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Winners and losers in LGBTQ sports one year into the pandemic

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This week’s list comes one year after the Covid-19 pandemic changed all our lives, and took more than half a million of our friends, family and fellow Americans.

Shelby Weldon/FreePikPSD

This week’s list of winners and losers in LGBTQ sports is dedicated to the fight to defeat the Covid-19 pandemic, which in large part started one year ago here in the U.S. And we honor the more than 507,000 whose deaths are attributed to this terrible disease. My hope is that as more of us are vaccinated — I got my first shot this week! — and if we continue to follow CDC protocols to wear a mask or face covering indoors, practice social distancing and keep washing our hands, we may soon get back to life (and sports) that more closely resembles “normal.”


Winners: These two out curling stars squared off at national championship tournament

John Epping and Greg Smith’s teams matched up at Canada’s national men’s curling championship, the 2021 Tim Hortons Brier.


Winners: Natasha Cloud and Aleshia Ocasio got married

The couple tied the knot last October to protect themselves in case Donald Trump got reelected.

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Winner: Out college basketball player finds her activist side off the court

Grace Dzindolet dribbling
Grace Dzindolet, left.

Grace Dzindolet has always loved basketball, but in college she co-founded a support group for LGBTQIA+ student-athletes as she continues to push inclusion.


Winner: For nonbinary high school swimmer, ‘dumbest thing I’ve ever done’ turned out to be the best

Jordan Fixsen swims for Penfield High School in New York. Chris Ott

Swimmer Jordan Fixsen took the plunge by coming out as nonbinary to their team. Anxiety and fear of rejection were replaced by support and acceptance.


Winner: Pro wrestler Aiden Aggro comes out as pansexual

Aiden Aggro Harry Aaron

The ‘Biracial Bae’ and Maine State Posse member came out publicly Thursday morning.


Winner: Gay rower was part of secret LGBTQ military network during Don’t Ask Don’t Tell

John Olbrys is a commissioned officer in the Coast Guard. William Waybourn

John Olbrys is now living openly as an officer in the Coast Guard, continuing to row and now finding love.


Loser: Mississippi gov. signs law banning transgender athletes from playing women’s sports

Gov. Tate Reeves owns the dubious distinction of signing the first trans sports ban in 2021.


Winners: 545 Athletes to NCAA: ‘You have been silent’ as anti-trans laws flourish, and it must stop

A letter signed by hundreds of NCAA student-athletes demands the organization move tournaments out of states considering or enacting anti-transgender


Winners: Tennessee businesses sign open letter opposing state’s anti-trans athlete bill

With Tennessee’s legislature considering a transgender athlete ban, several corporations that do business there hope to stop the bill in its tracks.


Winner: A mother’s letter to her daughter

Kendra Stansbury
Kendra Stansbury and her daughter
Kendra Stansbury

Outsports reader and transgender ally Kendra Stansbury wrote a letter to her daughter and decided to share it with us and all our readers.


Winner: Trans athletes are not cheap political piñatas

Bereft of ideas, Republicans are resorting to an old scare tactic: demonizing LGBTQ people.


Winner: New research paints a more complex picture of transgender sports advantage

The Loughborough University paper explains that the question of competitive advantage of trans women is complex and requires further study.


Winner: Trans trailblazing journalist Christina Kahrl leaving ESPN for major new role

Trans Athletes: The New Frontier of Sports - 2016 SXSW Music, Film + Interactive Festival Photo by Robert A Tobiansky/Getty Images for SXSW

Kahrl, who in 2002 became the nation’s first out transgender sports writer, announced she will be heading up sports coverage at a major metropolitan newspaper.


Winner: There is hope for minor league Pride Nights in 2021

While MiLB teams are still assembling promotional schedules, more vaccine availability could make Pride Nights happen this summer.


Winner:Joanna Lohman’s new book shares insights into the empowerment of women’s sports

Joanna Lohman retired in 2019. RTCsoccer.com

Dozens of elite athletes talk about winning and the transformative power of sports in this new book by Lohman and writer Paul Tukey.


That’s all for this week! I’ll bring you another list of winners and losers next Saturday. Got a name I missed, or want to challenge my choices? Comment here or on Facebook or Instagram, tweet at us, message me via any social media, or just plain email me at outsports@gmail.com Thanks and stay safe!