Saturday, 17 March 2018

Queer Achievement: Shamrocks Among the Daffodils

[Achievement – the name given in heraldry to the full pictorial representation of a coat of arms.]

I’m combining two themes today – heraldry and family history. I’m celebrating St. Patrick’s Day by looking at an Irish couple who have been given a Welsh name.

The Ladies of Llangollen is the name given to Lady Eleanor Butler (1739-1829) and Sarah Ponsonby (1755-1831), two Irish aristocrats who spent over 50 years living together near the Welsh village of that name.

Among the stories of same-sex relationships between women in pre-20th century times the lives of the Ladies of Llangollen have gone down as one of the most famous, genuine lesbian love affairs. But before we look at it in more detail here’s my representation of their coats of arms. Lady Eleanor’s is on the left and Sarah’s is on the right. They are placed this way round because 1) the left hand side is the most senior heraldic position and Lady Eleanor was the elder of the two, and 2) the Butler coat of arms is older than the Ponsonby’s and is also the most heraldically senior.
Rather than use lozenge shapes on which to place their coat of arms, as would have been customary in their lifetimes, I have chosen a modern presentation and placed them on shields. Once convention I have kept is the placing of a bow and garland around the arms. Women did not display the family crest on helmets so I have left those out.

So, what’s their family story? The Butler and Ponsonby families lived several miles from each other in County Kilkenny, Ireland. The Butlers held the title Earl of Ormonde and Eleanor’s father is regarded today as the 16th Earl. He didn’t use the title himself because a previous holder of the title was found guilty of high treason and had all his titles, Irish and English, taken from him (he was attainted, to use the proper word). It was Lady Eleanor’s brother who regained the title after parliament decided the attainder should only have applied to the family’s English titles, not the Irish ones.

Sarah Ponsonby’s great-grandfather William was the 1st Viscount Duncannon. Through another great-grandfather Sarah was 5th cousin to Lady Eleanor. Here’s the family relationship.
Lady Eleanor and Sarah met in 1768. There was an instant connection of spirits between the two and they began to make plans to avoid the customary fate of aristocratic young ladies of being married off to a man they hardly knew and may never even love. Their families tried to keep them apart after an aborted attempt to “elope” together.

During a trip to Wales Eleanor and Sarah put their foot down and began to live in a cottage they christened Plas Newydd just outside Llangollen. There they could no longer rely on allowances from their wealthy families and lived in reduced circumstances.

It wasn’t long before Eleanor and Sarah earned the local name of “the Ladies” and the cottage became a place where many famous and influential people visited – Wordsworth, Byron, Shelley, Wellington, Wedgwood – all eager to meet the couple who were rapidly becoming society celebrities because of their lifestyle. Even Queen Charlotte wanted to visit them because they were so famous and she persuaded her husband George III to give them a pension.

The Ladies of Llangollen both lived into old age. Eleanor was almost 90 years old. They are buried together in St. Collen’s Church, Llangollen. Their cottage, Plas Newydd, is now a museum.

Let’s look briefly at the Butler and Ponsonby coats of arms. They both have a connection in that they represent the occupations of their ancestors.

The Butler arms are quartered. The yellow quarters with the blue zigzag top are those of the male-line ancestors of the Butlers. They lived in the Middle Ages before surnames became consistently hereditary. This quarter shows the arms of the Walter, or FitzWalter, family. Hervey Walter was appointed Chief Butler of Ireland in 1177 by King Henry II of England. Hervey’s son Theobald was the first in the family to adopt the surname le Botiler, which has come down to us as Butler. A butler wasn’t like those we see in stately homes and whodunnits today. A royal butler was in charge of the food and drink of the court and given to someone highly trusted. Well, would you want to give the job to someone who is likely to poison you? The other quarters in the Butler arms are called an augmentation of honour because they indicate the family’s royal appointment of Chief Butler.

The Ponsonby arms show a less obvious way of commemorating a family’s royal appointment. A family legend recounts that one of the Ponsonbys was created royal hair-cutter by Henry II in the same year as Hervey Walter was created Chief Butler. Hence the family adopted three hair combs as their coat of arms. It’s an interesting legend but there’s no real evidence of it being fact.

