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LGBTQ Athletes Who Have Won Olympic Gold


Athletes consider winning the Olympic Gold the pinnacle of success. It confirms that they are at the very top of their sport and the best in the world. The global publicity surrounding this achievement is unmatched by any other sporting endeavor.

For LGBTQ athletes, an Olympic gold medal can mean even more. It can represent the fact that achieving the very best in their pursuit is not dependent on sexual orientation, but rather athletic ability and prowess.

There is no shortage of evidence of this fact throughout history. The earliest LGBTQ athletes that we have identified to win Olympic was in 1936 with lesbians Stanisława Walasiewicz of Poland in the 100m sprint and Babe Didrikson Zaharias of the United States in javelin and hurdles. Of particular note, Didrikson Zaharias went on to be declared the Female Athlete of the Twentieth Century by the Associated Press. As well, Walasiewicz was determined to be intersex after an autopsy on her death.

The best performance has come from Great Britain's Lee Pearson who has won an astounding eleven gold medals in equestrian events. This is followed by Australia's Ian Thorpe who won 5 golds in swimming events. Four medals have been won by Americans Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi and by Canadians Jayna Hefford, Charline Labonte and Caroline Ouellette. Several of the athletes listed below are notable for being the most decorated athletes in their country's history!

Our survey has found that the significant majority of LGBTQ Olympic gold winning athletes consists of 74 per cent lesbians (51) and 26 per cent gay (18) at the time of winning their medals. This preponderance of out lesbian athletes continues today in all professional sports - lesbians are much more comfortable with identifying their sexual preference than gay men. The vast majority of LGBTQ athletes were out at the time of winning their medals though several revealed their sexual orientation later in life. History has yet to be made with a transgender athlete, though Caitlyn Jenner's life story should be noted with her winning gold prior to transitioning.

It is also interesting to note that certain countries tend to excel in particular sports. Australia dominates in water sports; Canada in ice hockey and figure skating; Denmark in handball; The Netherlands in field hockey; and the United States in basketball and track.

We have identified LGBTQ athletes who have won Olympic Gold from Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Puerto Rico, Slovakia, Sweden, The Netherlands, and the United States. To read more and see the complete list, click HERE

Directory of past 'Did You Know?' Articles See Here

The goal of QueerBio.com is to be the definitive online biographical reference source for the international LGBTQ community. Its database lists over 17,000 contemporary and historical figures who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, two-spirit, or gender fluid (LGBTQ) and includes artists, sports figures, politicians, entertainers, business leaders, academics, activists, and more. The database is widely international in scope and is an ideal source for research and analysis with full search and sort functionality.

The mission is to inspire, educate, and motivate all generations of LGBTQ individuals and others through a collective knowledge of this international community.

Managing Editor: Mark S. Bonham

Search for a Biography

To search for an individual from the database of over 17,000 biographies, simply type the name in the Search Box located in the top right hand corner of this Home Page and click on GO. Similarly, you can search for a common characteristic such as Country, City, Nobel Prize winners, writers, and so on.

Alternatively, you can view and scroll through the entire list of biographies by viewing the All Biographies section.

Library of Congress Historic Collection - LGBTQ+ Studies Web Archive


QueerBio.com has been chosen for the Library of Congress Web Archiving Program - Preserving important cultural artifacts by acquiring, cataloging, preserving and serving collections material of historical importance to foster education and scholarship.

Announcing Our New Documentary Project - Being Different: 101 Global LGBTQ Individuals Who Changed the World


Despite adversity and discrimination, LGBTQ individuals have excelled throughout history. Yet historians and academics have conveniently participated in the heterosexist erasure of these LGBTQ contributions by omitting the LGBTQ status of prominent historical figures from academic and historical documents. Accordingly, there are relatively few comprehensive projects which document and showcase the influence of these LGBTQ efforts.

Being Different: 101 Global LGBTQ Individuals Who Changed The World will be an original documentary outlining the contributions that members of the LGBTQ community have made, individually and collectively, to changing the world.

We are now Crowdfunding to get this project off the ground. We would love to have you as part of our team. You can help us and SUPPORT THIS PROJECT!


Our goal is to make QueerBio.com the go-to website for global biographical information on LGBTQ identified individuals. To do this requires a serious commitment of people and resources, so we need your help to fund and help this project grow.

Click here for more information.

Sign Up for our Bi-Weekly Newsletter

Sign up to receive our informative bi-weekly newsletter. Included in the newsletter is the updated 'DID YOU KNOW?' column, a sample of new biographies added since the previous newsletter, and relevant news features pertaining to QueerBio.com.


Bonham Centre Awards Gala

Annual Awards established in 2007 to recognize individuals or groups that have made a significant contribution to the advancement and education of human rights issues surrounding sexual education. Click here to find out more about the Bonham Centre Awards, past recipients, and present nominees.

Books Available From QueerBio.Com


It's A Fabulous Morning! My Interviews With Fascinating People in the LGBTQ World (Pearse Murray and Mark S. Bonham, 2019) presents fascinating interviews with individuals from the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Two Spirit and Ally (LGBTQ) community. Icons such as Lily Tomlin, Chaz Bono, Melissa Etheridge, Mark Tewksbury, John Cameron Mitchell, Kathleen Wynne, Wanda Sykes, Tony Kushner, David Hockney, Edmund White and more provide their personal stories of the community and their lives within it. Compelling insight into events of the community, such as Toronto’s Bath House Raids, is also provided. 262 pages.

New books available

A Path to Diversity: LGBTQ Participation in the Working World (Mark S. Bonham, 2017) investigates the current state of employment markets around the world for the LGBTQ community. Included is a discussion of equality in the workplace and why it is important to both the employer and employee, the wage gap, which professions are attractive to LGBTQ individuals and why, and the role of unions and government legislation. A survey of seventy five professions provides a status report for each, and seventy two biographies of influential LGBTQ professionals from around the world is included. 242 pages

Notables: 101 Global LBGTQ People Who Changed the World (Mark S. Bonham, 2015) reveals a group of select global Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) individuals whose accomplishments in their profession changed the world in some relevant way. Included are founders of various social movements, innovators in sports, leaders in business and politics, explorers and discoverers, instigators in religious movements, thinkers in philosophy, infamous villains, creators of new academic fields of study, and risk takers in the arts, culture, and entertainment worlds. 212 pages.

Champions: Biographies of Global LGBTQ Pioneers (Mark S. Bonham, 2014) reveals a group of select artists, writers, politicians, lawyers, sports figures, activists, and religious figures from around the world who have helped shape the history of the LGBTQ community. Presented in a convenient notebook format. 114 pages.




Order for yourself, and the books also make an ideal gift for friends and family while supporting the development of QueerBio.Com