In late June, eight armband designs were revealed that 2023 FIFA World Cup players could choose to wear on the pitch, including “Unite For Indigenous Peoples,” in partnership with United Nations Human Rights, and “Unite For Ending Violence Against Women,” in partnership with UN Women. However, despite the tournament’s theme of “Football Unites the World,” FIFA banned the “OneLove” armband or any armbands including Pride Flag imagery. This is ostensibly without reason; unlike Qatar which hosted the 2022 World Cup, the 2023 host countries Australia and New Zealand don’t criminalize LGBTQ+ people. Players receive a yellow card — a warning that could bar future participation — for wearing rainbow armbands, as was the case at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Throughout May, the Los Angeles Dodgers have invited, disinvited, and re-invited the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a group of queer and trans nuns, to their Pride Night on June 16. Pride Month is only just knocking a jaunty rhythm on our door, but the LGBTQ+ community is already facing exhaustion and backlash for corporations and large organizations attempts at inclusivity.
In light of the negative sentiment toward transgender athletes, I’ve found there isn’t enough coverage of queer and trans athletes that celebrates their accomplishments. In honor of the 2024 Paris Olympics slogan “Games wide open,” I’ve compiled a list of 15 queer athletes who are excelling in their sport, competing in the 2024 Paris games, or both.
On April 8, 2023, UCLA softball had its annual Pride Game against the Oregon State Beavers. I attended the game to see how Pride was celebrated and also sat down with Head Coach Kirk Walker, the first out D1 coach in the country. He also co-founded the Equality Coaching Alliance and the LGBT Sports Coalition to promote inclusion in sports. Walker received a kinesiology degree from UCLA in 1988, then began his softball coaching career immediately after. He is also a skilled athlete in men’s fastpitch softball and has won two national titles playing as a pitcher. With Walker, the Bruins have made it to seven NCAA Championships and 17 Women’s College World Series.
The queer messaging of the Acclaimed — the two tag team champions for the professional wrestling company All Elite Wrestling (AEW) — veers in enough different directions that it’s hard to pick out a unified message. The fictional world of wrestling, whose staged theatrics and over-the-top characters often shade towards campiness, complicates the real-world impact of that message even further.
You might know Colton Underwood as the first gay Bachelor. He was the token golden boy of “The Bachelor” Season 23 (2019). In the Netflix docuseries “Coming Out Colton,” the reality TV star revisits his time on the show, as well as his coming out journey, reliving the scrutiny that came from the spotlight.
The ACLU is currently tracking 467 anti-LGBTQ bills among 45 state legislators at the time of publication. On April 13, the U.S. Department of Education (referred to as The Department) published its proposed updates to Title IX regulations entitled “Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Sex in Education Programs or Activities Receiving Federal Financial Assistance: Sex-Related Eligibility Criteria for Male and Female Athletic Teams.”