To end with let’s have another look at that family tree above. You’ll see that Lady Eleanor Butler is descended from the 2nd Earl of Castlehaven. This is the same sexually perverted Earl of Castlehaven featured in my article “No Haven at the Castle”.

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Star-Gayzing : Perseus and the 14th Sign

The zodiac constellations are ancient. That is to say their representations as individual groups of stars were devised by ancient astronomers and astrologers. Those astronomers also found that the paths of the Sun and Moon travelled through the same constellations each year (the path we now call the ecliptic) and astronomers divided the sky into 12 symbolic regions which became the astrological signs of the zodiac.

Until 1930 the constellations had no definitive borders between them. The areas in between were like a kind of interstellar no-man’s land. Then the International Astronomical Union (IAU) decided the uncertainty was not suitable for scientific purposes and the cataloguing of the locations of interstellar objects. They set the present imaginary lines that mark out the boundaries of all the constellations. Once established it was discovered immediately that the ecliptic passes through 13 constellations giving the zodiac 13 signs. The 13th constellation is Ophiucus. In fact the Sun is in Ophiucus for longer than it is in Scorpio. For the queer story of Ophiucus read my article here.

But for one day of the year the Sun clips another constellation, the 14th, thanks to the IAU’s modern boundaries. That constellation is called Cetus.
As you can see in the map above the ecliptic just clips one corner of Cetus. I've shown the Sun in it's relative size in relation to the constellation's border. However, the ecliptic is the path of a mathematical point and the Sun is bigger than that. The centre of the Sun travels the ecliptic and the Sun’s disc occupies a wider path. So even if the centre of the Sun doesn’t enter Cetus part of the Sun’s disc does.

The Sun only goes into Cetus for less than a day, yesterday, in fact. So there are likely to be very, very few people who can say their star sign is Cetus. By clipping corner of Cetus the Sun brings a vast section of the night sky into the queer zodiac. Between then Cetus and its related constellations tell one of the most famous stories of Greek mythology, the story of Perseus. Another map now. Marks in red are the constellations which tell the story.
We’ll being with central hero, Perseus. This hero doesn’t have the same number of gay lovers as his more famous great-grandson Herakles, who has a plethora of boyfriends and constellations to his credit.

The Greeks would have taken for granted that Perseus would have participated in same-sex activity as part of his military training. The first time any mention of a specific male partner for Perseus appears in writing is in “De Astronomica”, a Greek manuscript which has been difficult to date. Some authorities say that it dates from the 1st century BC, and others say it is a century younger. However, it is regarded as one of the most important documents on constellations and the myths surrounding them. In several places “De Astronomica” is the only written source of some obscure myths. One of these is the love between Perseus and the god Hermes.

The Perseus-Hermes love affair is only given as a passing remark in “De Astronomica” I assume that the affair was too well-known at the time to need any explanation. Hermes is recorded as having other male partners, including Krokus.

In the Perseus story Hermes lends to our hero his famous winged sandals and winged cap to help him travel on his long journey to slay Medusa the Gorgon. Unlike the film “Clash of the Titans” the Medusa quest was a task given to Perseus by King Polydectes of Serifos who wanted him out of the way so he could marry Perseus’s mother. The story of Andromeda and the sea monster (called the kraken in the film, but Cetus in the constellations) was a separate episode that occurred after Medusa was slain.

The famous winged horse Pegasus is a later addition to the story. Perseus uses Hermes’ winged sandals to fly around in his quest. Pegasus was introduced into the myths later as being “born” from Medusa, springing out of the Gorgon’s body when she was decapitated by Perseus. The horse’s original tamer and rider was a lesser hero called Bellerophon. Only in later centuries was Perseus given Pegasus to ride.

So, all the main characters in the Perseus and Medusa myth, except for Medusa herself, were immortalised in the night sky by the ancient Greeks. They form the largest group of neighbouring constellations which come from one myth – Perseus, next to Andromeda and her parents King Cepheus and Queen Cassiopeia, with Pegasus below them and Cetus underneath them all, lurking just below the ecliptic like a sea monster beneath the waves.

