Team Canada Steps Up To Host Pride House At Winter Olympics

"Team Canada is proud to embrace its diversity at Canada House."

Plans for a dedicated Pride House at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang fell through after activists in South Korea were unable to secure funding. But the Canadian Olympic Committee saved the day by hosting a Pride House within its Olympic Village pavilion.

On the front door of Canada House, a welcoming message greets guests: “Within these walls where those with Olympics hearts come to gather, you are welcomed, accepted and respected. This is your house no matter who you are or where you come from.”

Debuting at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver, Pride Houses were set up to be safe spaces where LGBT athletes and their allies could congregate, socialize, and share their experiences during international sporting events. There have been Pride Houses at the Commonwealth Games and World Cup, though Russia prohibited one at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi.

The new space, produced in conjunction with Pride House International and the Korean Sexual Minority Culture and Rights Center, marks the first Pride House in Asia, and the first directly affiliated with a national Olympic committee.

“Team Canada is proud to embrace its diversity at Canada House. We are stronger when we celebrate our differences,”, said Chris Overholt, CEO of the Canadian Olympic Committee in a statement. “We are pleased to be able to share with the world what it means to be Canadian and what it means to #BeOlympic.”

There are at least 13 openly gay athletes at this year’s Olympics, including Canadian figure skater Eric Radford, who took home a gold medal over the weekend.

Arthur Tam is a Hong Kong-based journalist and former editor at Time Out Hong Kong.