Editor’s Note: As of mid-August 2021, the total number of known LGBTQ athletes was 185. That number of athletes who were out at the Tokyo Olympics has continued to grow.
At least 185 publicly out gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer and nonbinary athletes were in Tokyo for the Summer Olympic Games, more than triple the number who participated at the 2016 Rio Games.
The number of publicly out LGBTQ athletes in Tokyo is also greater than the number athletes who have participated in all of the previous Olympic Games — Summer and Winter — combined while publicly out.
The massive increase in the number of out athletes reflects the growing acceptance of LGBTQ people in sports and society. The rise of social media, especially Instagram, has given athletes a forum where they can live their lives openly and identify directly with their followers.
“Competing at the Olympics as an openly gay athlete is pretty amazing,” Canadian swimmer Markus Thormeyer told Outsports. Thormeyer was not out when he competed at the 2016 Rio Olympics and came out publicly as gay in a 2020 essay for Outsports.
“Being able to compete with the best in the world as my most authentic self at the biggest international multi-sport games shows how far we’ve come on inclusion in sport. I’m hoping that by competing at these Games I can show the LGBTQ community that we do belong and we can achieve anything we put our minds to.”
His comments were echoed by Elissa Alarie, a Canadian rugby player. We originally did not have Alarie on our list, but she contacted us and told us she was LGBTQ (she also gave us the names of three out teammates whom we also added).
“Growing up in a small French town in Quebec, I didn’t know or even know of a single LGBTQ person or athlete until I was older,” Alarie said. “I hope the increased visibility can give young people a sentiment of belonging and encourage communities to be inclusive and welcoming.”
This year at least 30 different countries were represented by at least one publicly out athlete in at least 34 sports, including the first trans Olympians.
The United States had the most out athletes at these Olympics, with 36 out athletes we know of, about a fifth of all the attendees on the list. Team USA was followed in the number of publicly out LGBTQ athletes by Brazil (18), Canada (18), Netherlands (17), Britain (16), Australia (14) and New Zealand (10). We will update the numbers as we learn more about the current Olympic athletes.
These numbers include reserve athletes who have been practicing with the team and are traveling to Tokyo with the team.
Women on the list outnumber men by about a 9-to-1 margin, with women’s soccer having more than 40 out players. This continues a trend seen at past Olympics and is reflective of out athletes in elite non-Olympic sports where women also proliferate.
To be included on the Outsports list of out LGBTQ Olympians, an athlete has to have come out publicly in the media, or they have to be clearly out on their public-facing social media.
If someone has not made a public declaration to the media that they are LGBTQ, they can still be included on this list if they are openly living their life as an out person on social media, particularly if they have made clear they are in a same-sex relationship.
We also work with LGBT historian Tony Scupham-Bilton, who runs the blog The Queerstory Files, to compile the most extensive list anywhere, and each athlete has a link below to some aspect of them being publicly out.
We know we likely have missed some out athletes, especially those who are non-Americans, as Outsports is based in the United States. If you know of an out LGBTQ athlete not on the list, or have any other inquiry, please contact us via email (firstname.lastname@example.org), or direct message us on Twitter (@outsports), Instagram (@outsports) or Facebook (OutsportsSBN).