Saturday, 10 March 2018

Paralympic Trio

The Paralympics have begun this weekend. It’s been several years since I presented an up-to-date list of lgbt Paralympians so this is a good opportunity to present one now.

The Paralympic Games have always had fewer competitors than the Olympics. I believe the number of athletes at the PyeongChang games is about 600. The total lgbt Paralympan list is therefore shorter and meagre in comparison to the list of over 300 lgbt Olympians.

There have been 21 athletes who have been identified as lgbt at the Paralympic Games, only 3 of them at the winter games. Nevertheless, among those 21 athletes are some record-holders in lgbt sport. Records which include the most number of games attended by one lgbt athlete (Alison Jones, below), the most medals won by an individual lgbt athlete (Sir Lee Pearson – 14, 11 of them gold), and the only lgbt athlete in the UK to be knighted for services to sport (again, Sir Lee Pearson).

It is only in the past 20 years or so that both the summer and winter the Paralympics and Olympics have always been hosted by the same city. Until Lillehammer in 1994 there was no guarantee of this. This is why the first known lgbt Paralympian competed at the winter games on 1984 in Innsbruck and not in Sarajevo where the Winter Olympics were held. That athlete was Laura Oftedahl.

Even with the steadily growing profile of the modern Paralympic movement in the 1960s and 1970s there were very few opportunities for people with a disability to get involved in competitive sport. This was particularly true of winter sports. At the first Winter Paralympics in 1976 there were only 53 athletes. Some nations were more advanced in their provision of facilities and funding than others and it has been in the present century when significant leaps have been made.

Laura Oftedalh was born blind. The way she got into sport was through an organisation called Ski for Light which helped people with impairments and disabilities to get fit, originally this was through cross-country skiing. Laura took up cross-country skiing in 1980 at the age of 27. By 1984 she was on the USA Winter Paralympic team going to Innsbruck.

The Nordic nations dominated the games, which is no surprise. In the field of 15 female cross-country skiing athletes in her category Laura finished last. She was up against the top Paralympians with much more experience. However, Laura came home with a silver medal from the women’s 5 kilometer relay. Laura returned to the Paralympics held again in Innsbruck in 1988.

It wasn’t until Salt Lake City in 2002 that another lgbt Winter Paralympian competed. She was another American, Allison Jones, who wasn’t even born when Laura Oftedahl won her silver medal. Allison holds the distinction of being the lgbt athlete who has competed in the most Paralympic or Olympic Games - 8. She is also the first of two Paralympians to compete at both the summer and winter games.

Allison Jones was born without a right femur and has worn a prosthetic right leg since she was 9 months old. Her father, Jay Jones, was an engineer and helped to design and construct devices which enabled Allison to cycle and ski. She could ride a track racing bike before she could ride an ordinary bike, and she began skiing in a special ski programme for people with disabilities from the age of 5.

At her first Winter Paralympics in 2002 Allison won silver medals in the giant slalom and super-G slalom. From then until the next Winter Paralympics in Turin in 2006 she was ranked first in downhill skiing, slalom and giant slalom at the World Championships. She went on to win a gold medal in Turin and a bronze in Sochi 2014.

In between her four winter appearances Alison jones competed in four Summer Paralympics beginning with Athens in 2004. She got the bug for cycling after seeing the 1998 para-cycling world championships in her home city of Colorado Springs. It wasn’t until Beijing in 2008 that she won her first cycling medal, a silver in the women’s time trial for classification group. Her most successful of all her Paralympic appearances was in London 2012 when she won a gold and two bronze medals.

Tragedy overshadowed the run-up to the Rio Paralympics of 2016. Allison’s father Jay was killed in a plane accident in July just two months before games. Allison continued to train through her grief and was determined to go to Rio. Just before the games began Allison had decided that these would be her last summer or winter games. Team USA chose her to carry their national flag at the opening ceremony. Her highest placing in her races was outside the medals with a fourth place in the women’s road race.

