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27 LGBTQ+ Sports Legends Who Dominated Their Field
Who are you rooting for?
Over the course of decades, LGBTQ+ athletes have represented their nations around the world at international sporting events. The accomplishments of queer people across multiple disciplines are remarkable and we're here to celebrate them...especially as states and sports leagues look to restrict trans athletes.
Here are 27 notable LGBTQ+ athletes from around the world who've made their mark.
Sport: Figure Skating
Rippon, who is gay, won a bronze media at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea as a part of the U.S. team for the figure skating team event. He retired from competitive figure skating that year.
Sport: Foil fencing
Guyart was part of the French fencing Olympic team that won silver in 2021.
Billie Jean King
This athletic legend is a former world number-one tennis player. She won 39 major titles: 12 in singles, 16 in women's doubles, and 11 in mixed doubles.
At 6 foot 9, she towers over most people. As a WNBA All-Star and Olympic Medalist, she is one of the most well-known women to play the sport. In 2022, she was wrongfully detained in Russia for nearly ten months before she was released in December as part of a prisoner swap.
She earned an Olympic gold medal for her outstanding decathlon performance at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal.
In 2021, he became the first out gay NFL player to play in a game. He currently plays for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, where he is an outside linebacker.
After beginning his transition in 2010, he earned a spot in 2015 on Team USA's sprint duathlon men's team for the following year's world championship, making him the first out person to join a U.S. national team different from their sex assigned at birth.
He earned the 2012 Olympic individual all-around bronze medal and the 2016 Olympic parallel bars and horizontal bar silver medal.
Sport: Mixed Martial Arts
She earned five wins and one loss. Three of those wins were by knock-out.
He earned four Olympic gold medals and one silver medal at three Olympic Summer Games between 1976 and 1988.
Sport: Freestyle Skiing
He earned a silver medal in slopestyle skiing during the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.
In 1995 he became the first high-profile Australian athlete and first rugby player in the world to come out as gay.
At the end of the 2012-13 season, Collins became a free agent and in 2014 became the first out athlete to play in any of the major professional U.S. sports leagues.
In 2012, Lohman helped launch an organization aimed at helping LGBTQ+ athletes become comfortable with themselves in sports called GO! Athletes which is now defunct.
The British-American athlete and psychologist was awarded an OBE, or Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, title by Queen Elizabeth II.
Sport: Figure skating
He appears regularly alongside fellow figure skating legend Tara Lipinski on NBC for special events coverage and Olympic figure skating commentary.
Sport: Ice Hockey
In 2021, he came out as the first professional NHL athlete to be out and play the game.
In early 2023, the legendary athlete revealed that she was being treated for breast and throat cancer.
She has been the face of equality in soccer, including advocating for the same pay and benefits for women in the sport as men in soccer receive.
He became the first out NFL player drafted to a team, famously kissing his boyfriend on camera when the news broke (and receiving backlash from some corners of American society).
Michelle Lee Ahye
Sport: Track and Field Sprinter
She won first place for the 100 meter dash during the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Patricio Pat Manuel
In 2018, he became the first out transgender person to have a professional fight — a bout that he won.
He is a devout Catholic, married to his husband with whom he has two children.
He played for the Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots before retiring from the sport and launching an eponimous foundation that gives scholarships to LGBTQ+ youth.
She was the first player signed in the WNBA.
Drafted by the Seattle Storm, where she played her entire career as the first overall pick in the 2002 WNBA draft, she is thought to be one of the greatest players in the history of the WNBA.
Sport: Platform Diving
Married to Hollywood producer and writer Dustin Lance Black, the couple is raising a son. Daley is a prolific knitter.