Beijing Winter Olympics 2022: Record LGBTQIA+ participation observed in the games

The Beijing Winter Olympics 2022 is making a difference for LGBTQIA+ athletes, against a backdrop of severe backlash.

Thomas Daley of Team Great Britain
© Fred Lee/Getty Images
Thomas Daley of Team Great Britain

It's time for the Beijing Winter Olympics 2022, after the stunning Summer Olympics in Tokyo in 2021. And this time, we've come to a pleasant conclusion: the number of LGBTQIA+ participants continues to rise!

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LGBTQIA+ community's silver lining

According to Outsports, the Beijing Games will include a record 35 LGBTQIA+ athletes competing in the Winter Games.

But, the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing will take place in an environment that is becoming increasingly difficult for LGBTQIA+ athletes and individuals to express themselves.

In a statement to CNN Sport, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said:

{Our goal} is to ensure that there is no discrimination at the Olympic Games and that all athletes can compete and live together under one roof in the Olympic Village whatever their backgrounds or beliefs are and free from fear and any form of discrimination.

It is progress for a country that regarded homosexuality to be a mental disease until 2001. They now boast the highest number of LGBTQIA+ athletes in all the Olympics.

IOC adds:

By carrying out this vital mission, the Olympic Games showcase how the world could be if the world would be free from any prejudice.

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Chinese impositions on the LGBTQIA+ community

Despite the fact that there is a record number of LGBTQIA+ athletes participating in this year's Olympics, China has retaliated against the country's burgeoning LGBTQIA+ community in a number of ways.

  1. China prohibits same-sex marriage all across the country.
  2. More than a dozen LGBTQIA+ accounts created by university students were taken down by WeChat, a prominent messaging platform in China, in July 2021.
  3. The Chinese government has declared it unlawful for online video platforms to disseminate anything portraying 'abnormal sexual behaviours,' including same-sex relationships.

Athletes that publicly identify as LGBTQIA+ as part of their public image are few in China. And the ones who do go public, face several backlashes. Such was the case of Li Ying—a prominent footballer for the Chinese women's national team, who celebrated her anniversary with her girlfriend on social media.

Hopefully, this year's Olympics will alter the landscapes for the LGBTQIA+ community in China.

More LGBTQ+ athletes than ever
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