Monday, 13 January 2014 00:00

Coming Out In Sport: Still No Out Athletes In China

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Despite that there are more and more out athletes in the world, the discussion is more present in China because no Chinese athlete came out.

Li Yinhe, a famous Chinese sexologist and professor at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, talked on the subject during an interview.

She explains thus that fear of public backlash is a major reason Chinese gay and lesbian athletes stay in the closet. But she adds that the Chinese society has become much more tolerant of homosexuality. She thinks some athletes will came out soon.

Last June, the Chuncheng Evening News reported that the gay and lesbian population of China approximately represent from 1% to 5% so 13 to 16 million people.

Already a few gay and lesbian entertainers came out, it remains to be seen whether athletes will follow suit.

Only the american basketball star Brittney Griner, who plays for the Women's Chinese Basketball Association team Zhejiang Chouzhou, is openly lesbian in China.

She did not encounter any problem in her team but no Chinese media asked questions on her homosexuality.

"I wanted to set an example for lesbians. I know many don't understand what I am doing, but I don't care," Griner said. "Yes, I am a lesbian. I kept it a secret when I was at university, but not now."

It is true that in China there is no out athletes but in the rest of the world, the coming out are still very rare and it has been just for one or two years that we see more and more gay and lesbian athletes publicly speak about their sexual orientation.