When LGBT Athletes Didn’t Have A Space At The Olympics, Team Canada Stepped In

Canada will host the "Pride House at this year's games.

Team Canada is going for the gold in inclusivity at this year's Winter Olympics. When organizers were unable to raise sufficient funds for an LGBT athlete-focused center, the Canadians offered their lodging as the Pyeongchang Pride House. However, as recent images of the message near the house's entrance show, the country is hoping the structure is a welcoming place for anyone. 

"Within these walls where those with Olympic hearts come to gather, you are welcomed, accepted and respected," the message reads. "This is your house no matter who you are or where you come from.  You are at home, regardless of your sex, sexual orientation, race, marital or family status, gender identity or expression, sex characteristics, creed, age, disability, political or religious belief."

In the Olympic Village, the Pride House is designed to be a resource for LGBTQ athletes and fans. The international coalition of LGBT sport and human rights groups hosted its first Pride House at the Vancouver Winter Olympics in 2010. Since then, a Pride House was featured at the 2012 and 2016 Olympics, and when the application was denied for the 2014 Sochi, Russia, games, Canada was one of several countries that hosted its own "remote" Pride House. 

This year marks the first time a Pride House will be directly affiliated with a country's Olympic committee. 

"The COC stands behind its commitment of inclusion and diversity in the global sport landscape," Chris Overholt, CEO and secretary general of the Canadian Olympic Committee, said in a statement. "We recognize that diversity is our greatest strength. Inclusion is the very foundation of what makes the heart of Team Canada

Cover image: Rawpixel.com / Shutterstock.com

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