Playing for Our Team: The 20 Out Gay Olympians

What transcends nationalism at the Olympic Games? Gayness. Here’s our team of 20 for London 2012. Medal count? Pending, for after these guys kick ass big time. Let the gaymes begin!

A Large Chunk of the Field Hockey Team from The Netherlands

Marilyn Agliotti, Maartje Pauman and Carlien Dirkse van den Heuvel via zimbo

Marilyn Agliotti, Carlien Dirkse van den Heuvel, and Maartje Pauman. In fact, Dirkse and Pauman appear to be Facebook official, which I have a lot of heart-soaring feelings about. The cuteness! It killz me.

An Even Larger Chunk of the Girls Who Kick Balls

Jessica Landström, Hedvig Lindahl, and Lisa Dahlkvist via zimbio

Jessica Landström, Hedvig Lindahl, and Lisa Dahlkvist are all on the Swedish Women’s Soccer Team. And you may remember this familiar, recently out face from recent Autostraddle coverage. Ladies, gentleman and others, I give you Megan Rapinoe, the only out member of the US Women’s Soccer Team!

Megan Rapinoe

Three Handball Players

Mayssa Pessoa via, Rikke Skov via, and Alexandra Lacrabère via

Mayssa Pessoa, Rikke Skov, and Alexandra Lacrabère all play for different teams (Pessoa for Brazil, Skov for Denmark, and Lacrabère for France) but they all play for the same team in my heart. Fun fact: Lacrabère came out in a magazine called HandAction, thus winning the gold medal for best pun.

Two Men On Horseback

Carl Hester via and Edward Gal via

Edward Gal represents the Netherlands and Carl Hester represents Great Britain, and they both represent with some dandy top hats.

A Person I Keep Accidentally Calling Dana Fairbanks

Lisa Raymond via

Lisa Raymond is representing the US in Doubles Tennis. And come on. Like you didn’t immediately scream, “OMG, real life Dana!”

Two Germans

Judith Arndt via and Imke Duplitzer via

Judith Arndt is a cyclist and Imke Duplitzer a fencer. And both could bring home medals for the Gay Olympic Team.

And Two Australians

Matthew Mitcham via his facebook and Natalie Cook via

Matthew Mitcham is a diver and Natalie Cook plays beach volleyball. Fun fact: in response to the heterosexual married couple Russell and Lauryn Mark, both Australian Olympic Shooters, Mitcham tweeted “Since there were only 11 out gays across all nations [in 2008], I’d hardly consider that a ton. Known couples are split anyway.” Followed by, “The last thing I need is a sexually frustrated breeder with a shotgun being cross with me. No comment, thank you very much!!”

This Adorable Basketball-Playing Lesbian

Seimone Augustus via her facebook

Need I say anything more about Seimone Augustus, the basketball player representing the U.S. these games? Oh wait, she’s engaged to marry her girlfriend. Now your brain can explode from the cuteness.

And lastly…

This French Couple That Could Take Over the World

Carole Péon via and Jessica Harrison via

Carole Péon and Jessica Harrison are both triathletes. And they could both take us all out. And if they were to reproduce together, their babies would just be muscles.

So there you have it, our Gay Olympic Team. It’s worth noting that our team consists of only 20 people. 20 out of more than 10,000 athletes. Some sources cite rampant homophobia in the sports world as a possible explanation for so few athletes coming out, but let’s not forget some countries barely want to let women play (and that’s about 50% of the population) let alone gay people.

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A.E. Osworth

A.E. Osworth is part-time Faculty at The New School, where they teach undergraduates the art of digital storytelling. Their novel, We Are Watching Eliza Bright, about a game developer dealing with harassment (and narrated collectively by a fictional subreddit), is forthcoming from Grand Central Publishing (April 2021) and is available for pre-order now. They have an eight-year freelancing career and you can find their work on Autostraddle (where they used to be the Geekery Editor), Guernica, Quartz, Electric Lit, Paper Darts, Mashable, and drDoctor, among others.

A.E. has written 542 articles for us.


  1. Thank you for highlighting gayness in the Olympics. I’m glad to see 20 people who are proud to be themselves while under the scrutiny of the public eye *and* while vying to reach an event so large that I doubt anyone would argue some folks may have done their part to keep gays out of the Olympics.

    That said, this is the only AS article I have felt the need to immediately reply on and the only one I have found, in part, offensive. Matthew Mitcham’s use of the word “breeder” in reference to heterosexual women is NOT a fun fact, nor is it funny.

    A website which supports feminism (I know AS does), using a misogynistic statement for comedic affect was… a bad idea. I do not know how you, Ali, see other women, or maybe just heterosexual women, but perhaps your inclusion of a “breeder” joke hints at your own covert prejudice. Or perhaps like much prejudice, because you are not a heterosexual woman, prejudice directed at them flies under your radar. Please fix this.

