Only 20 Openly Gay or Lesbian Athletes at London 2012

August 24, 2012 3:38 PM reports that only 20 openly gay and lesbian athletes will compete at this summer’s Olympics, including two from the Paralympic Games.

Matthew Mitcham
Although this number is up from the previous Olympic Games in Athens and Beijing, which saw 11 and 10 athletes respectively, it is still a shockingly low number. With 12,602 athletes due to compete at the Games, this means that just under 0.2% of them are openly part of the LGBT community.

Of these 20 athletes only three of them are men, including one member of team GB (Eqestrian, Carl Hester) and Matthew Mitcham, the Australian Olympic winner who has spoken openly about his sexuality and how comfortable he is with being labelled an icon for the LGBT community. Back in 2008, Matthew told the Sydney Morning Herald:
"Ideally I would like one day for sexuality to be as unimportant and uninteresting as hair colour, or eye colour or even just gender in general. One day it will get to that. But until it is easy for sports people to come out without fear of persecution or fear of lost sponsorship income and stuff like that, or fear of being comfortable in the team environment, I don't mind attention being brought to my sexuality in the hope that it might make other people feel more comfortable…in being comfortable enough about who they are in their sporting environment."
The 20 athletes known to be gay or lesbian are:

Matthew Mitcham (Australia, diving)
Edward Gal (Netherlands, equestrian)
Lisa Raymond (US, doubles tennis)
Judith Arndt (Germany, cycling)
Seimone Augustus (US, basketball)
Imke Duplitzer (Germany, fencing)
Megan Rapinoe (US soccer)
Marilyn Agliotti (Netherlands, field hockey)
Carl Hester (Britian, equestrian)
Carlien Dirkse van den Heuval (Netherlands, field hockey)
Mayssa Pessoa (Brazil, Handball)
Rikke Skov (Denmark, handball)
Maartje Paumen (Netherlands, field hockey)
Natalie Cook (Australia, beach volleyball)
Alexandra Lacrabère (France, handball)
Jessica Landström (Sweden, soccer)
Hedvig Lindahl (Sweden, soccer)
Lisa Dahlkvist (Sweden, Soccer)
Carole Péon (France, triathlon)
Jessica Harrison (France, triathlon)

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