French Olympic Gold Medalist Comes Out As Transgender

"I was engaged in a billion things," says canoer Sandra Forgues. "My intimate life was in a prison."

Olympic kayaker Sandra Forgues has come out as transgender, Outsports reports. Forgues was part of France’s gold-medal-winning canoe team at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta and won a bronze in Barcelona.

She told L’Equipe that, while she struggled with her gender identity for years, before finally deciding to transition about a year-and-a-half ago.

“Until then, I had a really successful social, family and professional life. I was engaged in a billion things. But my intimate life was in a prison. I always thought it would be one or the other.”

Forgues, who won several world championships in men’s canoe slalom in the 1990s, is now retired from the sport. She joins decathlete Caitlyn Jenner and German pole vaulter Balian Buschbaum as one of only a few Olympians to come out as trans.

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The International Olympic Committee has continued to update and revise its rules regarding transgender athletes and hormone treatments, including not requiring Olympians to undergo gender-confirmation surgery to compete.

Hannah Mouncey, who previously played for Australia’s men’s handball team, hopes to make the women’s team for the Tokyo Games, making her the first out trans athlete to compete in the Olympics.

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.
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