    I liked the photos and everything else about this article. Esp Lisa Raymond as our RL Dana Fairbanks.

    • > use of the word “breeder” in reference to heterosexual women

      For whatever it’s worth, I’m pretty sure the word in that context refers to heterosexuals, not women. The word would apply to a heterosexual man as well.

      Whether or not a derogatory term towards straight people or having children is a good idea on AS is some other kind of conversation, but I don’t think it came from a place of misogyny.

      • @ djcapelis I think I see where you’re coming from but I still need someone to unpack how Mitcham could have been referring to anyone besides a woman.

        @ is In my understanding the term breeder is used far more for women, but broadening the scope of its use to include men does not mitigate the nature of its intent: to reduce the target to their utmost basic potential of population continuance. A major issue for feminists is that we not be reduced to our capacity for reproduction. That said, if you respect men and women equally (as feminists should, we are not below nor above anyone) you should consider the effects of calling ANYONE a breeder.
        However, if you think breeder is a cute pet name, then by all means, Breeder, breed on. Unless you would prefer petite utérus.

        • I do think breeder is rather offensive in itself (speaking as a parent :P), but I have always heard it applied equally to anybody heterosexual. Both partners in the couple shoot, so Matthew Mitcham could have meant either of them. Personally, I assumed he meant the guy, not the woman, since it was the guy who was making a fuss and claiming to be discriminated against.

    • Maybe before you get your feminist angry feels on you should learn to read around the trigger and see that it was a male being referred to as a “breeder.”

    • The guy Matthew is referring to complained that he and his wife aren’t allowed to share a room in the Olympic village while ‘tons of gays’ get to. He actually said the words ‘discriminated against for being heterosexual’ out loud, on national television. I reckon Matthew’s tweet was as ridiculous as the crap Russell Mark has been spouting in the media and I think that was exactly the point.

      • Ah, so he was referring to a woman. If Mitcham was trying to stand up for a friend, I commend him for that but trying to sound ironic when using a pejorative doesn’t come across well.
        I stand by what I said earlier.

        • I’m not sure I understand your comment? The tweet was in reference to Russell Mark, a man who claimed he is being discriminated against for being straight. Matthew, a gay Olympian, responded to these clearly ridiculous things.

          I think maybe knowing the context of the tweet is important here. I think the irony came across quite well, seeings as I know the story.

          • Perhaps this is my misunderstanding.

            Russell Mark claims to have been discriminated against because he and his wife were not allowed to share a room in Olympic Village. Matthew Mitcham came to his defense by tweeting “…The last thing I need is a sexually frustrated breeder with a shotgun being cross with me….” With breeder in reference to Russell Mark’s wife.
            Mitcham appears to be saying the last thing he (or Mark) needs is a sexually frustrated significant other behaving crazy because they can’t get laid. This also implies a certain level of irrationality on the part of the “breeder.” If neither Mark nor his wife are getting any perhaps they would both be crankier than normal or they would both get through it like adults. But it appears in Mitcham’s eyes that it would be Mark’s wife, but not Mark, who would be a sexually frustrated breeder; and in the nature of breeders, she would be toting a shotgun and behaving irrationally.
            I may be missing something here. What do you think he meant by breeder with a shotgun?

          • No, Russell Mark is a shooter known for saying ridiculous things. Matthew was calling out Mark for his stupid comments. The ‘breeder with the shotgun’ IS Russell Mark, not his wife (who has stayed out of the controversy for the most part)

          • Ah, thank you. I’m sorry I posted my last comment before I saw yours (the one I’m responding to).

            My understanding of the situation is better but the usage of the word breeder is still offensive.

            What do you think of Mitcham using the word breeder?

          • Ah, the shotgun reference was my misunderstanding. I’ll amend my last question. What do you think he meant by breeder?

          • I’m definitely not disagreeing that its a disgusting term and if it HAD been used in the way you read it I would have been horrified. In this context, I don’t mind Mitcham using it.

            This is only one of the stupid things that Russell Mark has been saying (and in a rare snaps to the media, it is actually being reported as ‘Russell Mark continues to make a fool of himself for claiming he’s being discriminated against’). His comments are so absurd that it’s not worth dignifying with anger, but he is completely unaware of any kind of privilege he has and why his ideas are so ludicrous. I think using the term in this context draws attention to how little Mark is actually being discriminated against by using one of the few terms that can be used to insult a straight white guy. I mean, besides having to follow a policy that doesn’t allow *any* couples to room together, that’s the worst that Mark has had to deal with and he’s crying reverse discrimination. I’m going to bet the same can’t be said for other queer olympians.

