LGBTQ Representation at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics

Justin Singh

In the Rio Summer Olympics 2016, there were 56.
Pyeongchang Winter Olympics had only 16.
This year, Tokyo Summer Olympics 2020 has over 160.

Competing from all around the world, the amount of openly out olympians is almost triple the size of the previous summer olympics in Rio. Many of our favourite famous out olympians who created headlines and paved a way for more olympian athletes to come out will also be present, including Great Britain’s Tom Dailey (Diving) and USA’s Megan Rapinoe. These two are perhaps the most well-known figures to represent the LGBTQ community in the Olympic Games.

Tom Daley (Diving)

 Megan Rapinoe (Soccer)

USA’s Nick Wagman (Equestrian), another gay athlete, has been trying to reach the Olympics for quite a while now. He lives his life openly on social media, but has never commented about his sexuality to the media until the Olympics.

 Nick Wagman (Equestrian)

Similarly, Ireland’s Jack Woolley (Martial Arts), the first Irish TaeKwonDo Olympian, came out as Bisexual publicly through a documentary —“Road to Rio”— and has regretted that decision. He wishes that he wouldn’t be labelled as “the out athlete” but rather as “Ireland’s first Taekwondo olympian. Although he may not realize it yet, he is being a leader and example for current and future athletes alike.

 Jack Woolley (Martial Arts)

Although he may not realize it now, many of the out athletes in the Olympics are women. Men are outnumbered by women by about an 8-1 margin. More than 40 of the out female athletes are in Soccer as well. So being a model for someone to come out is a great achievement.

Many athletes, however, are out and proud to represent their community at the olympics. USA’s Raven Saunders put her arms in an ‘X’ position in the air in what she called an expression to show her support for all communities feeling oppression.

Raven Saunders (Shot Put)

If this weren’t enough, the Tokyo Olympics is also the first to include Trans Athletes.

Laurel Hubbard from New Zealand competes for the Women’s +87kg Weightlifting category. Hubbard has been competing in Women’s Weightlifting since 2017. Met with controversy, many people believe that Hubbard should not be competing in the Women’s category given the biological differences between men and women, and the fact that Hubbard was born male gives them reason to believe she would outclass the cisgender women also competing. Many others, including her home country, have showed nothing but support for Hubbard on her journey, and allowing her to compete is a great achievement for the Trans community. 

Laurel Hubbard (Weightlifting)

Hubbard isn’t the only openly Trans athlete to compete. Canada’s Quinn, a Trans non-binary athlete, competes with the Canadian Women’s soccer team. Quinn is also one of the first Trans olympians to win a medal at the Olympic games, let alone the gold medal in Women's Soccer. Congratulations to Quinn and the Canadian Women’s soccer team for their win in penalty shootout sudden death against Sweden.

Quinn (Soccer)

Tokyo 2020 Olympics has faced trials and tribulations, but under unique circumstances, has proven to be one of the most inclusive Olympic Games ever. Let’s hope this trend continues into 2022 and beyond. While queer representation is important, there also needs to be worldwide representation from people of all races and nationalities. Hopefully the representation this year can inspire a worldwide spark of equality and acceptance.

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