Also competing in Rio 2016 is the last of our 3 lgbt Winter Paralympians. On the Canadian wheelchair basketball team was Cindy Ouellet who made her Paralympic debut in Beijing in 2008 and she is making her winter debut this week in PyeongChang. At the age of 12 Cindy was diagnosed with bone cancer. She had dreams of becoming a footballer or a skier. Instead she threw herself into wheelchair basketball. But her dreams of becoming a skier have now come true. In PyeongChang she will compete in sitting cross-country skiing on Wednesday.

It may be a few years before the Winter Paralympics have the same number of out lgbt athletes as the summer games. The Summer Paralympics is on a level with the Winter Olympics in terms of out athletes. The Olympics that ended a couple of weeks ago had 15 out athletes and the Summer Paralympics had 14.

No doubt was all wish Cindy Ouellet and all the Paralympians success in PeyongChang.

Now, here is the link to the up-to-date list of lgbt Summer and Winter Paralympians.

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Around the World in Another 80 Gays : Part 10) No Molly-coddling

Previously: 14) Gayle Rubin (b.1949) co-founded the International Ms Leather contest whose first winner was 15) Judy Tallwing McCarthy (b.1945), the partner of 16) Sashie Hyatt (d.1989), whose presence at the Stonewall Riots was commemorated in a comic book written by 17) Andy Mangels (b.1966).

Novelist, science fiction author, comic book writer, fantasy/superhero historian and founder of the Broadway Bears singing group, 17) Andy Mangels has become a prominent figure in the world of fantasy in popular culture. He has compiled guides and encyclopaedias on “Star Wars” and “The X-Files” and written tv tie-in novels for “Star Trek”. It is this last aspect of his work which brings us to 16) Sashie Hyatt and the 1969 Stonewall Riots.

The television series “Quantum Leap” centres round the time and space-hopping character Sam correcting historical “wrong turns”. In a 1990 episode called "Good Night Dear Heart" Sam was solved a murder and revealed the killer. The American lgbt community were highly offended, for reasons which have not been fully explained, when the murderer was revealed to be a lesbian. I can just about remember this episode from Its UK broadcast and don’t recall anything that could be offensive (certainly no more offensive than the stereotypes in “Will and Grace”).

Several years later Andy Mangels thought that a way to follow Sam’s example and right a wrong (as perceived in the US) by writing a sequel to “Good Night Dear Heart” in the “Quantum Leap” comic book series. The magazine editors agreed to include an editorial by Andy explaining the reason for the sequel.
Sashie Hyatt (centre) as she is represented
in "Up Against a Stonewall".
The story was called “Up Against a Stonewall” and was featured in issue 9 of the “Quantum Leap” comic book in February 1993. The title gave a hint to the historic event into which Sam had leapt. The story was based in the days leading up to the Stonewall Riots. Andy Mangels was a friend of Sashie Hyatt, who had been at the Riots. Sashie died of cancer in 1989 and Andy dedicated his sequel to her. He also included her in the storyline.

When “Up Against a Stonewall” was published Andy Mangels was editor of an independent US comic book anthology called “Gay Comix”. This was a series of comic books written and illustrated by a member of the lgbt community. If had begun publication in 1980 and from issue 14 in December 1991 Andy Mangels was its editor.

One artist who contribute to several issues of “Gay Comix” during Andy Mangels’ editorship was 18) Jon Macy. He has continued to use lgbt and erotic themes in his work which includes “Teleny and Camille”, a graphic novel adaptation of one of the first gay pornographic novels.

“Teleny and Camille” is based on a novel called “Teleny, or The Reverse of the Medal” which was published in 1893. No-one knows who wrote it but Oscar Wilde’s name has often been attributed. This is partly because the published of the novel, Leonard Smithers, knew Oscar Wilde. Smithers was a publisher of various erotic and pornographic Victorian novels, including the one which is said to be the world’s first English-language pornographic gay novel, “The Sins of the Cities of the Plain”.

Like “Teleny, or The Reverse of the Medal”, the author of “The Sins of the Cities of the Plain” is unknown. It has been suggested that it was a novelised memoir by an Irishman called 19) John Saul (1857-1904).

