In alphabetical order
A professional American skateboarder, Smith is the first ever openly non-binary athlete to compete at the Olympics as part of the famed ‘Team LGBTQ’ at Tokyo 2020. They made headlines for their response to frequent misgendering by the sports coverage, inscribing ‘they/them’ pronouns on their skateboard.
An England international and Arsenal forward, Beth Mead is a star player in the women’s game having been twice-named as Vauxhall England Young Player of the Year while having earned the PFA Women’s Young Player of the Year in the past. Mead has stated the importance of LGBT+ representation in sports, stating, “It’s okay to be whoever you want to be.” A Women’s Super League winner and Women’s League Cup champion, she is a huge advocate of the women’s game who raises awareness through campaigns and promotion.
Jackson is a legend of athletics, having twice been a world champion while also boasting a 12-year undefeated record at the European Championships, an Olympic silver medal, world indoor title and double Commonwealth champion accolades. As a result, he is now a well-known face on British television, working as an athletics commentator and sports anchor for the BBC whilst having also appeared on Strictly Come Dancing. Jackson came out as gay in 2017 while promoting Swedish series ‘Rainbow Heroes’.
South African middle-distance runner and winner of two Olympic gold medals plus three World Championship titles, Semenya is a highly decorated athlete. She has consistently fought for her inclusion in sports, stating simply, “I am a woman and I am fast.” Recent rulings excluded Semenya, who is intersex, from competing in sports unless she took medication to suppress her naturally occurring testosterone levels. Semenya has two daughters with her wife, Violet Raseboya.
Left back for Manchester City and the Lionesses, Stokes also captained the Great Britain squad in at Tokyo 2020 as one of the Team GB athletes. This excellent player is a Women’s Super League winner, a three-time FA Cup champion and a strong example of fantastic LGBT+ representation in women’s professional football.
A double Paralympic gold medalist and nine-time world champion, Wigg is the most decorated female paracanoeist in history, with an additional successful career in seated volleyball previously. Wiggs is a fantastic inspiration for LGBT+ people with disabilities and hopes that by her speaking about her sexuality publicly she will provide support to others.
Australian professional footballer Joshua Cavallo made history in October 2021 when he released a video on his social media in which he came out as gay. As it stands, he is the only openly gay male footballer in professional top-flight football, which he is strongly advocating for change in. This brave step has been highly applauded by both those in the sport and those in the LGBT+ community. As Cavallo put it in his powerful public statement, ‘I hope that in sharing who I am, I can show others who identify as LGBTQ+ that they are welcome in the football community.”
A weightlifter from New Zealand, Hubbard is the first transgender athlete in history to compete at the Olympic Games. It was in 2017 that she first competed as a female weightlifter, at the time carrying out a rare media interview to say, “I’m not here to change the world, I just want to be me and do what I do.” Though changing the world may not be top of her agenda, Hubbard’s selection as the first trans athlete in an individual sport is going a long way towards changing centuries of sporting rules.
Highly decorated professional footballer Megan Rapinoe has brought home gold at the Olympics and led her team to victory at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. After coming out in 2012, Rapinoe has further made a name for herself for herself as an advocate and philanthropist through the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network and Athlete Ally. Alongside this, Rapinoe has been outspoken about both racism and gender discrimination within the sport.
British diver Tom Daley is a highly-decorated athlete, winning an Olympic gold medal at Tokyo 2020. This four-time Olympic medalist had been married to the Oscar-winning film screenwriter Dustin Lance Black since 2017. This pair have been a true force for activism and LGBT+ inclusion, speaking out against anti-LGBT+ laws, with Daley delivering Channel 4’s Alternative Christmas Message in 2021 where he talked about better sports inclusion.