By David “Dirk” Smith, M.Sc., SDL (He/Him)
Lesbian Visibility Week is an annual celebration and elevation of LGBTQ+ women to build awareness, education, and visibility of accomplishments, identities, and topics of LGBT+ women. For Lesbian Visibility Week 2022, we would like to recognize several LGBTQ+ women athletes who are building visibility and making a strong impact on the LGBTQ+ community.
Brittney Griner is a professional WNBA player for the Phoenix Mercury and is an outspoken advocate for the LGBTQ+ community. She has been featured on the cover of People and ESPN magazine; she is the first openly gay athlete to sign with Nike. She has won seven WNBA championships and two Olympic gold medals. Earlier this year, Griner was detained in Russia during her trip to play for the Russian women’s basketball team, UMMC Ekaterinburg. Russian customs officials claimed they found vape cartridges containing hashish oil and have detained Griner for several months now as they “investigate” the issue. Currently there is no update as to if or when she will be released.
EXCLUSIVE: WNBA Players Association President @nnekaogwumike speaks to @GMA about efforts to bring Brittney Griner home from Russia.https://t.co/ldTRCw6tzC
— Good Morning America (@GMA) April 12, 2022
Megan Rapinoe is a professional soccer player for OL Reign and is best known for her creative playing style that has contributed to the accomplishments with the US Women’s National Soccer team at events like the World Cup and the Olympic Games. She helped Team USA win the world cup in 2015 and 2019 as well as an Olympic gold and bronze medal. She is an outspoken activist for LGBTQ+ and women’s rights, using her platform and star power as an athlete to speak out on many issues. Off the field she works with several LGBTQ+ organizations, including GLSEN and Athlete Ally, she was named one of Time Magazine’s top 100 most influential people of 2020, Sports Illustrated’s Person of the Year and she co-founded a gender neutral lifestyle brand called re-inc.
In its USWNT settlement, U.S. Soccer essentially made an admission: It was all true. https://t.co/9xtsf3xoZk
— Megan Rapinoe (@mPinoe) February 24, 2022
Ireen Wüst is a professional speedskater from the Netherlands who is considered the best speedskater of all time and has become one of the most decorated Olympians of all time. She is the first Olympian to win an individual gold medal at five different Olympic Games (summer or winter), and holds a total of 13 Olympic medals, six gold, five silver and two bronze, which is more than any other speedskater in history. She was named Reuter’s Sportswoman of the Year in 2014, was awarded the Knight Order of the Netherlands Lion in 2006, and in 2022 she was appointed Commander of the Order of Orange-Nassau. She officially retired from the sport following a World Cup race in her hometown of Heerenveen, NL.
Geen woorden voor… Ons afscheid in een vol Thialf met onze familie, vrienden & fans. Het is een eer om samen onze carrières op deze manier af te sluiten. Dankbaar voor de hele organisatie en iedereen die een bijdrage heeft geleverd aan dit eerbetoon. Dit gaan we nooit vergeten🧡 pic.twitter.com/eFfO69S9n1
— Ireen Wüst (@Ireenw) March 13, 2022
Who are your inspirational LGBTQ+ women that you’d like to shout out for Lesbian Visibility Week? Share with us on our social media pages on Facebook and Instagram!
Learn more about Lesbian Visibility Week at https://www.lesbianvisibilityweek.com/
Images via Wikimedia Commons (Griner, Rapinoe, Wüst).