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04/19/2007


UVA Swimmers Embrace Their Gay Teammates: PHOTO

Uva

A new Tumblr created by University of Virginia students asking for photographs illustrating "diversity" produced this wonderful photo from the UVA swim team.

Writes Outsports:

Students at the University of Virginia wanted to show that it is more than a buzzword and to make the campus more inclusive. Along those lines, three students created an awesome Tumblr, "We Are All UVa," where students took photos holding placards talking about their experiences, good or bad.

Among them was Parker Camp, a varsity swimmer who told his coming out story on Outsports last month. He got four teammates to come up with this terrific photo.

Here's another from the site:

Hesthecutest


Shirtless Poolside Portrait: Jake Shears and Ed Droste

Droste_shears

Scissor Sister Jake Shears, Grizzly Bear's Ed Droste (and the dude in the back is director Chris Moukarbel) were captured sunning themselves over the weekend by the Instagram account of actress Zoe Lister Jones.

Ready for summer?

(via the awl)


Finnish Olympian Swimmer Ari-Pekka Liukkonen Comes Out as Gay to Raise Awareness About Sochi

Liukkonen

Finnish Olympic swimmer Ari-Pekka Liukkonen has come out of the closet because he wants to raise awareness about Russia's anti-gay laws ahead of the Sochi Games, YLE reports:

"I wanted to start a broader discussion in connection with Sochi, because it’s sad that the legislation in Russia restricts the human rights of young people and others," Liukkonen told Yle.

Liukkonen added that the Finnish sporting world was also in need of a more open attitude to sexuality.

"In the future I would hope that elite athletes and other people will not find homosexuality to be any kind of news," said Liukkonen...

Liukkonen said he's also speaking out because things were so difficult for him growing up.

"As the matter wasn’t discussed, I tried to forget about it, but during high school I began to accept that I am made this way," said Liukkonen. "Acceptance hasn’t necessarily been easy, but it hasn’t been horribly difficult either. This has been a long, slow process for me, but now I’m there."

Liukkonen, who is the first Finnish athlete to come out of the closet while still active in his sport, competed at the 2012 London Olympics and has won bronze at the European Championships.

Added the swimmer: "It’s a really great feeling that I can finally be myself."

Two other Olympians who have come out as a response to Russia's anti-gay laws? Canadian Olympic speed skater Anastasia Bucsis and Australian snowboarder Belle Brockhoff.


Diana Nyad Talks to CNN's AC360 About Her Triumphant Cuba to Florida Swim: VIDEO

2_nyad

As Towleroad reported yesterday, out lesbian Diana Nyad completed an historic, epic swim from Havana, Cuba to Key West without the aid of a shark cage. An exhausted Nyad spoke with Sanjay Gupta following her swim about what brought her to it, and what got her through it.

"Push Cuba back, and push Florida toward you."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Diana Nyad Talks to CNN's AC360 About Her Triumphant Cuba to Florida Swim: VIDEO" »


Diana Nyad in Last Stretch of Epic Cuba to Florida Swim

Nyad

Diana Nyad is nearing Key West, in the last stretch of a record-breaking Havana, Cuba to Florida swim without a shark cage, ABC News reports:

Nyad, 64, is in the midst of her fifth attempt to make the treacherous swim. It's her fourth attempt in the last three years. The Los Angeles native left Marina Hemingway in Cuba on Aug. 31 at 8:59 a.m.

"Diana is on course to swim 112 statute miles. This is 35 more miles than anyone has ever swam," navigator John Bartlett said early this morning on Nyad's website.

Nyad could reach the Florida Keys as early as 4 p.m., her team said.

As of 4 a.m., her team tweeted that she was less than 10 miles away from Florida. It's the closest Nyad has come to Florida in any of her five attempts.

Nyad has been attempting to make the swim for 35 years.

Follow Nyad's position here.

UPDATE: And, she did it.


Texas A&M Student and Olympic Swimmer: I'm Gay

Fonua

Tongan Olympian, former Texas A&M swim captain, and 2012 Big 12 breaststroke champion Amini Fonua has decided to speak publicly about his sexuality and defend his school from accusations of homophobia in an article in Texas A&M's student paper The Batt:

Fonua, a senior telecommunications and media studies major, said many assume maintaining his identity as an Aggie athlete and a gay man would be difficult and controversial. Yet the Olympian said his story has been a “fairy tale” in terms of what others have experienced and not the trial and battle many perceive it would be.

Fonua said problems tend to arise when one must hide his or her true identity. The Aggie honor code, he said, is not compatible with dishonesty about one’s nature. “An Aggie does not lie, cheat or steal,” Fonua said. “And if you’re living in the closet, you’re living a lie.”

From his personal experiences, he has felt the need to defend the school against accusations of homophobia. Fonua’s openness about his status as perhaps the only openly gay male athlete at A&M comes amid a tumultuous time for the LGBT community, both locally and nationally.

Texas A&M has been in the news over a student bill that would have allowed religion-based discrimination against the campus LGBT center. We wrote about it here.

The Batt continues:

In light of A&M’s perception as an LGBT-unfriendly campus, Fonua said others will ask him how he functions in what appears to be a hostile environment. But he said these perceptions of Texas A&M as an unfriendly campus are directly contradictory to the positive experiences he has had as a student.

“I think I feel inspired to defend Texas A&M and my experience, especially with the Student Senate [bill],” Fonua said. “I’m kind of sick of having to try to defend my school to other people, because I think it’s a very small minority. Homophobia is at every university, it’s not just A&M. It’s everywhere. It might be a little more prevalent here, but I do think that people will sensationalize how something really is.”


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