Boston Marathon has announced that trans people will be able to compete in its next run.
The organisers of the event have come forward to say that they will “take people at their word” and allow competitors to define their gender however they see fit.
“We take people at their word. We register people as they specify themselves to be,” said Tom Grilk, chief of the Boston Athletic Association, the group behind the race to ABC News.
“Members of the LGBT community have had a lot to deal with over the years, and we’d rather not add to that burden.”
At least five openly transgender women are signed up to compete in the 26.2 mile feat through the Massachusetts city.
And is it not just Boston that is taking a more inclusive approach when it comes to running.
Organizers of the Chicago, New York City, London and Los Angeles marathons have also said that they will allow competitors to compete regardless of gender identity.
Although for trans competitors who haven’t legally changed their gender, there still might be a final hurdle when it comes to competing.
Runners are required to submit ID at the registration desk prior to competing in a marathon, which could throw up problems for those who have not legally changed their gender.
“To be able to experience it as me was really, really important,” said Stevie Romer, a trans Boston Marathon competitor to ABC News.
“I’ve been a runner since as long as I can remember. I love running, but I just happen to be transgender.”
There are a lot of misconceptions about trans people competing in sport – the most recent case of this saw the Australian Weightlifting Federation attempt to block trans weightlifter Laurel Hubbard from competing – which can stigmatise trans competitors.
In reality, the likes of testosterone blockers can put trans competitors at a disadvantage in the sport, especially with side effects such as dehydration and dizziness affecting those on testosterone blockers.
Boston Marathon is the world’s oldest annual marathon.
The event attracts around 500,000 spectators each year, with elite competitors who have reached a certain qualifying time selected to compete.
Former LSU running back Derrius Guice said in an interview Wednesday that one NFL team asked about his sexuality and another inquired if his mother was a prostitute at the NFL Scouting Combine that concluded earlier this week.
‘’It was pretty crazy,” Guice said in an interview on the SiriusXM NFL show Late Hits. “Some people are really trying to get in your head and test your reaction. I go in one room, and a team will ask me do I like men, just to see my reaction. I go in another room, they’ll try to bring up one of my family members or something and tell me, ‘Hey, I heard your mom sells herself. How do you feel about that?’”
NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy said in an email to USA TODAY Sports Thursday that the league is “looking into the matter.” “A question such as that is completely inappropriate and wholly contrary to league workplace policies,” McCarthy said. “The NFL and its clubs are committed to providing equal employment opportunities to all employees in a manner that is consistent with our commitment to diversity and inclusion, state and federal laws and the CBA.
The Human Rights Campaign reacts:
“The fact that Derrius Guice was asked by an NFL team — and a prospective employer — about his sexual orientation is absurd and inappropriate,” said HRC Director of Public Education and Research, Ashland Johnson. “With similar incidents already reported, it’s clear that the NFL did not do enough to prevent it from happening again. Guice’s experience illustrates the risks faced by millions of LGBTQ people today in employment, athletics, housing and other areas of their lives. It’s why we need swift action to condemn these kinds of practices and to fight for passage of the Equality Act to ensure comprehensive nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people. The NFL should take serious actions that address these unacceptable incidents and the perpetuation of an unwelcoming anti-LGBTQ environment, including publicly supporting the Equality Act.”
On Tuesday, Kenworthy tweeted screenshots of some particularly vile comments.
His post elicited a strong response from followers, as it illustrated that even one of the biggest celebrities from this year’s Olympics still has to deal with anti-gay attacks.
Former first daughter Chelsea Clinton expressed her sympathy on social media, telling the skier that the comments “reflect on the people making them, not you.”
Later in the day, Kenworthy received a response from YouTube’s official Twitter page, which said the company was “actively working” to remedy the situation.
“This is unacceptable, we’re so sorry these comments and notifications came through to you,” the tweet reads. “We’re actively working to fix this so you won’t see or be notified of abusive comments and exploring more ways to protect people from abusive comments overall.”
Kenworthy responded on Wednesday with some suggestions for the company’s screening policy, explaining that these slurs and hateful messages could have done serious damage to a younger, less confident version of himself.
Fox News executive vice president John Moody writes:
Unless it’s changed overnight, the motto of the Olympics, since 1894, has been “Faster, Higher, Stronger.” It appears the U.S. Olympic Committee would like to change that to “Darker, Gayer, Different.” If your goal is to win medals, that won’t work.
