP, two organizations that changed the narrative in New York City and the world, invoking lifesaving solutions and resources for the LGBTQ community.
In 1995, the introduction of protease inhibitors – drugs that impede the spread of the virus – added longevity to a generation that did not expect to survive.
Returning to New York in the early 2000s and having reached my 50th birthday, I began to think about how I was beginning this stage in my life. My generation of LGBTQ folks have now become elders, with organizations like SAGE helping us age with dignity.
As we age, there are challenges in housing, healthcare, and other life support systems for our cohort. Many of us do not have families and face discrimination and isolation because of our sexual orientation, making LGBTQ elder support groups critical. I remain an advocate for older adults so we can keep our independence as we age.
As I continue to share my experiences before and after 50 years of Stonewall activism, I age with pride and dignity.
Alston Green is a longtime activist and fighter in social justice and LGBTQ movements. A creative thinker and a passionate spokesperson, Alston has worked with the Intergenerational Media Literacy program with Senior Planet (OATS) and SAGE – two organizations that offer aging adults an opportunity to explore, learn, mingle and renew their passions, to keep abreast of the ever changing world of digital technology and how it impacts everyone’s lives daily.
In the dazzling spectacle of Black History Month, we strut down the runway of celebration, draped in the richness of our heritage.
But wait, cue the music, because, for some of us, there’s an unexpected wardrobe malfunction – the clash of being both Black and queer. Let’s unpack this sartorial crisis, shall we?
Queer and Black: a double whammy of fabulousness
As we revel in the glory of Blackness, let’s not forget the glittering rhinestones that adorn the Queer community. But, darling, statistics paint a rather somber picture.
In the vibrant tapestry of Black identity, the intersectionality of being both Black and Queer adds layers of complexity to one’s self-discovery and societal acceptance.
As we immerse ourselves in the month that proudly celebrates Blackness, it becomes imperative to delve into the profound duality experienced by individuals navigating both realms of identity. A 2019 report from the Human Rights Campaign revealed that 44% of Black LGBTQ+ youth seriously consider suicide. That’s a statistic that should make even the sturdiest wig stand on end.
Breaking chains or forging shackles? The identity crisis drama
Society loves to play director, casting us into roles that don’t quite fit our script. Enter the unnecessary identity crisis – a showstopper that leaves us questioning our very existence.
During a month dedicated to the celebration of Black history, there’s an undeniable surge of pride that resonates within the Black community. It’s a time to honor the resilience, achievements, and rich cultural heritage that define the essence of being Black.
However, for those who are also proudly queer, this celebration can evoke a sense of conflict, as societal norms often impose restrictive expectations on the coexistence of these identities.
It’s like being told you can’t pair red wine with fish. Well, excuse me while I enjoy my Merlot with a side of salmon and societal norms with a pinch of skepticism.
Navigating the healing runway
Societal pressures can instigate an unnecessary identity crisis, compelling individuals to question their authenticity and belonging within their own community.
The struggle arises from external prejudices and internalized notions that suggest a paradox between being Black and queer. This conflict can lead to feelings of isolation, self-doubt, and a desperate quest for acceptance, hindering the celebration of the holistic self.
How do we mend these fabulous but frayed seams of identity? First up, affirmation – because darling, you’re a masterpiece, not a discount rack find. Surround yourself with a squad that gets it; share stories, laugh, and slay together.
Educate the masses – our existence is not an avant-garde concept; it’s a reality. As the wise Beyoncé once said, “Your self-worth is determined by you. You don’t have to depend on someone telling you who you are.”
Promoting inclusivity: the runway remix
The Black community has its own runway, but it’s time to extend that catwalk to all its fabulous members.
Advocate for inclusivity. Because diversity isn’t just a buzzword; it’s the key to a more vibrant and united community. It’s time to hijack the runway, darling. Black community, listen up – the catwalk is long, but it’s time we expand it to embrace all the fierce folks in our midst.
Inclusivity is not just a slogan; it’s a revolution, and we’re the damn generals.
