Happy LGBTQ+ History Month! Every October is celebrated as LGBTQ+ History Month to recognize and educate about people, places and events that have had an impact on the LGBTQ+ Community. All month we are going to honor some influential athletes, companies, organizations and sports figures who have made a contribution toward LGBTQ+ History.
Andreas Krieger (B. 07/22/1966) is a former shot-putter who competed for East Germany during the late 1970s and throughout the 1980s as Heidi Krieger. At age 14 Krieger attended a special school for athletes where she quickly excelled and begun her career as a professional athlete. Having competed for the SC Dynamo Berlin team, Kreiger won gold in Shot Put at the 1986 European Championships.
A victim of the East German systemic doping program, Krieger was given mysterious “vitamins” since the age of 16 and throughout her athletic career under the guidance of her coach. Her body begin to develop more masculine characteristics as a result of the anabolic steroids which messed with her body chemistry, however her performance significantly improved.
In 1989 Krieger ended her athletic career at it’s peak and shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall due to the effects and the toll that doping had taken on her body. Including experiencing massive pain throughout her body from lifting heavy weights or powerful movements.
Throughout the 1990s Krieger faced a lot inner turmoil and feelings of gender dysphoria but did not fully understand what it meant. In 1995 when a co-worker suggested that she might be transexual. In 1997 Heidi Krieger underwent gender reassignment surgery and became Andreas Krieger. It was a surgery that potential saved his life.
Krieger’s gender reassignment surgery brought a lot of media attention to Germany and the former East German doping program. It helped inspire other victims to speak out against the doping program. In 2000 the leaders of the East German doping program were put on trial and formally convicted for the roles they played.
At the trial, Krieger met his now wife Ute Krause who was a swimmer for East German who was also a victim of the doping program. They married in 2002.
in a 2004 interview with The New York Times Krieger stated he “felt out of place and longed in some vague way to be a boy” even before receiving hormonal treatments. However as a result of the doping without his consent he felt deprived of the opportunity to “find out for myself which sex I wanted to be.”
Krieger still suffers from pain and other side effects both mentally and physically due to the massive amounts of steroids he unknowingly took as an athlete. He advocates against doping in sport and often still speaks out against it. The Heidi Krieger Medal is an annual award for Germans who combat doping.