A USOC official was quoted this week expressing pride (what else?) about taking the most diverse U.S. squad ever to the Winter Olympics. That was followed by a, frankly, embarrassing laundry list of how many African-Americans, Asians and openly gay athletes are on this year’s U.S. team. No sport that we are aware of awards points – or medals – for skin color or sexual orientation.
For the current USOC, a dream team should look more like the general population. So, while uncomfortable, the question probably needs to be asked: were our Olympians selected because they’re the best at what they do, or because they’re the best publicity for our current obsession with having one each from Column A, B and C?
Adam Rippon, the first openly gay man to qualify for the U.S. Winter Olympics team, competes during the 2018 Prudential U.S. Figure Skating Championships in San Jose, Calif.
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
Adam Rippon, a 28-year-old figure skater, will be the first openly gay man to compete for the United States in the Winter Olympics.
Despite a disappointing fourth-place performance at the U.S. figure skating championships Saturday night, Rippon was selected to join Nathan Chen and Vincent Zhou in Pyeongchang next month.
“I’m really grateful that the selection committee looked at my body of work over the last two seasons,” Rippon told reporters on Sunday.
The committee’s decision wasn’t without controversy. Rippon’s selection edged out Ross Miner, who placed second in the national championship. U.S. Figure Skating President Sam Auxier said the athletes’ track records in international competitions were a deciding factor.
But for Rippon, who was the U.S. national champion in 2016, the road to Pyeongchang has been a long one. This year will be the 28-year-old’s Olympic debut — more than 80 years since an American man his age competed as a rookie, according to The Washington Post.
“I don’t really care what other people think of me. I’m able to go out there and I’m really able to be unabashedly myself,” he said. “I want somebody who’s young, who’s struggling, who’s not sure if it’s OK if they are themselves to know that it’s OK.”
And depending on how the roster for the U.S. ski team shapes up, Rippon may end up sharing his historic moment.
U.S. freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy came out publicly in 2015, a year after he took silver in the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Kenworthy will find out later this month whether he heads to Pyeongchang.
A third gay athlete, luger John Fennell, had also been vying for a spot on Team USA, but a sled malfunction slashed his chance at qualifying in December.
Figure skater Johnny Weir faced speculation about his sexuality while competing in 2006 and 2010, but he avoided questions on the matter. In 2011, he publicly confirmed that he was gay in his memoir, Welcome to My World.
Despite the gain in LGBTQ representation this winter, the Olympics contend with a dearth of openly queer athletes. The U.S. hasn’t sent an openly gay man to the Summer Olympics in 14 years — since equestrians Robert Dover and Guenter Seidel competed in 2004.
But come February, a global audience will get the chance to know Rippon, who’s built a reputation as an unapologetic, highly entertaining skater.
“A few weeks ago, I was asked in an interview … what was it like being a gay athlete in sports. And I said it’s exactly like being a straight athlete. Only with better eyebrows,” Rippon said.
FIFA’s anti-discrimination advisers are warning gay soccer fans going to the 2018 World Cup in Russia that displays of affection could be met with an aggressive response from intolerant locals.
Homosexuality was decriminalized in Russia in 1993, but anti-gay sentiment remains strong and intensified after a law was introduced in 2013 prohibiting dissemination to minors of “propaganda” legitimizing homosexuality.
As fans prepare their trips after Friday’s World Cup draw, the FARE network said it will produce a guide spelling out the threats to be prepared for in Russia.
“The guide will advise gay people to be cautious in any place which is not seen to be welcoming to the LGBT community,” FARE executive director Piara Powar said. “If you have gay fans walking down the street holding hands, will they face danger in doing so? That depends on which city they are in and the time of day.
“The guide will also include some detailed explanations of for example the actual situation of the LGBT community in Russia. It is not a crime to be gay but there is a law against the promotion of homosexuality to minors. Issues relating to the LGBT community are not part of the public discourse. Gay people have a place in Russia which is quite hidden and underground.”
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FARE, which monitors FIFA fixtures for discriminatory behavior, said it is unclear whether fans will be allowed to display rainbow flags inside stadiums.
“British and German fans’ groups have asked FIFA if they are OK to raise a rainbow flag inside the stadium,” Powar said. “FIFA has not really responded so far to say if this is something the security services will allow.”
FIFA diversity head Federico Addiechi said he has seen no written request from fan groups on whether gay pride flags can be unfurled.