As we twirl in the spotlight of Black History Month, let’s set this stage on fire. Let’s not just rewrite the script; burn it and dance on the ashes. We’re Black, we’re Queer, and we’re fabulous AF. Embrace the complexity, challenge the norms, and let’s leave this read not just inspired but ready to throw down. It’s time to break these damn chains and own our narrative.
Strut into the spotlight
So, in this Black History Month, let’s rewrite the script. Let’s dance to the rhythm of our own fabulous beat. As we celebrate our Blackness, let’s remember that being queer is not a costume change; it’s a dazzling layer of authenticity.
As we navigate the duality of being both Black and queer, the journey toward healing involves breaking free from societal constraints and embracing the full spectrum of one’s identity. In the month dedicated to celebrating Blackness, let us strive for a community that recognizes and cherishes the richness found in every intersection of identity.
Through understanding, dialogue, and collective empowerment, we can foster an environment where every Black individual, regardless of their sexual orientation, feels seen, heard, and celebrated. Embrace the complexity, challenge the norms, and strut into the spotlight as the unapologetically fabulous intersectional beings we are.
Just 172 days remain until France hosts the Summer Games in the famed City of Light. Questions also remain about whether all the colors of the Pride flag will be inclusively illuminated when the Olympics return to Paris for the first time in a century.
The Los Angeles Blade has compiled this brief guide to the major areas of interest, with the intent to preview what queer fans can expect from this year’s event:
How many out LGBTQ athletes will be representing both their countries and their identities and orientations
Restrictions on out transgender athletes and
What the International Olympic Committee is saying — so far — about athletes displaying Pride flags and rainbow colors.
All of this is very subject to change before July 26, the opening day of the Summer Games.
At the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing, 36 out athletes competed among the 2,871 entered into competition, as the Blade reported. If the LGBTQ athletes were counted as one team, they would have placed 12th in terms of medal count.
That set a record, although the numbers couldn’t compare to the last Summer Games, the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo — which were held in 2021 because of the pandemic. A historic showing in those Summer Games featured 186 out athletes, who would have ranked 11th in the medal tally if grouped together.
Sha’Carri Richardson, the fastest woman in the world, will represent Team USA at the Summer Games. As the Blade reported last August, Richardson set a world record for the 100m by crossing the finish line in 10.65 seconds. She identifies as bisexual.
Robbie Manson, the gay rower for New Zealand, announced he qualified for Paris last September. And, to the delight of many, has remained active on OnlyFans as well, reported Out. Manson came out in 2014.
Emma Twigg will also be competing as a rower in Paris, defending the Olympic gold medal she won in Tokyo in 2021, according to Stuff. Twigg is gay, married to her wife, Charlotte, and together they have a son, Tommy, born in 2022.
Campbell Harrison of Australia announced on Instagram in November that he qualified to compete in the category of rock climbing for the Summer Games. He came out as gay in 2021.
Yulimar Rojas holds a world record in triple jump and was an Olympic champion in Tokyo and has already qualified to represent Venezuela in track and field in Paris. Rojas told Infobae she dreams of being “the first to open the gap of 16 [meters,] it’s like another galaxy.”
Kadeisha Buchanan will lead Team Canada in their defense of their Gold Medal for Women’s Soccer in her third appearance at the Games this summer, as Humber News reported.
Sadly, it looks as though Australia and Chelsea soccer star Sam Kerr is likely to miss Paris, because of a ruptured ACL. She suffered the knee injury during training three weeks ago in Morocco, reports the official Olympics website.
There are several other LGBTQ athletes who are likely to qualify. Review the Official 2024 Olympics calendar of qualifiers by clicking here. The Blade will keep you posted as we learn more.
The International Olympic Committee decided after the last Summer Games to issue a new “Framework for Fairness” in November 2021, which basically punted decisions on inclusion to individual sports organizations. As the Blade reported in June 2022, the International Swimming Federation, once known as FINA and now World Aquatics, decided that trans athletes must have completed their medical transition before the age of 12 to avoid “unfair advantages.”