John Saul, also known as Dublin Jack, was a male prostitute who was involved in two famous sex scandals. First was the Dublin Castle scandal, a precursor to the scandal that surrounded the theft of the Irish Crown Jewels. The second scandal was the more well-known Cleveland Street Scandal in which Queen Victoria’s own grandson the Duke of Clarence was implicated.

The full title of “The Sins of the Cities of the Plain”, if it wasn’t long enough already, was “The Sins of the Cities of the Plain, or Recollections of a Mary-Ann with Short Essays on Sodomy and Tribadism”. With a title like that there’s be no room for the author’s name on the spine even if it was known!

The term “Mary-Ann” in the full title is a slang term for an effeminate man, often a male prostitute who dressed as a woman to procure clients. John “Dublin Jack” Saul called himself a “professional Mary-Ann” at the Cleveland Street trials in 1887.

Earlier variants of “Mary-Ann” were “molly” or “moll”, and in England in the 18th and 19th centuries there were several known “Molly Houses”. These were places, usually taverns and coffee houses where men could meet for homosexual activity or to socialise.

The word “molly” survives in England in the term “molly-coddling” which is used to describe a kind of behaviour that suggests a person are being unnecessarily being over-protected. The implication is that the person being molly-coddled is weak and feeble. In earlier times is specifically meant being treated like an effeminate man.
An 18th century representation of a
Molly (left) and his client.
For centuries the term “molly” was used as a derogatory name for effeminate men. In its shorter form of “moll” it was also used in America for female prostitutes before being more famously used to refer to the girlfriends and sexual partners of gangsters.

In the early 20th century the growth of women’s sport gave rise to a new application of the word “moll”. Men generally considered sport to be a manly pursuit and not something that women should take part in. As more women took up sports men began to describe them as “muscle molls”. Male critics wrote derogatory articles in the press about these women with too many muscles, as they thought, and who were looking unmanly. Interestingly, the term “muscle mary”, applied to a male bodybuilder who devotes a lot of time on his appearance, derives from the derogatory “Mary-Ann”.

The more successful a female athlete became the more sexist the remarks against her femininity. The “Muscle moll” athlete who was to receive quite a lot of criticism was the same athlete who would later be voted as the best American female athlete of the 20th century. She was Olympian 20) Babe Didrikson Zaharias (1911-1956).

Next time : Questions of Gender – in a couple of weeks we run from the Olympics to a cemetery in Roman London.

Friday, 2 March 2018

The 300 Olympians (and more)

Following yesterday’s review of the results from all the openly lgbt athletes at the recent Winter Olympics in PyeongChang we turn to other issues which emerged. After that I finally reveal my new list of over 300 lgbt Olympians.

For the second Winter Olympics the issue of lgbt lifestyles became a major talking point. Or rather, it didn’t, if you were US figure skater Adam Rippon and US Vice-President Mike Pence. Not face to face, at least. Mike Pence and President Donald Trump have made no secret of their intention to restrict or even abolish some of the equal rights that were introduced in recent years. Adam Rippon took the brave step of openly criticising the Trump-Pence administration on these issues. A long-running exchange of comments between Adam and Pence lit up the “twitter-sphere” for several weeks. Even with verbal homophobic abuse from Pence supporters Adam managed to be one of the stars of the Olympics and win a bronze medal.

The opening ceremony was a wonderful spectacle. The lighting of the cauldron provided the first hint of lgbt involvement. The honour went to 2010 Olympic ladies singles figure skating champion Yuna Kim, who had been trained by former Olympian Brian Orser in Toronto (as the cricket, croquet and skating club just two miles from where my Grandfather lived!)

As mentioned yesterday Brian Orser was one of 11 openly gay figure skating coaches and choreographers to a large number of the skaters in PyeongChang. Between them they either coached or choreographed 5 gold medallists and 3 bronze medallists. One fact that interested me was that all of the South Korea’s home nation figure skaters in the team event were coached or choreographed by 3 openly gay Americans.

It may be a surprise to learn that there have not been any known openly lgbt figure skating judges as the Olympics. Until now. Jeff Lukasik made his Olympic judging debut. Among others he was one of the judges of the pairs figure skating in the team event, helping to judge Eric Radford and his fellow Canadians to a gold medal.