Tokyo Summer Games Out LGBTQ Athletes
Stefanie Dolson (USA)
Lucilla Boari (Italy)#
Julie Allemand (Belgium)
Sue Bird (USA)
Marjorie Carpréaux (Belgium)#
Chelsea Gray (USA)
Brittney Griner (USA)
Sabrina Lozada-Cabbage (Puerto Rico)
Kim Mestdagh (Belgium)
Leilani Mitchell (Australia)
Shaina Pellington (Canada)
Dayshalee Salamán (Puerto Rico)
Breanna Stewart (USA)
Diana Taurasi (USA)
Ann Wauters (Belgium)
Ana Patricia (Brazil)
Elke Vanhoof (Belgium)#
Astrid Guyart (France)
Caitlin Rooskrantz (South Africa)#
Alice Bellandi (Italy)#
Amandine Buchard (France)
Nina Cutro-Kelly (USA)#
Jasmin Grabowski (Germany)#
Raz Hershko (Israel)#
Natalie Powell (Britain)#
Tessie Savelkouls (Netherlands)
Guusje Steenhuis (Netherlands)#
Sanne van Dijke (Netherlands)#
Rut Castillo (Mexico)#
Saskia Budgett (Britain, reserve)
Kendall Chase (USA)
Gia Doonan (USA)
Maarten Hurkmans (Netherlands)
Meghan O’Leary (USA)
Jessica Thoennes (USA)#
Ellen Tomek (USA)
Emma Twigg (New Zealand)
Julian Venonsky (USA)
Katarzyna Zillmann (Poland)#
Elissa Alarie (Canada)#
Britt Benn (Canada)#
Kelly Brazier (New Zealand)
Gayle Broughton (New Zealand)#
Isadora Cerullo (Brazil)
Lauren Doyle (USA)#
Marina Fioravanti (Brazil)#
Megan Jones (Britain)
Alev Kelter (USA)
Ghislaine Landry (Canada)#
Kaili Lukan (Canada)#
Celia Quansah (Britain)
Kristen Thomas (USA)
Ruby Tui (New Zealand)#
Sharni Williams (Australia)
Portia Woodman (New Zealand)
Yenny Acuña Berrios (Chile)#
Andressa Alves (Brazil, reserve)
Bárbara Barbosa (Brazil)
Kadeisha Buchanan (Canada)
Marta da Silva (Brazil)
Rachel Daly (Britain)
Tierna Davidson (USA)
Anouk Dekker (Netherlands, reserve)
Christiane Endler (Chile)#
Abby Erceg (New Zealand)
Magda Eriksson (Sweden)
Sisca Folkertsma (Netherlands)#
Adrianna Franch (USA)
Emily Gielnik (Australia)#
Lina Hurtig (Sweden)
Letícia Izidoro (Brazil)#
Sam Kerr (Australia)
Fran Kirby (Britain)
Stephanie Labbé (Canada)
Hedvig Lindahl (Sweden)
Chloe Logarzo (Australia)
Erin McLeod (Canada, reserve)
Teagan Micah (Australia)
Vivianne Miedema (Netherlands)
Kelly O’Hara (USA)
Fernanda Pinilla (Chile)
Megan Rapinoe (USA)
Aline Reis (Brazil)#
Jill Scott (Britain)
Caroline Seger (Sweden)
Kailen Sheridan (Canada)
Sherida Spitse (Netherlands)
Demi Stokes (Britain)
Carly Telford (Britain)
Daniëlle van de Donk (Netherlands)
Shanice van de Sanden (Netherlands)
Stefanie Van Der Gragt (Netherlands)#
Merel van Dongen (Netherlands)
Hannah Wilkinson (New Zealand)
Tameka Yallop (Australia)
Caroline Kumahara (Brazil)
Jack Woolley (Ireland)
Track and field
Michelle-Lee Ahye (Trinidad, sprints)#
Ramsey Angela (Netherlands, relays)#
Geisa Arcanjo (Brazil, shot put)#
Tom Bosworth (Britain, race walk)
Erica Bougard (USA, heptathlon)
Dutee Chand (India, sprints)
Aoife Cooke (Ireland, marathon)
Izabela da Silva (Brazil, discus)#
Gabriela DeBues-Stafford (Canada, 1500-meter)#
Yulimar Rojas (Venezuela, triple jump)
Raven Saunders (USA, shot put)
Senni Salminen (Finland, triple jump)#
Marc Tur (Spain, 50k racewalk)&
Dominic Clarke (Australia)#
Rowie Webster (Australia)#
Laurel Hubbard (New Zealand)
Kayla Miracle (USA)
# Denotes the athlete was added after our initial list was published on July 12.
& Denotes someone who was added to our list after the Summer Games were over on Aug. 8, but who was clearly out before then.
Note: Paula Ginzo (Spain) was previously included on the list. However, she was left off the final Spanish roster.
This does not, of course, include the coaches and trainers who are LGBTQ in Tokyo. For example, we know Minnesota Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve is publicly out. She will be working with the United States women’s basketball team.
We are not including Paralympians on this list. We will be covering the Paralympics separately. Please check back for our list of out LGBTQ Paralympians ahead of those Games.
This list was compiled by Cyd Zeigler, Jim Buzinski and Shelby Weldon of Outsports and LGBT historian Tony Scupham-Bilton.