Laurel Hubbard, a weightlifter from New Zealand, was the first out trans athlete to compete at any Olympic Games. She made history in Tokyo, but her performance in the women’s +87kg category wasn’t what got her name into the record books. At 43, Hubbard was the oldest competitor at the 32nd Olympic Games, and after three unsuccessful lift attempts, her participation was reduced to an abduction that did not last more than 10 minutes. Given the new rules, she won’t be back in 2024.
Following World Aquatics’ lead, Union Cycliste Internationale — the organizers of World Cycling in Switzerland — the Disc Golf Pro Tour, World Athletics, the British Triathlon Federation and the International Rugby League have changed or adopted new “transgender participation policies” that effectively ban trans women from competing with cisgender women.
World Aquatics has since added a new “open category” in which anyone can compete, aimed at providing a way for trans swimmers to compete. But since only cisgender women can compete in the category that is designated for “women,” advocates for trans athletes consider that discriminatory. NCAA Division I Champion Lia Thomas has challenged World Aquatics at Court for Arbitration for Sport, as the Blade has reported.
As has been a tradition at almost every Olympics — the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, being the most memorable exception — Paris will have a Pride House. “A space that will be open to everyone, where it will be possible to celebrate its community and its pride,” according to the official website.
The Pride House will be set up at Parc de la Villette, “just a short distance from competition venues such as the La Chapelle Arena, Stade de France and even La Concorde,” the site explains.
Symbols of Pride
Beyond the Pride House and other “protected” locations in Paris, the International Olympic Committee has told the LGBTQ sports site Outsportsthat it is committed to ensuring all athletes “have equal opportunities to express themselves” by holding up Pride flags or other rainbow apparel in line with the recently revised wording to its Olympic Charter and updated guidelines for participants.
You can read the changes to the charter, enacted in October 2023, by clicking here. Unchanged is the fundamental principle that “the practice of sport is a human right.”
The IOC said assessments will continue to be made on a “case-by-case” basis, according to the report.
The 2024 Paralympic Games are set for Aug. 28 through Sept, 8, and LGBTQ+ athletes are again expected to compete. Click here for more information about those games.
Bisexual and pansexual figure skater Amber Glenn won the U.S. women’s figure skating championship on Jan. 26, becoming the first queer woman to take the gold medal.
“Being the first openly queer women’s champion is incredible,” said Glenn in a post-competition interview with NBC Sports. She reflected on what’s changed since her coming out in 2019. “When I came out initially, I was terrified. I was scared it would affect my scores or something, but I didn’t care. It was worth it to see the amount of young people who felt more comfortable in their environments at the rink.”
To celebrate her historic victory, Glenn posed for photographers with the gold medal around her neck and the Progress Pride flag held high and proud above her shoulders.
Glenn, 24, won the silver medal in 2021 and the bronze last year. At the beginning of her free skate routine on Friday, she landed a complicated triple Axel, but then Glenn slipped-up two major jumps.
Defending champion Isabeau Levito also struggled, falling three times during her own routine. In the end, Glenn finished with 210.46 points to win the title. Silver medalist Josephine Lee scored 204.13 points and Levito’s 200.68 points earned her the bronze.
Given she had a rough go in this, her ninth competition, she told NBC she was in “utter shock” to have beaten Levito for the title.
“I know that both Isabeau and I are capable of so much more, but just the shock that all my hard work has paid off and the realization of what more I can do,” she said.
That hard work started with her recovery from a concussion and broken bone around her eye, suffered when she collided with another skater at the beginning of her season.
On Instagram, Glenn’s sponsor called the victory a win not just for her but “for the LGBTQ+ community.”
“I don’t have to try and hide the sight of me,” said Glenn. “Just because you have this aspect doesn’t mean you can’t be a top athlete.”
Amber Glenn claims her first U.S figure skating title in dramatic fashion | NBC Sports
Although only announced now, the CAS statement published Friday reveals arbitration proceedings began confidentially last September. News of the challenge was first published by the U.K. news outlet, The Telegraph.
According to the CAS, Thomas’ attorney — Carlos Sayao of the law firm Tyr, based in Toronto — conceded that “fair competition is a legitimate sporting objective and that some regulation of transgender women in swimming is appropriate.”
But then Tyr went on to argue why the CAS should declare the World Aquatics policy is “unlawful, invalid, and of no force and effect.”
