LGBTQ+ athletes appeared on a panel discussion on inclusion in sport.
A group of LGBTQ+ athletes, Amazin LêThị, Michael Gunning and JayCee Cooper, have appeared on a panel discussion, hosted by Athlete Ally’s director of policy and programs, Anne Lieberman, to discuss LGBTQ+ inclusion in sports.
The discussion was held as part of the government’s ongoing Love is Love campaign and was hosted by the British embassy in the United States, UK in USA.
Reflecting on why they all became advocates for LGBTQ+ inclusion, queer weightlifter Amazin reflected upon the racism that she faced when she first started in sport from fellow competitors and coaches, while JayCee spoke about the exclusion she faced as a trans powerlifter and gay swimmer Michael reflected on how there weren’t other LGBTQ+ role models for him to look up to in the sport.
One of the pivotal questions that the group were asked was about what questions they felt should come up in discussions. Addressing this point, Michael said people should stop asking why he didn’t come out sooner, and instead focus on the differences in everyone’s journey. He added that people should also be focusing on how minority athletes can feel accepted in the sport, instead of being asked how it feels to be a minority.
Likewise, Amazin said we should “flip the switch” on asking athletes about the lack of Asian representation in sport, and instead ask the sporting organisations that question, saying the question should be: “How does anti-Asianess, racism and homophobia influence the relationship between Asian LGBTQ+ athletes in the athletic community and could it give the reason as to why we don’t see the necessary allyship?”
Responding to the question, JayCee said people should stop asking “whether trans women had an advantage in sport” and instead focus on the disadvantages trans athletes face in relation to transphobia and gatekeeping.
The group were also asked about their LGBTQ+ sporting icons, with Amazin praising lesbian tennis icon Billie Jean King and Tadd Fujikawa, the first openly gay golfer. She also praised Colin Kaepernick, the American football player who took the knee to protest police brutality in America.
JayCee highlighted organisations like Athlete Ally and Gendered Justice, and Michael highlighted the straight allies and LGBTQ+ athletes who posted about Pride celebrations.
You can watch the discussion video here, or below.