Pyeongchang Organizers Failed To Raise Funds To Establish LGBT Pride House. What Country Stepped In?
Out of just over 3,000 Olympians competing in South Korea, there are 13 out and proud LGBT athletes. Is that a lot? Well they are the ones that are open. How many more are knocking at that closet door? How many are well known to be LGBT+ among fellow competitors and family, but are not socially out?
"I promise, for every athlete that's out, there's at least one or two that aren't," said Mark Tewksbury, a Canadian swimmer who won Olympic gold in 1992, and later came out as gay.
Organizers of the Pyeongchang ceremonies failed to raise funds needed to establish an LGBT center in the Olympic Village. Solution? OH Canada!!!
The first official Pride House of any Olympics was in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada in 2010, so it is only fitting that Canada House will now double as Pride House in South Korea.
Did you just tear up a little with love for Canada? I know I did? Why can't 'Merika step in and do that? We could ask Mike Pence, I mean, he's right there.
"It's the idea that hey, we're here, everyone's safe and we want everyone to be their authentic person, to be their best."
Mark Tewksbury was interviewed recently by The Current (full interview below) where he talks about being in the closet during his sporting career, but was out to one of his coaches who became a confidant. Having that support allowed him to "get past that barrier of having this secret, so that I could use that energy to actually compete full-on, 100 per cent." He retired in 1992 after winning gold at the Barcelona Olympics, but did not come out until 1998.
Canada, we appreciate you stepping up and offering such a space.
Tewksbury wants Canada's leadership to inspire others. "This, one day, should be an international Olympic committee Pride House. It should be a statement from leaders of the Olympic movement that no one should feel excluded."
We definitely agree Mark!