“Ms. Thomas submits that the Challenged Provisions are invalid and unlawful as they discriminate against her contrary to the Olympic Charter, the World Aquatics Constitution, and Swiss law including the European Convention on Human Rights and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women; and that such discrimination cannot be justified as necessary, reasonable, or proportionate to achieve a legitimate sporting objective.”.
Sayao is himself a former elite-level competitive swimmer who won a silver medal for Canada at the World University Games in 2001 and also competed in the 2002 Commonwealth Games and the 2003 World Aquatics Championships.
He told The Telegraph the World Aquatics’ policy changes constituted a “trans ban.”
“She’s bringing the case for herself and other trans women to ensure that any rules for trans women’s participation in sport are fair, proportionate and grounded in human rights and in science,” Sayao stated to the Telegraph.
Thomas is now a law student at Drexel University who swam for the University of Pennsylvania women’s team after starting her gender transition in 2019.
She was crowned the first trans NCAA Division I individual champion after winning the 500-yard freestyle at the Swimming and Diving Championships in Atlanta in March 2022.
International Cricket Council bans trans players from women’s cricket
Sport is popular throughout South Asia
Published1 month ago
onDecember 28, 2023
The International Cricket Council has imposed a ban on transgender players from international women’s cricket if the player has gone through male puberty.
The elite council, in a statement, said it has decided after an extensive scientific review and a 9-month consultation, to “protect the integrity of the international women’s cricket matches, safety, fairness and inclusion.”
“The new policy is based on the following principles (in order of priority), protection of the integrity of the women’s game, safety, fairness and inclusion, and this means any male to female participants who have been through any form of male puberty will not be eligible to participate in the international women’s game regardless of any surgery or gender reassignment treatment they may have undertaken,” reads the ICC statement. “The review, which was led by the ICC Medical Advisory Committee chaired by Dr. Peter Harcourt, relates solely to gender eligibility for international women’s cricket, whilst gender eligibility at domestic level is a matter for each individual Member Board, which may be impacted by local legislation. The regulations will be reviewed within two years.”
Cricket is one of the biggest sports in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka with a fan base of 2.5 billion people around the world.
The ICC started the first women’s World Cup in 1973. The Board of Control for Cricket in India is the richest cricket board in the world, worth $2.25 billion. The BCCI in 2023 alone made $3.77 billion from the inaugural season of the Women’s Premier League. A huge population of trans people lives in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and other major countries that participate in international cricket matches, but the new policy change has created a blowback for the community.
Danielle McGahey, a trans cricketer from Australia, confirmed after the ban came into effect that her career as a cricketer is over.
“Following the ICC’s decision, it is with a very heavy heart that I must say that my international cricketing career is over. As quickly as it begun, it must now end,” said McGahey on her Instagram page. “While I hold my opinions on the ICC’s decision, they are irrelevant. What matters is the message being sent to millions of trans women today, a messaging say that we don’t belong.”
McGahey also said that she will not stop fighting for equality in sports.
She is the first transgender woman cricketer to take part in an official international match when she represented Canada in a T20 match against Brazil. She previously played for men’s club cricket in Melbourne before moving to Canada in 2020.
Although the ban has shattered many hopes and dreams, the ICC statement confirms each country can decide eligibility for trans cricketers in domestic games.
The Washington Blade reached out to India’s BCCI for reaction and response on the future of trans cricketers in India, but the board did not immediately respond.
The Blade also reached out to the Australian Cricket Board and South African Cricket Board but did not receive a comment. The Blade sought comment from Sports Minister Anurag Thakur and MP Rajiv Shukla, a former IPL chair, but both declined to respond.
“It is very unfortunate, and I am really disappointed with the decision of ICC, which is excluding transgender people because when we talk about human rights or legal rights, transgender people deserve to be in all parts of the society,” said Kalki Subramaniam, a trans activist, queer artist and motivational speaker based in India. “Especially in sports trans people deserve to play. It is a huge disappointment for us to know that ICC has banned transgender people. There is no need to do that and ICC should review their policy. While Indian army is considering (whether) to recruit transgender people, why would the ICC do the opposite.”
