Without a role model to follow, multiple world champion bouldering Alex Johnson maintained her secrecy. She remembers feeling like, “I have no one to talk to, nobody knows who I am, I hate myself, why can’t I be normal?” It wouldn’t be until Johnson started her relationship with Bree Robles that her confidence began to build…
Out For The Win aims to normalise LGBTQI people in sports and empower youth to feel comfortable in their own skin, by increasing the visibility of the LGBTQI community in all sports and sportclubs through storytelling
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My father founded the badminton club named Wit-Wit in Ronse in 1988. Just like him, my brothers were big fans of the sport, so as little sister I couldn’t miss out. I was practically born with a racket in my hand and when I was 14 years old, I made the choice to go to the school for top athletes in Antwerp.
As an athlete, you don’t want the attention of it. Athletes feel like they are being defined for being gay, like they’re ‘the gay one’ on the team. At the end of the day it shouldn’t matter, but first of all, there has to be someone on the team who makes it normal. I don’t want to have attention for it, but I feel someone has to start the conversation. I know there’s still homophobia in sports and around hockey clubs. So if you manage to reach some people and get them to understand that it’s not OK to judge people, and no one should feel entitled to judge someone, then you’ve done something right.
In my sports club people don’t really talk about LGBTs. We are engaged in our sport and are therefore focused on the goals we are trying to achieve. At the moment, I’m focused on the World Cup in Dubai in November 2019. The performances we achieved there are particularly important for qualifying for the Paralympic Games in Tokyo 2020.
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On 8 March 2020 – better known as International Women’s Day – Match, BeHuman and Out For The Win celebrates everyone who defines herself as woman. Because we want to strive for more equality to break the gender norms and expectations in a fun and inclusive way.
Despite the growing acceptance of gays and transgenders, the sports community remains a very difficult environment to be out. The American documentary ‘Alone in the Game’ shows the ongoing struggles LGBTQ athletes face at different levels. On 31 January, you can see this moving documentary at Sphinx cinema in Gent (Belgium) followed by a debate with pro athletes and policy makers.