Post submitted by Liam Miranda, former Senior Research Manager, Public Education & Research, and Hayley Miller, Associate Director of Digital & Social Media
This summer, soccer fans from around the globe will gather to watch the Women’s World Cup, which kicks off June 7 and ends July 7.
Global tournaments like these are always a pivotal moment for LGBTQ visibility. When we see open and proud role models who share our experiences and identities on the field, court, track or elsewhere, we are reminded of our own potential and power. When we see visible LGBTQ athletes playing sports, we see ourselves represented as champions. We know of at least five LGBTQ women on the U.S. team (Ali Krieger, Ashlyn Harris, Megan Rapinoe, Adrianna Franch and Tierna Davidson). There are also LGBTQ players competing in the tournament from Argentina, Australia, Canada, England, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa and Sweden.
A 2019 HRC Foundation survey showed that over half of LGBTQ people would be more likely to follow a sport in which there were openly LGBTQ athletes or coaches. However, it can be challenging to come out: over 70% of respondents said they didn’t disclose their LGBTQ identity to coaches and teammates when they participated in sports.
This has an impact. Of the athletes that didn’t disclose their LGBTQ identity in sports, the majority said it affected their mood, relationships with teammates and overall engagement. Athletes thrive when they have the ability to be their full selves in sports. This is why it’s so important that we have amazing LGBTQ role models participating in the World Cup this month -- they show us it is possible to both be LGBTQ and play at the highest level.
HRC also celebrates LGBTQ members of the athletic community who, for any number of reasons, are unable to come out. We reaffirm our commitment to creating a world in which everyone can authentically participate in sports, school, work, government and all facets of society.