From showers to Sochi to Sam's sacks, 2014 was quite the year for LGBT athletes and fans. Here are some of our favorite moments for gay athletes and allies this year.
After penning the poetically genius open letter to Maryland state delegate Emmett C. Burns back in 2012, Chris Kluwe found himself in hot water with his then-NFL team, the Minnesota Vikings. Kluwe alleges he was discriminated against by the Vikings — specifically special teams coordinator Mike Priefer — for his pro-LGBT activism, and eventually released by the team for his outspokenness. Priefer served a three-game suspension after an internal investigation confirmed some of Kluwe’s allegations against him.
Prior to the start of the college football season, Arizona State backup offensive lineman Edward “Chip” Sarafin came out publicly as gay, making him the only active player in major college football to do so. As a redshirt, Sarafin had already earned his bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering prior to the season’s start, and he is currently pursuing a master’s degree in the same field. He is also studying for the MCATs and has taken on a number of football-related community outreach projects. As he told Compete, the magazine that first broke the story, “Someone who gives back to everyone, and loves his family … that is the type of man I want to be.”
Dale Scott, a 29-year MLB officiating veteran, came out as gay this fall, after an article was published featuring Scott and his husband, Mike Rausch. “My thought process was is that there’s a story about my career and how I got started in umpiring, and they’re talking to people I have known since junior high, and it didn’t seem right to have a whole story and pictures without a picture of Mike and I, someone who’s been with me through this entire process,” Scott told Outsports.
7. Blake Skelljerup gets engaged
Former New Zealand Olympic speed skater Blake Skelljerup announced his engagement to Trend Styled fashion stylist and blogger Saul Carrasco, not long after serving as an ambassador and final torchbearer for Gay Games 9 in Cleveland. The self-proclaimed boyfriend twins made their announcement on Instagram. Skelljerup is an outspoken gay athlete who was featured in the Sochi documentary To Russia With Love.
6. The 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi
The International Olympic Committee’s decision to name Sochi, Russia, the host city for the 2014 Winter Olympics was a controversial one, and one that brought Russia’s draconian anti-LGBT legislation to the forefront. Protests were planned to combat the Russian propaganda, while other LGBT athletes and fans feared for their safety entering the games. The Olympics went off relatively without many reported incidents, but the international outcry from the gay community and allies inevitably influenced some major policy changes by the IOC.
Since coming out of retirement — and coming out of the closet — footballer Robbie Rogers has had immense success with the L.A. Galaxy. Earlier this year, the 27-year-old received a lucrative contract extension after moving from midfield to defense. Capping off a great season with the Galaxy and kicking off a book tour, Rogers became the first openly gay male athlete to win a big-time team pro sports title in the United States.
After the controversial decision to hold the 2014 Olympic Games in Russia, a nation with anti-LGBT legislation still on the books, the International Olympic Committee voted to add sexual orientation to its nondiscrimination clause. The move was a strong show of support for LGBT athletes and fans hoping to safely attend the Olympic Games in the future.