The Canadians built upon their pioneering Pride House at the Vancouver 2101 Winter Olympics by hosting the official Pride House of PyeongChang in the Canadian base in the Olympic village. The Pride House is a place of lgbt athletes and friends to meet and socialise. From Vancouver 2010 the Pride House movement has spread beyond the Olympics. Several are planned for other international events this year, including the Commonwealth Games. The Korean Sexual Minority Culture and Rights Centre were the organisers of the PyeongChang Pride House in the Canadian Olympic Committee’s base.

The American media made a big fuss over one incident. Before Gus Kenworthy went to compete in his slopestyle event he kissed his boyfriend in front of an American camera crew. The Americans made more of this kiss than any other nation. However, they are not the first male couple to kiss at the Olympics. Edward Gal and his husband Hans Peter Minderhoud kissed in front of a camera crew live on the BBC during the 2012 London Olympics.
There were several times when the Rainbow Pride flag or one of its variants appeared on screen. This is in stark contrast to the pre-London 2012 Olympics where the IOC banned all non-national flags from its venues. During the competitions in which Adam Rippon and Gus Kenworthy appeared the rainbow flag was seen several times, as was the American variant where the Stars and Stripes become the Stars and Rainbow stripes. At the 2-man bobsleigh event on 18th February the Californian Rainbow flag was displayed prominently at the finish line (picture above).

One of the recent innovations introduced by the International Olympic Committee recently is the right for all Olympians to have post-nominal letters indicating their Olympic status. Just like a PhD or OBE Olympians can now place the letters OLY after their name. It’s not an automatic entitlement. Olympians have to apply to be registered for the honour. I think it should be automatic and be applied posthumously.

Finally we have the medal table. How well did Team LGBT do? With 2 gold medals, 2 silvers and 3 bronzes we finished in equal 14th place with the Czech Republic.
As for the individual results, who moved up the all-time medal table and who moved down? Below is the table of the lgbt PyeongChang Olympians giving their former and current positions, including the 4th to 8th places where diplomas were awarded. Ireen Wüst went straight to the top, lead-frogging over swimmer Ian Thorpe. Of the Olympians making their debut Adam Rippon was the most successful, going straight into 139th place with his bronze medal. This, and Brittany Bowe’s bronze medal, means everyone below 139th place moved down 2 places. Eric Radford made the biggest leap up the chart. By winning a gold medal he jumped 66 places up to 31st position.

So, here is the final lgbt Olympian list.

Thursday, 1 March 2018

A Look Back at the Winter Olympics

Today we look back at the Olympic Winter games of PyeongChang. From the second that Eric Radford put his skate onto the ice to the swoosh of ice as Sophie Vercruyssen’s bobsleigh came to a halt the PyeongChang Olympics featured several milestones. But first, let’s look at what occurred before the games began.

As with other Olympics a period of qualification and selection takes place. In some cases, such as ice hockey, this qualification process begin well before the previous games started. The 2018 qualification for them began in 2012 with the first table of world rankings by which ultimate qualification was chosen. With all sports there are many athletes who helped to win their nation’s place at the Olympics who never became an Olympian.

The total number of out lgbt athletes known to have competed in qualifications and trials for the 2018 Olympics was 22. Only 15 became Olympians (full list at the end). As we celebrate the achievements of the Olympians last month let’s also celebrate the out athletes who took part in official qualifications who were not selected for PyeongChang.

Letitia de Jong (Netherlands, speed skating)
Scott Dyer (USA, figure skating)
John Epping (Canada, curling)
John Fennell (USA, luge)
Timothy LeDuc (USA, pairs figure skating)
Javier Raya (Spain, figure skating)
Megan Wessenberg (USA, figure skating)

Of those Timothy LeDuc came the closest to making an Olympic debut by being selected as an alternate skater should one of the selected Olympians be unable to compete. John Fennell and Javier Raya both competed at the previous Sochi Olympics but neither were openly gay. This leads us to the first of the significant moments of the PyeongChang Olympics.