          • I agree with Cat here. Taken out of context, Mitcham looks bad, but in context, it’s irony. Russell Mark is making a fool of himself again, not that you’d know it if you weren’t following Australian news :P

          • @Minz. I thought it was the perfect response to someone who acting like a complete tool. I really think the people getting so upset on behalf of Russell (and his wife) should really at least read some of the coverage before jumping to his defense.

            The man clearly has no idea what actual discrimination feels like, turning it around for a moment with an ironic quip is (as far as I’m concerned) well within the rights of a gay sportsman on the receiving end of Russells stupidity.

    • “Breeder” is a term that is used to refer to heterosexuals, not women. It is not a misogynistic term because it’s not referring to a woman’s specific ability to reproduce, but the ability of heterosexuals to reproduce (although this is in very literal interpretations). I totally understand how you might have seen it that way, but that’s not the way it was used here, nor the way I’ve ever heard it used. I used it once when a guy called me a “dyke” on the street. I said “back off breeder.” It was used in the moment to regain power, because there’s a lot of words he can call me that would be considered negative connotations of my negatively portrayed sexuality, but not much we can throw back at heterosexuals.

      To my knowledge, the upsetting of power is the root of the term. It’s a way of taking the power away from a cis-tem where heterosexuality is seen as positive and a non-insult, and being homosexual, a “gay” “dyke” “fag” “homo” etc. is a negative thing. Call someone straight and you’re not really insulting them, at least not in a way that actually offends their privilege or makes much of an impact on their self-image. Breeder is the only term I know of that even slightly upsets that privilege and I think it’s important for that reason. It’s kind of like the word “cracker.” If you hold all the power and privilege in a heteronormative heterosexual society, can you really be offended if you are called out?

      • So it’s not OK for majorities to use pejoratives against minorities but minorities CAN use pejoratives against majorities?

        How do you think *anyone* would react if Russell Mark and his wife were black and Mitcham had tweeted: “The last thing I need is a sexually frustrated n****r with a shotgun being cross with me. No comment, thank you very much!!”
        Does that sound any different?

        There is nothing cool or suave or humorous in using the term breeder or any other derogatory term. I’m not black and thus I would not call anyone who is, a n****r. There is no power in using words infused with negative connotations in reference to their intended target, we do not elevate ourselves to any degree by putting others down facetiously or not.

        I’m sorry that someone verbally assaulted you in public and I understand why you yelled back. But using insults of intolerance in a bigoted fashion does not fuel our cause for equality. How would the hetero-folks who DO vote for us feel if they knew the people they voted for were calling them breeders behind their backs (or to their faces?)
        You asked “If you hold all the power and privilege in a heteronormative heterosexual society, can you really be offended if you are called out?”

        Called out for what? For having a privileged existence? Sure the man who yelled at you sounds like a narcissist but calling him a breeder was inaccurate. Invalidating a heterosexual relationship by degrading it to a union solely for breeding purposes is as offensive as reducing a homosexual relationship to hedonistic sex between reprobates. I’m a lesbian with a family that I gave birth to. I also grew up in a ”privileged” existence. Which part of me is or is not a breeder?

        Bottom line: Breeder is a bigoted term, just as bigoted as dyke.

        • I agree, it is disturbing that people are excusing Mitcham for his derogatory comments.
          It sucks, regardless of whether its misogynistic, or just heterosexist or just hurtful in general.
          It’s not nice to try to hurt anyone regardless of who or ‘what’ they define themselves as.

    • Actually I agree with this, “breeder” totally jumped out at me as wrong. Using such an objectifying term for anyone (and I feel like he was referring to the male shooter guy person whatever his name is) is never ok.

      Just because you’re using your body for sport doesn’t mean you get to see people only for what their body is potentially capable of doing. Nobody is only their my reproductive system.

      • @Rey – Seconded.

        @Cat – There may be some nuance to forum posting and general usage I’m still unfamilliar with but I do not see a [REPLY] button with your most recent post. Here is my response to you:

        I don’t think we’re on the same page. My stance on Mitcham’s the use of the word breeder never had anything to do with Russell Mark’s behavior.

        Illustrative analogies:
        If a Jew cuts you off in traffic, are you going to call them a k**e or just a jerk? If a Polish parent slugs one of their kids in public are you going to call them a p*****k or an impulsive and abusive parent? Or how about this; if *you* do something that someone else vehemently disagrees with, do they get to call you a dyke on principle?

        Some people do use derogatory terms for self-deprecating humor or aim them at other members of the same group, but always they are used *by* their intended target. Just as Mitcham is not black and thus cannot use the term n*****r in a self-deprecating manner, will he ever be in a position to use the term breeder appropriately because he is not, nor ever will be, a breeder.

        I see now, and do wish that I had a better understanding of Mitcham and Mark’s background when I started replying to Ali’s article, but my opinion would be the same; my posts would simply be more succinct.

  2. Now I’m totally picturing all these athletes entering the Olympic Stadium together as a nation under the Rainbow Flag…. Landstrom as the flag bearer
    You go team gay!

