Connor Rose

I try to be more visible about it now than I was then, because I want to encourage a cultural climate where other young trans people can feel enthusiastic about their decisions rather than ashamed or afraid.

A TALK WITH FILMMAKER MICHIEL THOMAS

Michiel Thomas is a Belgian director who lives in Los Angeles. In 2015 he made the documentary ‘Game Face’ in which he followed one gay and one transgender athlete for a few months. Game face has won many awards on film festivals and is to be seen on netflix in more than 190 countries. OFTW interviewed Michiel about his experiences and future plans!

SPORTS WORLD, WILL YOU GET OUT OF THE CLOSET?

When we started this project, we received various reactions. Many people were encouraging the project right away and agreed that it was about time for LGBTQI-athletes to gain more visibility. Others wondered whether this was really necessary. “Does it really matter whether an athlete is gay or trans?” they said. We understand this reaction, but we don’t fully agree. Allow us to explain why a project as Out For The Win is really necessary in current society.

Anastasia

Women’s ice hockey is pretty open to gay athletes, but I found that in rowing and track it was slightly harder to come out. Each sport’s mentality is different, and thus causes coming out to be a different experience.

Haidee

I compete at my best when I have a clear head and zero distractions. If I’ve got the worry of coming out, judgement, people’s opinion of my sexuality, etc on my mind then there’s no chance I’d be able to compete well.

Craig

I hope more step out, in more sports. When I was a young athlete, I was so scared. I wished I had someone tell me everything will be ok, that you will learn to be comfortable in your own skin and that you will find friends who love you for you.