Through his Queerstory Files blog, Schupam-Bilton dives into the data of LGBT Olympians. Recapping the competition record of those athletes identified as queer - whether during or past their Olympic appearance - and uncovers a wealth of representation, spanning the Games from 1912 to the present, Summer to Winter.
While the mention of certain high-profile athletes, such as Tom Daley, Sue Bird, or Ian Thorpe, won't be a surprise to casual Olympic fans, the real joy for Queerstory followers is the recognition of lesser-known names and stories. Discover Lais Souza, a Brazilian gymnast who had a brief change to aerial skiing before a tragic injury; Ondrej Nepela, a Czechoslovakian figure skater who appeared at Innsbruck 1964 at only age 13, or Leif Rovsing, Danish tennis player at Stockholm 1912 who came out in 1917(!) to become the first known LGBT Olympian.
Die-hard Olympic sports fans may recognize these athlete stories, but their placement within the context of LGBT-ism is a joy. That's certainly in part due to an element of "I didn't know they were gay", but mostly due to the cumulative yet simple recognition of LGBT presence throughout Games history. Presented as straightforward, researched facts, the acknowledgement of queers' athletic accomplishment brings pride.
It's the earnest work of outlets such as Queerstory and Outsports that help drive the truth that LGBT athletes, have, do, and will exist(ed). And, this work has certainly helped inspire parts of my own blogging, as I look for interesting and unique news items on Olympic sports athletes - highlighting fellow LGBT community members is a happy bonus. As Scupham-Bilton and Outsports (and others like Athlete Ally and You Can Play) will likely attest, it's still critically important to reinforce the diversity of LGBT representation in the large niche of sports.
You can find Queerstory Files here. (Olympic-specific posts here) and read Outsports here (Five Rings to Rule Them All podcast here).