Celebrating Pride Month and LGBTQ Swimming Community

USA Swimming - Pride Logo

Celebrating Pride Month and LGBTQ Swimming Community

June is Pride Month, a time to celebrate love and acceptance of all people, no matter their identity or orientation. Today, as we reach the end of Pride Month, we highlight LGBTQ members of the aquatic world who have spoken out about their identity. We also recognize organizations that have shown their support of the LGBTQ community and taken an active stance against homophobia.

USA Swimming

In USA Swimming’s LGBTQ Resource Guide, the organization states that it is “committed to a culture of inclusion and opportunity for people of diverse backgrounds, including, but not limited to, race, age, income, ethnicity, religion, gender, gender expression, and sexual orientation.” The guide includes a “Who’s Who?” section, that provides background on some swimmers from the LGBTQ community. There is also a list of appropriate vocabulary, important statistics, and suggestions on how to make the pool a “Safe Space” for all.

Click here to go USA Swimming’s LGBTQ Resource Guide

Speedo

In June of 2018, Speedo released a limited edition Pride collection in support of gay rights. “Speedo USA fosters an inclusive environment in all areas of its business,” said Speedo USA President John Graham. “We are proud to bring that same spirit to our apparel offerings this month and connect athletes of all orientations with LGBTQ swim communities as we support Pride in June and beyond.” Speedo has showed continuous support of the LGBTQ community, continuing to release suits from the Pride collection and sharing stories of LGBTQ swimmers on social media.

Tom Luchsinger

USA Swimming National Team Member Tom Luchsinger, a world-class butterflier, came out as gay in a 2014 OutSports Essay titled “King of the Double Life: Olympic hopeful Tom Luchsinger could hide being gay from the cameras but not the mirror.” Luchsinger says he “came out publicly in order to help people who continue to struggle.” Recently, Luchsinger swam in the Melbourne 2020 IGLA Championships where he brought home some hardware (pictured in the Instagram post below). IGLA is “the world’s foremost international organisation solely devoted to developing and promoting gay and lesbian swimming, water polo, diving, and synchronised swimming,” according to the organization’s website. “Each year IGLA sanctions an international aquatics sports championships in a different international city, with one in every four years coinciding with the Gay Games.”

Schuyler Bailar

On his website, Pink Mantaray, it states that “Schuyler is the first trans athlete to compete in any sport on an NCAA D1 men’s team, and the only to have competed for all four years. He is an internationally-celebrated inspirational speaker and a respected advocate for inclusion, body-positivity, and mental health awareness.” After struggling with an eating disorder in high school, Schuyler Bailar underwent rehab, where he was finally able to voice his struggle with gender identity. He began transitioning in 2014, and underwent surgery and hormone replacement therapy in 2015. Bailar went on to swim for the men’s varsity swim team at Harvard University, ending his career with a time in the 100 breaststroke that “ranked him in the top 15% of all NCAA swims for the season and in the top 34% of all NCAA Division 1 swims for the season.” Now after graduating from Harvard, Bailar is an advocate for inclusion and a public speaker.

“Being transgender is not an illness. It’s part of my identity—it’s part of who I am.”

View this post on Instagram

Trans bodies are pool bodies. Trans bodies are summer bodies, beach bodies, sexy bodies. Trans bodies are good bodies. Trans bodies can lounge about. Trans bodies should take up space. Trans bodies are beautiful bodies – so rich with history, herstory, and their story. Trans people belong in sport, in the media, on magazine covers, in the workplace, in the military…trans bodies belong. — Today is National Coming Out Day, so naturally I wandered around a random pool (and fitness center, swipe to the end for this ridiculousness) goonin’ in my Speedo. My biggest pride in my smallest piece of clothing. Hehe. But in all seriousness, trans people deserve to feel good and at home in their bodies and for many of us that requires coming out and transition. Coming out & access to transition should not be the privilege that it is today. But while it still is: a shoutout to all the folks who don’t feel safe to come out. Whose coming out might elicit violence & homelessness & painful rejection. And to those who did come out but were met with violence & homelessness & rejection. You are still you. Your identity is valid, even if they invalidate you. That is about them and their character, NOT about you. You do not deserve any of that pain & their insecurities. You are more than their rejection. You are a whole, brilliant human. I see you, and I hope one day the world will get the privilege of seeing you, too. — #nationalcomingoutday #transvisibility #transguy #speedo #pride #transswimmer #transathlete

A post shared by Schuyler Bailar (he/him) (@pinkmantaray) on

G Ryan

Pan-American Games medalist and former U.S. National team member G Ryan identifies as genderqueer and non-binary, using they/them/their pronouns. At University of Michigan, they took steps to advocate for gender inclusive bathrooms and have since pushed USA Swimming to become more inclusive as an organization. “It took time for me to find the vocabulary to express how I defined myself. Until I did that, I couldn’t explain that to anyone else. Words and their meanings have power, and as part of the LGBTQ community, I wish to use words to establish solidarity and build a network of support for people of all identities,” reads a quote from Ryan on the USA Swimming LGBTQ Resource Guide.

These are just the stories of a few members of the LGBTQ swimming community, with thousands still going untold. Furthermore, the aforementioned list of organizations and individuals that have voiced their support of the LGBTQ community is by no means comprehensive.

May we continue to support, honor, and respect members of the LGBTQ community, during not just this pride month, but every month of the year. #lovewins #swimclusion

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.