“There’s nothing in the regulation from FIFA that prevents anyone from entering the stadiums with non-political messages,” Addiechi said.
FARE has also has long-standing concerns about the reception black and ethnic minority fans will face around games in Russia.
“Do go to the World Cup, but be cautious,” Powar said. “There are two elements to it — one towards people of color and other element is far-right nationalism. Far-right extremist groups have had around 300 people banned from attending the World Cup.
“After years of denial about racism Russian FA finally taking action, group under Alexei Smertin has been addressing the issue and fines have been issued.”
Research for the 2016-17 by FARE and Russia-based SOVA showed there were 89 racist and far-right incidents at Russian games, slightly below the two previous seasons.
Russian champion Spartak Moscow was punished by UEFA for monkey chants in a recent Youth League game against Liverpool. Spartak was also fined for discriminatory chants against fans from Russia’s North Caucasus in a domestic cup game last month.
Anti-discrimination observers will be deployed at the June 14-July 15 World Cup where matches can be stopped or abandoned if racism persists after warnings inside stadiums.
“The World Cup must be inclusive, respect human rights, must respect the rights of everyone including minorities,” Addiechi said. “We have the assurance from the Russian organizing committee and the Russian authorities that everyone will feel safe, comfortable and welcome in the country.”
Today, 17 professional athletes came out against attempts by Egypt and Russia to thwart non-discrimination protections based on sexual orientation in the United Nations Olympic Truce Resolution. The letter, endorsed by respected athletes such as Billie Jean King, Greg Louganis and Martina Navratilova, is part of the #OlympicSpirit campaign spearheaded by OutRight Action International and Athlete Ally. It calls on countries to ensure that sexual orientation remains grounds of protection in the Olympic peace agreement.
The Olympic Truce Resolution promotes civility among nations during the Olympics and the one week preceding and one week following the games. It is negotiated by all 193 United Nations Member States every two years. In 2015 it included, by unanimous consensus, a reference to Principle 6 of the Olympic Charter. Principle 6 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation at the Olympic Games.
Breanna Stewart, 2016 US Olympic basketball competitor, commented on the situation, saying, “Sport and society thrive when we embrace the diversity of our world. The Olympic spirit is grounded in inclusion, fair play and solidarity, and the explicit mention of Principle 6 within the Olympic Truce Resolution sends a clear message that we take these values seriously.””
This year, the inclusion of Principle 6 has come under attack, with States, such as Egypt and Russia, trying to remove all reference to Principle 6 from the Olympic Truce. Both countries have openly persecuted and criminalized lesbian, gay, and bisexual people at home and exported their homophobic agenda to the United Nations.
The letter released today emphasizes that, “At a moment when oppressed communities around the world remain under attack, we can’t afford to turn our back on our most vulnerable communities. Explicit reference to Principle 6 in the Olympic Truce Resolution sends a strong signal of our community’s support of respect, inclusion and diversity — values sport holds inherently close. Afterall, regardless of where in the world we practice sport, the rules are the same and apply to everyone. They are based on our shared values.”
Layshia Clarendon, a WNBA basketball star, also voiced her opinion on the inclusion of Principle 6, stating, “Athletes and fans deserve the opportunity to enjoy the Olympic Movement free of the fear of discrimination, and should have the ability to live openly and authentically — regardless of sexual orientation. I believe sports performance happens at its highest level when one feels unburdened and free to focus on their games. The explicit mention of Principle 6 within the Olympic Truce Resolution sends a clear message that we take inclusion seriously.”
Luckily, with thanks to cross-regional support and pushback from key Member States, the efforts of Egypt and Russia have so far failed and Principle 6 still remains in the Truce. However, there is still time for Egypt and Russia to thwart a consensus and challenge the inclusion of Principle 6 in the Olympic Truce.
Hudson Taylor, Founder and Executive Director, Athlete Ally, commented, “We’re witnessing the greatest expansion of athletic activism in modern history — never before have we seen athletes speaking out so regularly for the protection and inclusion of the LGBTQ community. Today, the athletic community stands with its LGBTQ constituents and commits to not being sidelined in the fight for equality.”
Seventeen professional athletes have signed on to the letter and reject any opposition by Egypt and Russia, as well as any other State, that is attempting to undermine the spirit of the Olympics. OutRight Action International and Athlete Ally stand with all the athletes in calling for public support of States to include reference to Principle 6 in the Olympic Truce.
