Sixty-three-year-old Terry Hayes is not someone who lets any challenge stand in her way. In 2012 Terry was diagnosed with a disease that trusted her into full-time wheelchair use.
However, true to her nature, Terry persisted and found herself representing America at the Tokyo Paralympics. Terry, self-identifying as lesbian, proudly considers herself part of the LGBTQIA sporting fraternity and acknowledges her wife Freda as a lifelong inspiration.
It had been almost four decades before a New Zealander stepped onto the diving board to compete at the Olympics. Anton Down-Jenkins was the first New Zealander in almost half a century to do so. Down-Jenkins has been candid about his sexuality as a gay man since joining the New Zealand national diving team.
He has recalled always feeling supported and confident in his sexuality but realizes that many athletes do not. He has said that LGBTQI+ representation in the media is incredibly important for the community.
Hailey Danz, a paralympic athlete, penned an essay during the 2021 Pride Month proclaiming her pride in being gay. Danz brought her personal struggles to the open and wrote of how she struggled to accept herself.
After finding her performance being affected by this stress, she noted how a conversation with her coach made her realize she was using too much energy to erect walls trying to hide who she was. Danz hopes her story will inspire future LGBTQIA individuals and athletes.
Tom Daley is celebrated as a forerunner in LGBTQIA sporting representation. In 2013, Tom posted a heartfelt video to his YouTube channel announcing his decision to come out publically, five years after becoming renowned in British diving.
After coming out, Tom became a vocal supporter and campaigner for LGBTQIA rights and representation. Tom married screenwriter Dustin Lance Black in 2017 and the couple now has a son. Tom became famous for a curious quirk during the Olympics, knitting between events!
Chelsea Wolfe discovered her love of BMX riding at the tender age of six. Recalling her childhood dreams of being a professional athlete, Chelsea feared that she would “never be welcome” as a trans athlete or “even be accepted as a BMX rider at all.”
After BMX freestyle was announced as an official Olympic sport in 2016, Chelsea was selected as an alternate for the U.S. Women’s Olympic BMX freestyle team. Although not competing in the event, Chelsea was the first trans person in Team USA to represent the United States.