By Dirk Smith, M.Sc, SDL (He/Him)
Amazin LêThị has been quite busy working to expand and advocate for representation of Asian LGBTQ+ athletes in sports. Serving in ambassadorship roles for six organizations, including Athlete Ally, Stonewall, Pride House Birminghamm 2022, WorldPride/Eurogames 2021, Vietnam Relief Services and now Federation of the Gay Games.
The Federation of Gay Games Ambassadors work with the organization to promote the Gay Games mission of promoting equality and inclusion through sport and culture. LêThị’s own work on this front includes organizing the first ‘Spirit Day ‘ collaboration with GLAAD to stand up against bullying and harassment, taking part in the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders ‘Act to Change’, collaborating with the It Gets Better campaign and many other initiatives.
“When you read about Amazin’s story from homelessness to depression to discrimination it’s relatable to so many marginalized people out there,” says Shiv Paul, FGG Vice President of External Relations who manages the Ambassador program. “Her emergence as a powerhouse of advocacy for inclusion is truly inspiring. I am ecstatic we have someone like Amazin to help us both to think strategically about ways to make change and to make it happen .”
LêThị’s work is paramount in increasing the representation of Asian LGBTQ+ athletes in all different kinds of sports. Especially in sports that are outside of the stereotypical Asian sports that lead to underlying racist and hypersexualization of Asian athletes that also limit opportunities to pursue “typically non-Asian” sports. For LêThị it’s all about intersectionality by recognizing that a lot of the issues Asian and LGBTQ+ athletes are not mutually exclusive but instead building discussion that is truly inclusive. LêThị is expanding her role across these different organizations to further this goal.
Joanna Hoffman, Director of Communications for Athlete Ally™ says of LêThị, “In her time as an Athlete Ally Ambassador, Amazin LêThị has broken barriers in sport by speaking her truth as an out Vietnamese athlete, HIV advocate and as a strong ally for the transgender community. We are proud to have her fighting alongside us in our work to make sport inclusive for all. She will be a tremendous asset for FGG, and we look forward to working together towards our shared goals on inclusion and equality.”
Jeff Ingold, Head of Media, Stonewall (he/him) said, “We’re thrilled to hear Amazin has been made an ambassador for the Federation of Gay Games. Amazin has been a tremendous Sports Champion for us and her commitment to making sport everyone’s game is unwavering. We look forward to seeing what new heights she reaches in this new role and continuing our work together to build a more inclusive sporting world.” “As an advocate and athlete, I am honoured to become an ambassador for Federation of Gay Games and in doing so represent the Asian LGBTQ community.” says LêThị Together we can be a #VoiceWithAction and work together to champion diversity and inclusion in sports. This role and partnership with the Federation of Gay Games will allow us to put a spotlight on the challenges and barriers Asian LGBTQ people face in society and sports.”
In the wake of the Anti-Asian racist attacks in Atlanta, it is clear that the politicization of the Coronavirus has led to a rise against people of Asian descent throughout the US and around the world. LêThị reminds us that we must all do our part to stand up against such bigotry and discrimination by learning how to identify and call out such behavior, take the opportunity for intersectional conversations about these issues and most importantly, reflect upon our own biases and privileges that might influence our perceptions as well.
Photo Courtesy of Amazin LêThị