Even though openly female lesbian/bisexual athletes have been at the Winter Olympics since 1992, PyeongChang saw the first officially openly gay male Olympian. Not one, but four. If we need to be pedantic about it and state which of them can be listed as the exact first openly gay Olympian we can go by the date on which their Olympic selection was published. Here are those dates:

15th December 2017 – Jorik Hendrickx (Belgium, figure skating)
7th January 2018 – Adam Rippon (USA, figure skating)
15th January 2018 – Eric Radford (Canada, figure skating)
21st January 2018 – Gus Kenworthy (USA, freestyle skiing slopestyle).

The American media likes to claim Adam Rippon as the first openly gay male to be selected for the Olympics, citing Jorik Hendrickx’s interview of February 2018 as his “coming out”. However, Jorik said clearly he was openly gay long before he gave his interview. This raises the question of who decides who is openly gay – the athlete or the media. I’d go for the athlete every time.

Eric Radford was the first openly gay male athlete to actually compete. His first event was in the team figure skating contest on 8th February, the day before the opening ceremony. On 12th February he became the first openly gay man to win a gold medal when his team became champions. (British figure skater John Curry was outed during the 1976 Olympics after he competed. However, John Curry is the first male openly gay reigning champion until the next Olympics.)

Skating has always had a reputation of having a large proportion of gay men and this is illustrated in the shape of the coaches and choreographers at PyeongChang. In fact, several openly gay coaches have attended the Winter Olympics in various sports going back to Vancouver 2010, if not earlier.

In PyeongChang there were 3 openly gay figure skating coaches and 7 choreographers (8 if you include Desmond Leong-Delmore, a choreographer friend of Adam Rippon who sat with him during the judges scoring). Not all of the other choreographers were in PyeongChang in person (Scott Brown and Drew Meekins certainly were).

There have been several openly lesbian/bisexual Olympic champions in the past. The greatest of these is Dutch speed skater Ireen Wüst. As in Sochi 2014 Ireen was the first lgbt medal winner of the games. She won her 5th gold medal in PyeongChang and became the most medalled lgbt Olympian and the most medalled Dutch Olympian (summer or winter) in history. By winning 3 medals in PyeongChang Ireen jumped up to 4th position in the all-time medal table of Olympians with a career total of 11.

At last we come to the full list of out athletes at PyeongChang and their results. As well as the top three who win medals those who finished in 1st to 8th place won Olympic diplomas. All Olympians receive participation medallions and certificates, so no-one goes home emptyhanded. 

Brittany Bowe
USA, speedskating
Women’s team pursuit
Women’s 1,000 metres
Women’s 500 metres
Women’s 1,500 metres
Belle Brockhoff
Australia, snowboard
Women’s snowboard cross
Jorik Hendrickx
Belgium, figure skating
Men’s singles
Daniela Iraschko-Stolz
Austria, downhill skiing
Women’s normal downhill
Barbara Jezersek
Australia, skiing
Women’s team sprint freestyle
Women’s 10 km freestyle
Women’s skiathlon
Gus Kenworthy
USA, freestyle skiing
Men’s freestyle slopestyle
Cheryl Maas
Netherlands, snowboard
Women’s snowboard big air
Women’s snowboard slopestyle
Simona Meiler
Switzerland, snowboard
Women’s snowboard cross
Kim Melyemans
Belgium, skeleton bobsleigh
Women’s skeleton
Šárka Pančochová
Czech Republic, snowboard
Women’s snowboard slopestyle
Women’s snowboard big air
Eric Radford
Canada, figure skating
Team figure skating
Pairs figure skating
Emilia Anderssen Ramboldt
Sweden, ice hockey
Women’s ice hockey
Adam Rippon
USA, figure skating
Team figure skating
Men’s single
Sophia Vercruyssen
Belgium, bobsleigh
Two-women bobsleigh
Ireen Wüst
Netherlands, speed skating
Women’s 1,500 metres
Women’s 3,000 metres
Women’s team pursuit
Women’s 1,000 metres

Tomorrow we see how these results effect the full summer and winter medal table, and look at some of the lgbt issues that surfaced during PyeongChang 2018.