Emma Wiggs, a British para canoeist gold medallist, was a late bloomer when it came to understanding her sexual identity. Wiggs only came to understand that she was gay at the age of 30.
She believes speaking about her identity openly will provide the opportunity for other LGBT+ people to do the same. Wiggs has taken gold twice in the Paralympics, first in 2012 and then at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021. Wiggs is happily married and jokingly said it’s up to her wife if she retires or not.
Astrid Guyart had a very eventful year to usher in her retirement. Guyart seized the opportunity to come out as an LGBTQ+ athlete at the Tokyo 2021 Olympics and then went on to secure second place in the Team Women’s Foil, earning her a silver medal.
She spoke of openly embracing her identity as a lesbian in her teens and recalled how her then-girlfriend would not come out, but today the athelet is happily married to her wife, Julie.
Nesthy Petecio will forever be remembered as a true Olympic champion after achieving a number of world firsts. When Petecio secured her silver medal at the Tokyo Summer Olympics, she tearfully dedicated it to the LGBTQ+ community stating “This fight is also for the LGBTQ community.”
Among her groundbreaking achievements, Petecio is the first and only Filipina woman to win a boxing medal at the Olympics as well as being the first Filipina to win a medal in the boxing division for the Philippines in twenty-five years.
Ann Wauters, a Belgium native playing for the WNBA in America, got her first taste of Olympic running the Belgian squad in 2021 at the age of forty. She recalled her journey of coming out, for her it happened much later in life.
She realized she never felt right when dating men but felt immense joy being with her first girlfriend. Ann mentioned the challenges of playing in countries that are not gay-friendly but she still tries to respect the culture of the country.
Perris Benega is a twenty-six-year-old BMX rider from Raleigh, North Carolina. Perris made the cut and went on to represent America at the Tokyo Summer Olympics, placing fourth overall in the BMX freestyle event.
A few weeks before the Olympics, Perris wrote an emotional post on her private Instagram announcing her coming out. Perris mentioned that the thought of coming out gave her insomnia. She was worried about how this would affect her family. She ended up receiving incredible support.