Meet Three Queer Women Going For The Gold At The Winter Games

Look for these trailblazing women in Pyeongchang.

Pro sports hasen’t always been friendly to LGBT athletes, who can still face backlash from teammates or lose sponsorships if they come out. But times are changing, and queer Olympians are helping in a major way.

In 2014, seven out athletes competed in the Sochi Winter Games, all of them women. At this year’s Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, even more queer athletes are slated to compete.

Below, we highlight three amazing women who’ve helped make the Olympics a more welcoming place for LGBT athletes.

Snowboarder Belle Brockhoff

Out since 2013, this 24-year-old Australian didn’t medal at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, but she did speak out against Russia’s gay-propaganda ban.

Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

“I’m not afraid of these laws and I want others that live in Russia, who are homosexuals, to see that,” she told BBC Sports.

Balance werk 11 days left till @donjoyperformance

A post shared by BELLE BROCKHOFF (@bellebrockhoff) on


Brockhoff has been sharing photos from recent training sessions and tweets in support of both the #TimesUp movement and equal marriage in her homeland.

 

Speed Skater Ireen Wüst

Wüst, 31, has won four gold medals for the Netherlands, her first at the 2006 Games in Turin, Italy, when she was just 19.

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Since then she’s become the most successful Dutch athlete to compete in the Olympics and was named Reuters’ Sportswoman of the World in 2014.

VINCENT JANNINK/AFP/Getty Images

Wüst, who identifies as bisexual, publicly announced her relationship with girlfriend Letitia de Jong last year.

Tijd om weer thuis te komen!

A post shared by Letitia de Jong (@letitiadejong) on


 

Snowboarder Cheryl Maas

Maas, another Dutch Olympian, competed in the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi but said she was “disappointed” at the International Olympic Committee’s decision to hold the games in a country with such a bad record of civil rights abuses.

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Brent Lewis/The Denver Post via Getty Images

“With the choice for Russia, the IOC is taking a step back in time,” the 24-year-old told NU Sports. “Russia lives in the past while looking to the future.”

Maas is married to retired Norwegian snowboarder Stine Brun Kjeldaas: The couple have two daughters, Lara and Mila, both of who make frequent appearances on Maas’ social media.


The 2018 Winter Olympics will be held February 9 to 25 in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Correction: In an earlier version of this story, we incorrectly reported that Wüst and partner Letitia de Jong were married. We apologize for the error.

Samantha Manzella is a writer and copy editor based out of the Hudson Valley. You can find her writing in a coffeehouse or searching Insta for the latest tattoo artist to hit the scene.
@slmjournalist