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10 LGBTQ trailblazers scoring one for diversity in sport

Attitude 101 empowered by Bentley celebrates LGBTQ trailblazers.

By Alastair James

Following on from the success of last year’s inaugural list, Attitude 101 is back and once again we’re celebrating 100 LGBTQ trailblazers across 10 categories, and one person of the year. This time around we’re proud to be empowered by Bentley

The categories are Politics; The Future, supported by Clifford Chance; Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths; Media and Broadcast; Travel; Film TV and Music, supported by Taimi; Business, Financial and Legal; Third Sector and the Community; and Fashion, Art and Design supported by Klarna. Our Person of the Year is game-changinig rapper Lil Nas X. 

You can check out the full list and interviews with some of those included in the Attitude 101 issue – out now to download and to order globally. Check out our Sport category below.

Josh Cavallo, footballer

Photo: Leon Tran

The world’s only top-tier openly gay footballer, Australian Josh Cavallo made waves when he came out publicly in October. Before becoming midfielder for Adelaide United the 22-year-old spent 18 months with Western United after time at the Melbourne Victory and Melbourne City’s youth teams. In a video posted on social media Josh said he’d once thought being able to be gay and play football “were just two worlds that hadn’t crossed paths before,” but that he was now ready to show everyone “the true Josh Cavallo.”

Alex Kay-Jelski, Sports journalist

Smashing glass ceilings for gay men in sports journalism, Alex Kay- Jelski is the UK and European editor-in-chief of The Athletic, the game-changing, subscription-based publication that shook up the British sports media scene in 2019 with news, commentary, and analysis predominantly centered on domestic and international football. A former sports editor for the Daily Mail and The Times, Alex has consistently ensured his news desks lead the conversation around the pressing LGBTQ+ sports issues of the day, from top-level football’s lack of out players to human rights issues in Poland, Russia, and Qatar.

Sarah Stirk, Sports journalist

Since beginning her broadcasting career on Manchester United channel MUTV, sports journalist Sarah Stirk, 43, has reported for the BBC, Setanta, and Sky News. Now the well-established face of Sky Sports golf coverage working across the European Tour and PGA Tour, Sarah’s journalistic talent is matched only by her golfing prowess (handicap of 7, FYI). After declaring “I am proud of who I am” and coming out publicly in an interview with Attitude in 2021, the sports TV trailblazer is looking forward to the birth of her first child in 2022.

Tom Daley, Diver

Photo: Eddie Blagborough

Diver and Team GB pin-up Tom Daley reached the pinnacle of his sport in 2021 when he finally secured Olympic gold, immediately using his platform to declare to a room full of journalists from countries including Russia and China: “I feel incredibly proud to say that I am a gay man and also an Olympic champion.” Refusing to rule out another shot at Olympic glory in Paris in 2024, the Attitude Sport Award-winner has made clear that his commitment to furthering LGBTQ+ equality extends beyond simply being visible, telling Attitude: “I want to make it my mission to create change. Not just to talk about it but to action it.”

Carl Nassib, American footballer

American football star Carl Nassib made history during US Pride month in June, becoming the first active NFL player to come out publicly as gay (while simultaneously pledging to donate $100,000 to LGBTQ+ suicide prevention charity The Trevor Project). After receiving universal public support from his team bosses, the Las Vegas Raiders defensive end, 28, promptly marked his first match as an out gay player in September by helping to set up a game-winning touchdown — and the fairytale continued the following month when he confirmed he was dating an “awesome” guy.

Quinn, Footballer

Not content with being the first out transgender, non-binary athlete in history to compete at the Olympics at Tokyo 2020, Canadian football star Quinn made sure they were also the first to take home a medal — and not just any medal, but a gold one. The Toronto-born centre-back and midfielder marched to victory in the Japanese capital less than a year after coming out publicly and seven years after making their debut for the senior national squad aged 18. Quinn is still just 26, so we expect them to net plenty more milestones before they eventually hang up their rainbow boots.

Ramsey Angela, Athlete

Dutch Olympic athlete Ramsey Angela is an exceedingly rare example of an out, bisexual man in top-flight track running. The 22-year-old from Rotterdam made his Olympic debut in Tokyo this summer, taking home silver with his teammates in the men’s 4x400m relay. Already a European champion, Ramsey’s next major competition will come at the World Championships Indoor in Belgrade, Serbia, next March, and he tells Attitude that Paris 2024 is already at the forefront of his mind. At least he’ll have somewhere nice to relax before then, having recently received the keys to his first apartment with his boyfriend.

Laurel Hubbard, Weightlifter

In 2021, the New Zealand weightlifter achieved her dream of competing at an Olympic Games, becoming the first trans woman to do so in the process. Despite trans athletes being allowed to compete since 2004 and Hubbard meeting all requirements for competition, the 43-year- old sadly found herself at the centre of a media firestorm, proving her strength both in and out of competition as she competed in the women’s +87 kilogram category with a quiet dignity sadly not exhibited by her detractors. Despite hinting at retirement in the wake of her appearance in Tokyo, Laurel’s place in history will forever be assured.

Daria Kasatkina, Tennis player

The 24-year-old Russian tennis ace is a former top 10-ranked player, teen phenomenon, and junior French Open champion who’s previously made the quarter-finals of both the Wimbledon Championships and the French Open. Amid a resurgent year in 2021 that saw her claim two WTA titles and climb back into the world’s top 30, Daria served up the headline-generating news that she’s open to relationships with both men and women; a not-insignificant move given ongoing struggles for LGBTQ+ people in the nation of her birth.

Douglas Souza, Volleyball player

The outside hitter for Brazil’s men’s national volleyball team is arguably the world’s most famous volleyball player, boasting almost three million followers on Instagram alone. The 2016 Olympic champion and 2019 World Cup champion, 26, came out publicly as gay on Instagram in April last year, declaring: “I want to be remembered as Douglas who made history as the first homosexual in volleyball who managed to play at a high level… If I, a skinny, tiny boy from the interior of São Paulo succeeded, you’ll also succeed.”

Check out the full, detailed list in the Attitude 101 issue, which is out now to download and to order globally. The Attitude 101 issue includes the FREE Attitude 2022 calendar, presented in association with Taimi.

Subscribe in print and get your first three issues for just £1 each, or digitally for just over £1.50 per issue.