Blythe Hastings ’23
At least 34 openly LGBTQ+ athletes will participate in the 2022 Beijing Olympic Games. The number has nearly doubled since the 2018 Pyeongchang Games, and overall Olympic LGBTQ+ visibility has increased dramatically. A record setting 186 out LGBTQ+ athletes participated in the Tokyo Summer Olympics in 2021. At the start of the Olympic Games, there will be at least 34 openly LGBTQ+ athletes competing in nine different sports. These athletes represent 14 countries, including the United States. Notably, Timothy LeDuc will be the first openly non-binary athlete to compete in the Winter Olympic Games. While 31 countries have legalized same-sex marriage, at least four LGBTQ+ Olympic Athletes are legally not allowed to marry in their home countries, including Italian figure skater Filippo Ambrosini, Armenian ice dancer Simon Proulx Sénécal, Czech snowboarder Sarka Pancochova, and Czech hockey player Aneta Lédlová. The 2022 Beijing Winter Games will be the first Olympics under the International Olympic Committee’s new framework on Fairness, Inclusion, and Non-Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity and Sex Variations, which was published in November 2021. This framework, put in place to foster gender equity and equality in professional sports competition, offers different criteria and policy for athletic governing bodies to ensure that there is no exclusion based on gender identity or sex in elite competition and all athletes are treated fairly. The Olympics have had inclusion policies, such as guidelines for transgender athletes, in all Olympic sports since 2004, however the IOC’s new framework reflects comprehensive, up-to-date policy research that was conducted in collaboration with Athlete Ally and more than 250 athletes and stakeholders, including medical and legal professionals and human rights advocates.
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