Kalki told the Blade the ICC statement does not justify the exclusion, especially trans women as it excludes trans women as categorized as women.
While talking to the Blade, Nilufer, a trans activist who represents the Mumbai-based Humsafar Trust, said there is constant discrimination happening in sports not only in India but around the world in athletics against trans women. She also said the ICC ban is discriminatory against the community, not only for trans Indian cricketers but for the entire world.
Ankush Kumar is a reporter who has covered many stories for Washington and Los Angeles Blades from Iran, India and Singapore. He recently reported for the Daily Beast. He can be reached at [email protected]. He is on Twitter at @mohitkopinion.
The National Football League (NFL) will once again host A Night of Pride event during Super Bowl week, leaving bigots up in arms.
The third annual A Night of Pride with GLAAD, presented by Smirnoff, will be held on 7 February ahead of the Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas four days later.
It will be an evening of music, cocktails and interview-style conversations with GLAAD, including a panel on how inclusion in sports advances acceptance for LGBTQ people, and will feature a special live performance by singer-songwriter VINCINT.
GLAAD president and chief executive Sarah Kate Ellis said: “[Our] partnership with the NFL is committed to creating spaces where all fans can celebrate, and to growing important visibility for LGBTQ fans at the Super Bowl and all season long.
“The third annual A Night of Pride, at Super Bowl LVIII, will spotlight LGBTQ leaders in sports as we work to create safe and inclusive sports environments for our community.”
Jonathan Beane, the league’s senior vice-president and chief diversity and inclusion officer, added: “Our third annual Night of Pride with GLAAD is yet another strong step to accelerating acceptance and demonstrating the NFL’s unwavering support of the LGBTQ community.
“We look forward to continuing and strengthening our efforts to ensure football is for everyone.”
News of the event was met by anti-LGBTQ+ fans predictably promising a boycott, with the night being labelled ‘woke’.
“NFL being lost to wokeness,” one anonymous social media user claimed.
Another keyboard warrior wrote: “More like a night of watching something else,” while a third grumbled: “No one will watch or be there.”
However, not all the reaction was negative.
A number of LGBTQ+ fans and allies came out to praise the event and poke fun at those who were outraged by it.
“I hope everyone who goes has a great time and I wish all the homophobes in the comments a miserable day,” one person wrote.
Another said: “As a queer football fan, thank you. This means so much.”
And as a third pointed out: “Human rights isn’t wokeness. If you live your life without having to care about racial or LGBTQ+ equality, then you are privileged. Educate yourselves.”
A fourth, more humorous take, read: “You dudes are so f**king soft, I swear. Ninety per cent of the dudes commenting ‘ew’ can’t even afford the flight ticket to Las Vegas, so just relax.”
This is not the first time LGBTQ+ inclusion in sport has prompted a backlash from homophobes and transphobes.
Last summer, the LA Dodgers faced protests after the baseball team hosted the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence at its Pride event.
The drag collective were invited to appear at the Los Angeles club’s 10th annual Pride Night before officials backtracked on the offer after facing criticism from religious groups – only to U-turn again and reinstate the invite after facing a further backlash from LGBTQ+ fans.
An estimated 150,000 people are expected to travel to Nevada for Super Bowl LVIII, which is the championship game of the NFL’s 2023 season. Last year’s Super Bowl attracted a US TV audience of more than 115 million.
Transgender swimmer Lia Thomas has been quietly mounting a legal battle against World Aquatics to overturn the swimming governing body’s effective ban on most trans women competing in the highest levels of the sport, a lawyer representing Thomas confirmed to NBC News on Friday.
Carlos Sayao, a partner at top Canadian law firm Tyr, said Thomas is asking the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Switzerland to overturn the new World Aquatics rules, issued in June 2022, that prohibit trans women from competing in women’s swimming events unless they transitioned before age 12.
The U.K.’s Telegraph was the first to report on Thomas’ behind-closed-doors legal challenge in an article published Thursday evening. Details of Thomas’ challenge, which The Telegraph reported began in September, were not made public previously because cases brought before the Court of Arbitration for Sport are meant to be kept confidential by all parties involved.