  3. Swedish women’s soccer team! Why are you all so cute!

    Also, I’m pretty sure the number of out people in my highschool Lacrosse & Volleyball teams exceeded 20, which makes me respect these guys so much more. I am certainly NOT blaming anyone who chooses to keep their private life private, but hopefully in the future more and more young queers can have a wide range of gay athletes to look up to. But, still, 20 is progress!

  4. Wait, so Abby Wambach is NOT out? I could’ve sworn she officially came out years ago. I mean, not that she really needs to, but, well. Confirmation of what we all already know would be nice, you know?

  5. The UK has a guy in a top hat on a horse. You know what would be even more awesome? Putting the top hat on the horse.

  6. Pinoe!!! Representing USWNT! I’m sure our gaydar will be pinging during these games. My friend is working at the games for a week. I told her to get some good gossip in the village. Her girlfriend is a little nervous about what happens in that village…

  7. The Swedish soccer team is so good to us.

    I totally love the outfits the equestrians wear, so dapper.

  8. jessica. landstrom.

    I AM SO READY FOR OLYMPIC MADNESS. i even downloaded the mobile app so that i can be unproductive when i *must* leave the house

    • Her penalty corners are AWESOME :3 I’m glad cause I’ve got tickets to four matches, which include the Netherlands vs my Home Nation, Great Britain! Excited already!

  9. “A Large Chunk of the Field Hockey Team from The Netherlands”
    “And if they were to reproduce together, their babies would just be muscles.”
    made my day.
    It’s so great to see so many out players this year :). I’m particularly surprised by the guys.

    Also, I’m officially planning on marrying Alexandra Lacrabère if only for that magazine article.

  10. Ahh the Swedish lady footballers, I thoroughly enjoy them. (Fwiw there are AT LEAST 3 more unofficially queerific girls on that team, that I know of). Also I believe both Lindahl and Landström are married now! Adorably so, ofc.

  11. Totally read “Carlien Dirkse van den Heuvel via zimbo” as “Carlien Dirkse van den Heuvel van Zimbo” and thought, “now that’s a fucking name.”

  12. ALSO, there was an out lesbian wrestler named Stephany Lee who made the U.S. Olympic team (I first heard of her via this NYTimes article:

    I was wondering if there was a reason she hadn’t made it onto this list, and then some googling led me to discover that last month she lost her spot on the Olympic team for smoking weed (see here: lame.

  13. I’m slightly confused as to whether handball is a sport regular people play, or if it’s one of those sports like curling that only gets played during the Olympics…

    Love them all.

    • Regular people play it in Europe. But you’re right that I’ve never heard of anyone playing it in the US/Canada, which is where I assume you’re from. :)

      • interesting — yeah I hear curling’s pretty popular on the regular in Canada. And Minnesota.

  14. I’ve got tickets to watch Womens field Hockey! *pumps fist*
    Francesa Schiavone (Italy) is playing Olympic tennis, saw her play at Wimbledon this year and pretty sure (read: hope) she loves on the ladies…or maybe it was just me crushing on her *blush*.

    • Pretty sure if you’re watching the Hockey it’s not gunna be just the Dutch team which is on the, um, happy side of life

      Also, women’s basketball.

      *just sayin’*

  15. When I saw “Two Australians,” all I could think was, “Please let it be that hurdler that the Internet is going crazy over.” I was disappointed.

  16. Oh yes, the Swedish soccer team.. During the last womens world cup we counted out players on the swedish team, out of the 11 players on the field, 8 of them were gay. Although not officially, but these ladies don’t have to come out, it’s just understood that they play for our team. And by our I mean the gay team.

  17. Just wanna say, interesting that two of the (few) out male athletes are participating in equestrian sport. I myself participate in the same sport, (dressage) and it certainly is one in which there are many – MANY – out athletes! Glad to say that I have encountered nothing but acceptance by my peers in the sport. Too bad the rest of the ‘sports world’ couldn’t be the same… :S Count me lucky!! ;)

    • Agreed. My gf and I are amateur show jumpers, also accepted in our community. Woo gayquestrians!

  18. In the spirit of the Olympics, if you weren’t already in love with the USWNT this video will make you fall in love with them:

    (just wait for the section with Abby and LeP and die of happiness)

  19. Seimone! Always a fave in a game of Who Is Really Gay in the WNBA.

    Love how the South African archer mentions intersectionality

    As for Matthew or whoever, its called the Gay Loophole and I used it to the fullest in my dorm room, you gonna have to get over that.

  20. the prude Avery Brundage is probably spinning in his grave knowing that every one is not pure as the driven snow. It will be a great day when more women leave the closet and enter the world they truly feel. for far too long we have been thought of weird for our believes and feelings. THANK ALL YOU BRAVE LADIES.

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