Outsports hosted a conversation with four Asian and Asian-American LGBTQ athletes Wednesday, Sept. 9, to elevate understanding about the unique challenges they face.
As far as any of the panelists were aware, this is the first time a conversation like this has taken place.
Coming out in Asian and Asian-American culture at home can create added pressures on top of being who you are in the sports world. This conversation addressed these added hurdles and barriers, as well as the lack out out LGBTQ Asian athletes — creating a lack of support network — and how all of us can better support Asian and Asian-American athletes and coaches who come out.
It’s an important series of topics that too often get overlooked, and we were excited to be joined by an all-star cast of people to talk about the issues.
Joining the conversation were:
- Activist and athlete Amazin LeThi, @amazinlethi
- Professional golfer Tadd Fujikawa @taddy808
- Former NCAA diver Lisa Coe @lisa.coe
- Former NCAA swimmer Schuyler Bailar, @pinkmantaray
“Racism and damaging stereotypes prevent many Asian LGBTQ athletes from participating in sports and coming out,” said LeThi, who directed the conversation. “This is a discussion between Asian LGBTQ athletes about how we can create inclusive and safe spaces in sports so Asian LGBTQ athletes can thrive through sports.”
More on the speakers:
Lisa Coe wrapped up her diving career in the Spring of 2020. In her fourth year as a Panther, she qualified for her NCAA Division I Zone meet for the first time in her career, and even finaled in the Platform event. She was adopted from China at six months old and raised in New Jersey.
Tadd Fujikawa made history in 2006 when he was the youngest golfer to ever qualify for the U.S. Open, at age 15. Born and raised in Hawaii, he turned pro the next year and has six professional tournament wins. In 2018 he made an historic step out of the closet.
Schuyler Bailar graduated from high school as a top student and an awardwinning swimmer. He was aggressively recruited by most of the Ivy League and eventually committed to swim for Harvard University. Schuyler is also the first openly transgender athlete to compete in any sport on an NCAA Division 1 men’s team. Schuyler Bailar graduated from high school as a top student and an award-winning swimmer. He was aggressively recruited by most of the Ivy League and eventually committed to swim for Harvard University. Schuyler is also the first openly transgender athlete to compete in any sport on an NCAA Division 1 men’s team.
Amazin LeThi is a global Vietnamese LGBTQ sports and human rights advocate and thought leader. Amazin worked her way to the top with achievements that include, a former competitive bodybuilder, entertainment executive and the first Vietnamese internationally published fitness author. Amazin shares her personal journey of homelessness to becoming one of the most visible and influential LGBTQ activists in the world. Her story was included in the ‘It Gets Better’ campaign and the first White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Asian anti-bullying campaign ‘Act to Change’. She has been listed in the Australian Pride Power List, Out 100 List, Human Rights Campaign - Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month Honours list, 2020 Go Magazine 100 Women We Love List, 2020 Global Changemakers and this year became the first Asian LGBTQ Athlete to be honoured at the Brooklyn Nets 4th Annual Pride Night at the Barclays Centre in Brooklyn with the ‘Game Ball Delivery’. Amazin is a Stonewall UK and Athlete Ally sports champion ambassador and a global ambassador for Vietnam Relief Services. In 2021 she will be launching her global organization ‘The Amazin LeThi Foundation. For further information: www.amazinlethi.com and all social media: Twitter | Facebook | Instagram