The new rules, which would effectively bar trans women from competing in women’s swimming events at the Olympics, came several months after Thomas, then a student at the University of Pennsylvania, made history by becoming the first openly transgender woman to win an NCAA swimming championship. And in May 2022, Thomas told ABC News’ “Good Morning America” that it’s been a lifelong goal of hers to compete in the Olympics.
Thomas made global headlines for her NCAA win and became the face — and often conservative media’s punching bag — of the worldwide debate over whether trans women should compete in women’s sports.
Sayao confirmed his comments to The Telegraph regarding the rules imposed by World Aquatics, which he called “discriminatory” and said caused “profound harm to trans women.”
“Trans women are particularly vulnerable in society and they suffer from higher rates of violence, abuse and harassment than cis women,” he told the British newspaper.
Sayao declined to comment further.
World Aquatics and the Court of Arbitration for Sport did not immediately return requests for comment.
What happens when these discriminatory policies force LGBTQ+ people to move to more supportive enclaves, which also have some of the most expensive housing in the country and highest per capita rates of homelessness? This question is particularly salient for LGBTQ+ adolescents and young adults who often lack social, familial, and financial support.
Discriminatory bills include those that limit gender-affirming care, require schools to notify parents about children’s preferred pronouns, and Florida’s infamous ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill. In 2023, nearly 100,000 transgender adolescents ages 13-17 live in states that have banned access to healthcare, sports, or school bathrooms; one-third of transgender youth live in states where gender-affirming care is banned or severely limited.
States like California,Washington, New York, and Massachusetts rank high on LGBTQ+ equality, and continue passing bills to strengthen LGBTQ+ rights (e.g., all-gender restrooms, transgender adolescents’ privacy, foster care). These states also have expensive housing markets and high levels of homelessness. While supportive policies are imperative to counteract the discriminatory legislation enacted nationwide, progressive states must also develop policies and programs to support LGBTQ+ adolescents who are being forced to move there to access healthcare and maintain their physical and mental wellbeing. This can include set-aside funding for LGBTQ+ youth-specific housing subsidies and services and the further integration of housing agencies, government services, and community organizations that serve LGBTQ+ adolescents. We must ensure that LGBTQ+ youth who flee to more inclusive states can build a healthy and full life without fear of housing insecurity.
A 2023 Human Rights Campaign Survey among 14,000 LGBTQ+ adults nationwide asked if people would move, have already moved away or have taken steps to move from a state that passed a gender-affirming care ban: Thirty-four percent of LGBTQ+ adults and 53% of transgender and non-binary adults said they would move. While some LGBTQ+ adolescents have parents with the financial means, and desire, to leave discriminatory states, not all are so lucky: some young adults must move on their own even without social and financial support. Currently, 30% of the homelessness population, and 50% of those experiencing unsheltered homelessness, are in California; it also has the second highest average home price and third most expensive rental prices in the country.
I have worked with LGBTQ+ adolescents for nearly 20 years and have seen the detrimental impact that discriminatory policies have on all aspects of their health. While people may argue that these young people should remain in their home state, LGBTQ+ adolescents in discriminatory environments are more likely to experience bullying, poor mental health, housing and employment discrimination, and physical violence. These outcomes cause poor health and are also known risk factors for homelessness and housing instability. This suggests that the recent and continued uptick in discriminatory policies will continue to force LGBTQ+ adolescents and young adults to flee discriminatory states, while simultaneously putting them at risk for housing instability.
For more than 50 years, states like California, New York, and Washington have been a refuge for LGBTQ+ individuals who felt unsafe in their homes, cities, and states. I am proud to live in a state like California that has historically welcomed LGBTQ+ individuals. As voters, we must demand policies and programs that extend this welcome to LGBTQ+ young people who are currently under attack. To maximize their health, and give them the future they deserve, we must ensure that housing and related services are available and affordable to LGBTQ+ adolescents and young adults fleeing discriminatory states.
Morgan Philbin is an associate professor in the UCSF Department of Medicine, and a Public Voices Fellow on homelessness with the OpEd Project in partnership with the UCSF Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative.