Every year, the month of June is celebrated as Pride month to honour the various struggles and obstacles faced by the LGBTQ+ community. They have come a long way fighting for their rights to live a life of dignity and still, there is a lot to achieve.
With the Tokyo Olympics
getting underway in July, it could be a watershed event that could open the door for a wider reach of the LGBTQ+ movement.
Firstly, Pride House Tokyo, which opened its doors on International Coming Out Day on 11 October 2020, is the first to get official International Olympic Committee (IOC) backing.
Pride House Tokyo is aimed at educating the world and also Japan of the difficulties the LGBTQ community has playing and enjoying sports ... while helping create a safe space for the community too.
The Olympic platform can be a key driver of change, with its inclusive approach to LGBT rights, and the demands of athletes to use their voice for change. "In sports, we are all equal," International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said at the opening of Tokyo's Pride House.
New Zealand's 43-year-old weightlifter Laurel Hubbard is on track to become the first transgender athlete to compete at the Olympics.
The head of the Tokyo Olympics, Seiko Hashimoto, visited Pride House Tokyo where she discussed how to bring more inclusivity in the Games that are advertised as celebrating "unity in diversity" and "passing on a legacy for the future."
"We need to take action now," Hashimoto said, adding that she wants people to remember the Tokyo Games as a "turning point in achieving diversity and harmony, including understanding for LGBTQ" issues.
The IOC has committed towards inclusion across the Olympic Movement and recognises that all athletes, regardless of their gender identity or sex characteristics should engage in safe and fair competition and therefore has also opened doors for transgender athletes to take part in the Olympics.
New Zealand's 43-year-old weightlifter Laurel Hubbard is on track to become the first transgender athlete to compete at the Olympics. Hubbard had competed in men's weightlifting competitions before transitioning in 2013. She has been eligible to compete in the Olympics since 2015 when the International Olympic Committee issued guidelines allowing any transgender athlete to compete as a woman provided her testosterone levels are below 10 nanomoles per litre for at least 12 months before her first competition.
Currently, the IOC is developing new guidance to help ensure that athletes — regardless of their gender identity and/or sex characteristics -- can engage in safe and fair competition.