Thousands of people gather during the March on Washington for Gaza in Washington DC, United States, on Jan. 13, 2024. | Amanda Andrade-Rhoades / USA TODAY NETWORK

Four months from the start of the conflict in Gaza, almost two hundred athletes have united to pen an open letter calling for a ceasefire in the area, with signatories including Olympians and current and former professional athletes from more than a dozen sports.

At least 13 publicly out LGBTQ athletes have added their voices to the letter, including many who have spoken with Outsports in the past about how their identities have shaped their activism and sense of purpose in using their platforms to speak out on important political issues.

The list of names, first published on February 14, now includes:


Layshia Clarendon

Natasha Cloud

Jasmine Thomas

Amanda Zahui B.


Patricio Manuel


Trish Ang


Sylvie Aibeche


Danell Johan Leyva


Ceara Lafferty


Hedvig Lindahl


Emma Gee

Nikki Hiltz

Erin Paget Dees

Runner Emma Gee, who published her coming out story with Outsports in 2019, told Outsports she first got involved with Athletes for Ceasefire after seeing a fellow athlete post about the initiative on social media.

“I added my name because I believe in leveraging the visibility and influence of sports for a cause impacting human lives on a fundamental level,” she said.

“My experiences as a queer individual inform my understanding of oppression, marginalization, and the fight for human rights and recognition, including the Palestinian struggle. No one should have to endure oppression or have their basic human rights denied because of who they are, where they live, or the political situation they find themselves in.

“My advocacy for LGBTQ rights has taught me the value of listening to marginalized voices and the importance of standing together across different struggles for justice and human dignity.”

As for what she hopes this movement will accomplish, Gee is unequivocal in the group’s mission statement: to bring about an end to the conflict as quickly as possible.

“There is an urgent need for action, and I hope this letter supports the call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.”

The official declaration of Athletes for Ceasefire reads, “We call for humanity, empathy and an immediate ceasefire. In the wake of an unfolding situation in Gaza, as described by countless legal scholars, human rights experts and international organizations across the world. We, as athletes, recognize our moral responsibility to utilize our platform for a higher purpose: to save human lives and to raise awareness about this ongoing tragedy.”

Their website goes on to state that, “As professional athletes, we underscore our shared humanity, and advocate for a path that respects all human life, regardless of religion or ethnic background. In signing this letter, we continue a long legacy of athletes speaking up for the human rights of all people, such as Olympians John Carlos and Tommie Smith who raised their fists at the 1968 games in part to demand that apartheid South Africa and Rhodesia be held to account. We stand in the proud tradition of ‘The Greatest’ Muhammad Ali who stood for Palestinian freedom throughout his life both in word and deed.”

The open letter was published less than a week before the United States drafted a United Nations resolution proposing a temporary ceasefire. The U.S. vetoed a separate Arab-backed ceasefire resolution earlier this week.