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Australian snowboarder Belle Brockhoff comes out as gay to protest Russian laws

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She is the first LGBT Winter athlete to come out publicly in the run-up to Sochi.

Belle Brockhoff
Belle Brockhoff
Ryan Pierse

Australian snowboarder Belle Brockhoff, 20, says her dream is to compete in the Olympics. But her dream could run up against new anti-gay laws in Russia, so she has come out as openly lesbian to criticize the law in the run-up to the Sochi Games.

I have a feeling that I would have to kinda go back into the closet a little bit because I don't want to risk my, like, you know, safety, being arrested or deported," Brockhoff told Australia's ABC TV (click on the link to watch the video).  "I want to be able to compete and live my dream and become an Olympian. That's always what I've wanted to do. ...

"I want to be proud of who I am and be proud of all the work I've done to get into the Olympics and not have to deal with this law."

Brockhoff finished the current snowboard cross season ranked in the Top 10 globally, so a spot in the Sochi Games looks very attainable. She becomes the first potential LGBT Winter Olympian to come out publicly in response to the new Russian anti-gay laws. She told ABC she is considering wear a pride badge as a statement, though she does not want to do anything that will jeopardize her competing.

Good for her for standing up for what she believes in and I hope she has plenty of company in the months ahead.