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(Graphics by Kacey | Amaranth)

Sports is rainbow. Athletes carry with them their advocacies and devote their fight in the realm of sports such as escalating and breaking the predicament of LGBTQ+ discrimination. They don’t just represent their flag colors on big stages and events but also inspire other people with the same roots as them. As we celebrate this Pride Month, let’s get to know some local and international athletes who are proud members of the LGBTQ+ community. 


Margielyn Didal

Margielyn Didal is a Filipina skateboarder who won a gold medal during the Asian Games 2018, and Southeast Asian Games in 2019. She also became the first Filipino skateboarder to compete in the Street League Skateboarding in London, England, and also represented the  Philippines in the United States at the 2018 X Games, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Didal’s dedication to skateboarding started in the streets of Cebu City where she competed in local tournaments including men’s competitions. Her incomparable skills are better than men, as her coach Daniel Bautista says, for a female skateboarder who made it through the Olympics 2024 after her iconic debut in Tokyo 2020. Didal recognized herself as a member of the LGBTQ+ community and was open with her romantic relationship. 


“That makes me happy and I'm part of it and I have a girlfriend,” Margielyn said in a conference way back year 2021 during the Tokyo Olympics when she talked about how the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) were seen in action. 


“I’m just thankful to them [parents]  because they have accepted me. In sports, gender does not matter,” she said. The skateboarder star unleashed her rainbow pride as she will be competing in the Paris Summer Olympics 2024 along with the 186 publicly out LGBTQ+ Olympians. 


Nesthy Petecio 

Filipino amateur boxer from Santa Cruz, Davao del Sur—Nesthy Petecio, is also a proud LGBTQ+ community member who represented the Philippines in numerous prestigious events. Her life has evolved around the boxing ring since 11 years old and was taught boxing as self-defense. Due to financial struggles, Nesthy joined inter-barangay boxing competitions to help her family and was matched to a male with a bigger build and more experience than her. Even with the unjust arrangement by gender, Nesthy won and drew attention to the Philippine Women's team coach, Roel Velasco, and later on became a member of the national team. 

Petecio was recognized as the first Filipina boxer to win a medal in the Summer Games—the first Olympic boxing medal after 25 years. The silver medal of Petecio in the Tokyo Olympics was not for herself and for her family but for the LGBTQ+ community which she is part of. 


"Sobrang proud po ako bilang member po ng LGBT po. Hindi ko po tinatanggi 'yun," Petecio said after winning her silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics—Philippines’ second medalist. She hoped that her win would be a living-proof that one’s sexual orientation is not a hindrance in achieving something in life. 


"Kumbaga, kahit anong gender po natin, basta kung may pangarap po tayo, laban po," she said. 


As Nesthy prepares for the Paris Olympics, the 32-year-old Filipina boxer is vying for a historic finish representing the Philippines and raising the rainbow flag in a global event.


Megan Rapinoe 

Known for her crafty plays and activism off the pitch inside the soccer field, the American former professional soccer player, Megan Rapinoe is an advocate for numerous LGBTQIA+ organizations. Megan was named ‘The Best FIFA Women’s Player’ in 2019; won a gold medal with the United States National team during the 2012 London Summer Olympics, and was a two-time FIFA Women’s World Cup winner. Megan’s decision to be public about her sexual orientation made a huge impact on the LGBTQIA+ community battling for equal rights. 


“I’m speaking for a lot of people. I don’t want to make anything weird. Nothing goes unsaid. Speak it plainly. I’m gonna speak it loudly, and I think that helps other people who maybe don’t have the ability to do that, or who aren’t quite in a place to do that yet.” she said via Olympics News. Rapinoe had known that she was a lesbian during her early years in college and coming out publicly in 2012 in Out magazine was something not for her but for those people who feel like they’re indifferent among others, especially in the world of sports where they experienced misconception and discrimination.


With her legacy in sports and as a key advocate of Athlete Ally (an LGBTQ athletic advocacy group based in the United States that aims to make athletic communities more inclusive and less discriminatory); and Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network or GLESEN (an American education organization to end discrimination, harassment, and bullying based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression and to prompt LGBT cultural inclusion and awareness in K-12 schools) she received the Board of Directors Award from the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center in 2013. In 2022, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Joe Biden.


“But I’m very out and proud and will show that and will live a very out and open life. I think that’s vital for people to see,” she said. 


Chris Mosier  

The 3-times Men’s National Champion in sprint triathlon and duathlon representing Team USA 7 times was also recognized nationally as an Ironman Triathlete and inductee into the National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame. Chris was the first out transgender athlete to join the U.S. national team who began his transition in 2010 and competed in the Duathlon World Championship Race in Spain in 2015. Since 2004, the International Olympic Committee policy excluded the participation of transgenders in sports and Moiser challenged the policy and was able to compete resulting in the creation of new IOC guidelines. With these, he was known as the ‘catalyst’ for the policy to allow transgenders like him to compete in the World Championship in the future. 


Competing alongside other men made people doubt Moiser’s skills and instead of condemning his true identity, he has been able to excel in the men’s category as the first open transgender to compete in Olympics 2020. In 2023, Chris won the men’s 40-44 category of the National Championship at the USA Triathlon Duathlon Gravel National Championship race in Fayetteville, Arkansas. His achievements inside the sports jurisdiction do not limit his ability to advocate and educate people around him who seek inclusion in the world of athletics. 


"Competing as a woman, I thought about gender all the time, to a point where it interfered with my ability to be successful because I didn't feel comfortable at races. Now, I feel more able to focus and gender doesn't come up as much,” he spoke about his experience with Chicago Go Pride, an online resource for the city’s LGBTQ community. 


The go-to source for policy and information about transgender people in sports—Chris Mosier continues to work on LGBTQ sports leagues to improve transgender inclusions and was honored with the Cornerstone of Equality 2024 Award at the Greater Boston PFLAG Gala—United States' largest organization dedicated to supporting, educating, and advocating for LGBTQ+ people and who supports them. 

As this generation continues to battle for LGBTQIA+ equality and rights, in the area of sports, experts and professionals embraced the roots of every athlete giving equal opportunities to compete, prove themselves, and show the world what they’re capable of. It is not just about bringing pride to their country but also raising their pride flag to inspire those who remained confined in their comfort zones. 

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