Cities around the world are currently filled with rainbow colors and marches. Yes, June is Pride Month! However, it is heartbreaking to know that LGBTQ communities continue to face discrimination and inferiority in some parts of the world.
It’s unfortunate when someone bravely presents themselves as unique but is labeled as shameless.’ One should be cautious because no two humans are alike; they each shine with their vibrant colors.
Keeping this in mind, anyone from anywhere in the world can participate in these marches and be a proud member of their family.
We will discuss eight legendary athletes who defied all social stereotypes to express their open views.
In sports, there are eight strong advocates for the LGBTQ community.
Before we present the LGBTQ athlete advocates in sports, we first present Brenda Howard, who is also known as the “Mother of Pride.”
Howard was the first to kick off Pride Month and the marches to promote equality and diversity.
To get you going, here’s an inspirational quote from South African activist and artist Zanele Muholi.
“Waiting for someone else to validate my existence means I’m shortchanging myself.” – Muholi, Zanele
Back here, we present you with the eight most powerful LGBTQ advocates in sports.
1. Adam Rippon (full name: Adam Rippon, moniker: America’s Sweetheart)
Rippon is a former figure skater with numerous awards and accomplishments to his name. His sense of humor and wit are also undeniably impressive.
It’s no surprise that people adore him! He has also been dubbed “America’s Sweetheart.” Adam Rippon is a proud member of the LGBTQ community who first came out as gay on October 2, 2015.
He is now the leading advocate and voice in sports for the LGBTQ community and his generation.
Not to mention that he has been involved in several ongoing projects. Rippon has contributed $40,000 to GLAAD’s LGBTQ youth programs, as well as a donation to the Okra Project.
Meanwhile, he served as an ambassador for the When We All Vote campaign. Similarly, he co-hosted the Trevor Project’s TrevorLive gala, which raised $2 million.
Rippon also appears in the film The Laramie Project, which depicts the 1998 murder of a gay boy, Matthew Shephard, during a hate crime.
Of course, all of his noteworthy contributions have earned him the Human Rights Campaign’s Visibility Award.
2. Megan Rapinoe (Fully named: Megan Anna Rapinoe, Nickname: Gumby)
Repine is a National Women’s Soccer League professional soccer player (NWSL). She is the only player in Olympic history to score directly from a corner.
Not to mention that she is the courageous captain of the United States women’s soccer team and an outspoken LGBTQ advocate.
She is also one of the industry’s biggest names, using her platform and name to promote equality for racism, gender, and sexuality.
She now supports several LGBTQ organizations, including the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) and Athlete Ally.
Megan also co-founded the gender-neutral lifestyle brand with athletes Christen Press, Tobin Heath, and Meghan Klingenberg in 2019.
Similarly, Megan and her girlfriend, Sue Bird, were on the cover of ESPN’s The Body Issue in 2018. They were the first same-sex couple to appear in the film.
For her efforts, she received the board of directors Award from the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center in 2013.
Aside from LGBTQ issues, she is the one who fought the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for equal pay for the women’s team.
3. Jason Collins (Fully named: Jason Paul Collins, Nickname: Set Shot Willy Twin)
Collins is a retired basketball player who played for the National Basketball Association for thirteen years (NBA). Collins came out as gay on the Sports Illustrated website on April 29, 2013, in a first-person story.
Collins was the first active male player in any of the four major men’s professional sports leagues to publicly declare himself gay at the time.
He also stated that his jersey number 98 was to represent the 1998 anti-gay hate murder crime.
He did receive a lot of support from his friends and family back then, but he didn’t reveal much about his personal life. He has also been a vocal advocate for LGBTQ equality and has chosen to express his views.
Collins was also featured on the cover of Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World” issue back in the day.
“All you can do is fight for what you believe in.” I’m much happier now that I’ve told my friends and family about my sexual orientation. It makes me happy to be genuine and honest.” -James Collins
4. Christopher Mosier
Chris Mosier is an American professional triathlete and the first openly gay man to compete for the United States National Team. He is also a strong supporter of transgender rights.
Chris previously demonstrated his eligibility to compete in the Duathlon Age Group World Championship Race as a transgender athlete. As a result, he is widely regarded as a change agent for transgender people.
He first came out in 2010 through The Advocate, an American LGBTQ+ publication.
He is also the first transgender athlete to appear in ESPN The Magazine’s “Body Issue.”
Chris is the founder of transathlete.com, as well as the vice president of You, Can Play. He is also a member of the Point of Pride Board of Directors as of 2019.
Mosier also serves as the Executive Director of GO! Athletes. He has worked on a variety of causes, including education, human rights, sports, and others. He is without a doubt one of the most outspoken advocates for the LGBTQ community in sports.
5. Joanna Lohman
Lohman is an American National Women’s Soccer League professional soccer player. She also served as the general manager of Washington Freedom Futures.
Similarly, she has published a book titled “Raising Tomorrow’s Champions: What the Women’s National Soccer Team Teaches Us About Grit, Authenticity, and Winning.”
Lohman and her ex-partner, Lianne Sanderson, founded the JiLo Academy in 2010. She also assisted in the formation of the GO! Athletes organization.
Meanwhile, she was running a US State Department program called “Girl Power,” which advocated for gender equality. She is currently the Vice President of Tenant Consulting, LLC.
6. Billie Jean King
Billie Jean King, the legendary former world number one tennis player, came out as a lesbian in 1981. Throughout her career, King was a member of the United States team that won seven Federation Cups and nine Wightman Cups.
Not to mention, she is the captain of the United States team in the Federation Cup.
King has been a leader in the fight for equality and social justice since her childhood and has spoken out on numerous occasions.
Currently, King is the founder of the Women’s Tennis Association as well as the Women’s Sports Foundation.
King has received the Presidential Medal of Freedom as well as the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award.
Furthermore, she is a well-known advocate for the LGBTQ community, particularly in sports.
7. Allums, Kye
Allums is a former college basketball player who made history by becoming the first openly transgender NCAA Division I college athlete in 2010. Kye presents himself as a transgender advocate, public speaker, mentor, and artist.
He has served as a mentor and leader to transgender youths throughout his career. Not to mention that he is the proponent of transgender rights and the founder of I Am Enough.
This foundation has assisted several transgender youths in coming forward to discuss their personal life experiences.
Aside from that, Kye is a supporter of HRC’s work. He is also a member of the National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame.
8. Michael Sam (Fully named: Michael Alan Sam Jr., Nickname: Mike)
Sam is a National Football League professional football player (NFL). Sam publicly came out as gay shortly after graduating from college, making him the first gay player (publicly) drafted into the NFL.
Sam has faced numerous challenges regarding his family and sexuality since his childhood. He is the first person in his family to attend college, which is a fun fact.
However, it is encouraging that he has a large number of supporters.
Today, Sam is a huge part of and one of many advocates for the LGBTQ community, particularly in sports. He has also appeared as the cover model for the gay magazine Attitude’s “All American.”
Check out the 30 athletes who proudly stood as members of the LGBTQ community if you’re interested!
In summary, we live in a society with predetermined “standards.” In other words, if anyone appears to be slightly different, people gossip about them and criticize them for being who they are.
It’s not a depressing thought, but rather the harsh reality! We have good news, once again, that not everyone is the same.
We have individuals who speak for everyone and even those who stand up for every one among us.
It’s not unusual to be able to stand out as “different” with these combinations. And when people talk about it, it’s just to pity themselves for not being able to stand out as bravely as you.