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Triumphant winners and transphobic losers of the week in LGBTQ sports

Each and every week, our managing editor runs down the big stories of the past seven days, and this week we are celebrating transgender people in sports.

Shelby Weldon

Here we are at the weekend, halfway through the first-ever Triumph Awards, one day closer to the Transgender Day of Visibility and smack in the heart of March Madness. So let’s get to this week’s winners and losers:


Winner or Loser? Oral Roberts basketball’s run covers up university’s history of homophobia

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Oral Roberts at Florida
Oral Roberts Golden Eagles bench storm the court after defeating the Florida Gators at Indiana Farmers Coliseum in Indianapolis, Ind.
Doug McSchooler-USA TODAY Sports

While Oral Roberts has become this year’s March Madness underdogs, the school’s treatment of LGBTQ students should make the university pariahs, not heroes.


Winner or Loser? NCAA trying to embrace both LGBT athletes and schools barring said LGBT athletes

Dozens of NCAA member schools maintain policies that ban gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender athletes and coaches.


Winners: It’s time to celebrate trans sports heroes

Outsports, in partnership with NCLR, introduces a new series of awards to pay tribute to transgender athletes, coaches and others working to give every trans competitor a chance to fulfill their dream.


Winner: Quill Graham is a trans college swimmer and our student-athlete Triumph Award winner

UW-Oshkosh swimmer Quill is transgender. Shelby Weldon

The Triumph Awards, in partnership with NCLR, honor UW-Oshkosh swimmer Quill Graham’s willingness to be a visible beacon of hope for inclusion.


Winner: Volleyball trailblazer Tiffany Abreu is our pro athlete Triumph Award winner

Shelby Weldon

The Triumph Awards, in partnership with NCLR, honor pro volleyball pioneer Tifanny Abreu. The first transgender player in Brazil’s Superliga continues a quest for a season championship and a mission to boost her trans community in her homeland.


Winner: The Outsports Triumph Award for journalism goes to Katelyn Burns

Katelyn Burns is the Triumph Award winner for journalism
Katelyn Burns.
Shelby Weldon

These new awards, in partnership with NCLR, honor transgender athletes as well as other trans people involved in sports, including this journalist.


Winner: Gay college gymnast came out with confidence and assist from teammates

Collin Lillie dismounts
Collin Lillie.

When Collin Lillie decided to come out, ‘my teammates lifted me up, gave me space to figure it out and celebrated me above all.’


Winner: Gay runner at Coast Guard Academy finds being authentic allows him to thrive

Josiah Davis in uniform.
Josiah Davis.

After shedding internal doubts, Josiah Davis says that “by coming out of the closet, I’ve allowed myself to have deeper friendships with my peers as well as shift my priorities.”


Winner: Soccer has been guiding light for lesbian college soccer player turned business coach

Kim Brady
Kim Brady.

After struggling with being gay growing up, Kim Brady found her niche on Cal’s soccer team in college and never looked back.


Winner: During Covid-19, this gay out-of-work airline employee is biking across North America for LGBTQ youth

Andrew Mortensen.
Screenshot via Instagram

Andrew Mortensen’s journey began in northwest Washington state. Six months later, he’s raised more than $7,500 for The Trevor Project, and is on his way to Patagonia.


Winner: LGBTQ pro wrestling brand Butch vs. Gore celebrates one year with Cassandro Cup

Cassandro Cup Butch vs. Gore/Twitter

Sunday, March 28, will see Butch vs. Gore’s 7-person tournament for the Cassandro Cup and an IWTV Independent Wrestling title shot on IWTV.


Winner: This gay horseman started playing polo at 50, and has thrived ever since

Chip McKenney.
Photo provided

Chip McKenney started the Gay Polo League in 2006, and 15 years later, the group boasts members in 14 countries.


Losers: Tennessee joins Arkansas, Mississippi in banning girls and women from school sports

Gov. Bill Lee of TN, Gov. Asa Hutchinson of Ark. and Gov. Tate Reeves of Miss. talk to reporters in photos laid over a shredded copy of the U.S. Constitution.
Left to right: Gov. Bill Lee of TN, Gov. Asa Hutchinson of Ark. and Gov. Tate Reeves of Miss.
Lee: PAULA OSPINA/ The Jackson Sun via Imagn Content Services, LLC; Hutchinson: JAMIE MITCHELL/TIMES RECORD via Imagn Content Services, LLC; Reeves: AP Photo

These atrocities are being reported as a ‘trans ban’ when in fact what these Republican governors have done is violated the U.S. Constitution.


Loser: Hammered by conservatives, South Dakota Gov. offers to build a ‘coalition’ to expand bans on trans student-athletes

Kristi Noem defends her ‘style and form’ veto while touting a new initiative to ‘Defend Title IX Now.’


Winners: Trans women are women. In sport and literally everywhere else

Trans and cis women compete in roller derby
WFTDA roller derby is a contact sports with inclusion and community-focused values.
Ryan Quick

Trans women are women, trans women athletes are women athletes, writes Women’s Flat Track Roller Derby Association Executive Director Erica Vanstone.


Winner: When this All-American came out to her team, a ‘rainbow volcano’ erupted

Sarah Crowley cheers on UMass Amherst.
Sarah Crowley.
Photo provided

During her senior year at UMass Amherst, lacrosse star Sarah Crowley came out, and five teammates followed suit.


Winner: New children’s book ‘Proud To Play’ highlights Canadian LGBTQ sports heroes

‘Proud To Play’ shares the stories of LGBTQ athletes and coaches building inclusion.


Winners: Sports are embracing suspensions, not cancellations, as the path to inclusion

The cancel crowd has tried to influence sport’s response to homophobia. Sports have instead chosen redemption.


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!