This year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo will be the most inclusive yet, with a record number of openly out lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and nonbinary athletes set to compete. According to a report published by Outsports, at least 142 LGBTQ athletes will be competing at this year’s Games. This is a big increase from the 2016 Olympics in Rio, in which there were 56 openly out athletes. In 2012, there were 23. These numbers likely reflect the growing acceptance of LGBTQ athletes in sport and culture.
This year’s Olympics will also see the first openly transgender competitors. Weightlifter Laurel Hubbard will be representing New Zealand in the women’s over-87-kg category, despite some controversy. Hubbard joins Chelsea Wolfe, a trans BMXer from the USA, as the first transgender athletes to travel to the Olympics.
LGBTQ athletes will compete in 26 different sports, representing 25 different countries. Thirty athletes on Outsports’ list are from the United States, making it the country with the highest number of openly out athletes. Notably, no LGBTQ athletes are competing for the host country Japan, which trails behind other countries for LGBTQ rights.
The list is compiled of athletes who have openly come out to the media or are obviously out on their social media and includes reserve athletes but not coaches or trainers. Outsports has said they will be publishing a separate report on LGBTQ Paralympians.