A vote on the Olympic Truce Resolution will be made Nov. 13.
Jessica Stern, Executive Director of OutRight Action International, concludes, “Egypt and Russia are invested in promoting discrimination at the Olympics, undermining the very spirit of the games. Thankfully, there are other States which recognize that there is no place for discrimination at the Olympics. Today, we hear clearly from these Olympians that the Games is a place for friendly competition, athleticism, and diversity, not a place for politics and divisiveness.”
The Federation of Gay Games (FGG) General Assembly voting took place 30 October 2017 in Paris, France; Hong Kong is the 2022 Gay Games XI presumptive host city.
Site inspections of the three finalist cities took place June & July 2017 by a team of inspectors from Australia, Germany, Canada, and the USA. The team spent 3.5 days in each city, toured all venues and attended local supporter civic events.
The FGG expresses gratitude to the record number of 17 cities that expressed interest in 2022 Gay Games XI. Five of these cities made it to the semi-final round (Austin, TX, Dallas, TX, Denver, CO, Salt Lake City, UT, and San Francisco, CA). In the first phase, an additional nine cities had expressed interest: Cape Town, South Africa, Tel Aviv, Israel and USA cities Anaheim, CA, Atlanta, GA, Des Moines, IA, Los Angeles, CA, Madison, WI, Minneapolis, MN, and San Antonio, TX.
The impact that the Gay Games has in host cities is incredible in terms of culture, sport, economic impact, history and most importantly elevating all matters of LGBT+ equality.
Paris 2018 – Gay Games 10 takes place 4-12 August 2018, features 36 sports, 14 cultural events, academic conference and up to 15,000 participants from 70 countries. Paris2018.com.
Since 1982, the FGG mission promotes equality and is the largest sport and culture event in the world open to all. Its legacy changes social, and political attitudes towards LGBT+ people through the core principles of “Participation, Inclusion and Personal Best™”. The Gay Games was conceived by Dr. Tom Waddell, an Olympic decathlete, and was first held in San Francisco in 1982. Subsequent Gay Games are San Francisco (1986), Vancouver (1990), New York (1994), Amsterdam (1998), Sydney (2002), Chicago (2006), Cologne (2010), Cleveland+Akron (2014), and Paris (2018).
“Gay Games,” “Federation of Gay Games,” the interlocking circles device, and the phrase “Participation, Inclusion and Personal Best” are trademarks of the Federation of Gay Games, Inc. Trademarks are registered in the USA, Canada, Benelux, the UK, Germany, and Australia.
Competing in the National Women’s Hockey League, Browne often spoke openly about his transition and what it meant to him to hear his name announced on a loudspeaker.
“I’m still the same player, I’m still playing in the body that I did last year, I’m still the same exact person. I’m just a different name and different pronouns, that’s it. I’m still Brownie,” he told ESPN earlier this year.
“I want to start transitioning and seeing myself in the mirror the way I see on the inside,” he explained.
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“On the ice, when I put that equipment on, I’m a hockey player. I don’t think about who I’m playing with, I don’t think I’m playing with women. I don’t think I’m in the wrong body.
“Off the ice, I felt more comfortable having my friends call me what I wanted to be called, referring to me with the pronouns that I wanted. If anything, my product on the ice was let loose and I could be myself.”
Now, Browne has made the decision to halt his transition as he has been given the opportunity to sign with the New York Riveters, another NWHL team.
The league does not require players identify as female but states that they cannot be undergoing hormone therapy.
Talking in a video on YouTube, Browne explained that he was “really excited to be playing again”.
“So when I announced my retirement I was wholeheartedly ready to give it up but I decided to delay my transition another year. The reasoning behind why I wanted to keep playing is that I feel I have more to give and my game is still good,” he said.
Browne added that he didn’t feel he performed as well last season despite winning a championship and his work for the LGBTQ community. He also feels he needs to boost trans representation in light of transphobia in the US right now.
“The LGBTQ community and trans community has reached out to me. Parents and kids have reached out to me to say how important it is for them to have an active athlete in the media.
“I think if I stepped away from that I wouldn’t be doing the job that I can for young teens that are struggling. I think I can help more people if I stay active.
“I’m really going to be active I’m going to be a lot of LGBTQ organisations, groups and centres and volunteer my time. I’m excited to really embrace the sport and bring people into hockey and show that they are wanted. I’m really excited to keep playing and come back,” he added.