When we wrote recently about the unparalleled queer representation at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, we can add one more proud gay competitor to that total as Polish rower Katarzyna Zillmann thanked her girlfriend when she accepted the silver medal in the quadruple sculls.
For Zillmann however, this wasn’t exactly ‘coming-out’ per se as she’s spoken about her sexuality before. In an interview afterwards, she said: ‘The conversations with you after the medal race were not groundbreaking for me. I’ve already talked about it in interviews before, but for some reason, it wasn’t published.’
That reason could well have had something to do with Poland’s recent track record for LGBTQ+ rights which you can find out more about here. Through government sponsored homophobia, they had created ‘LGBT free’ zones which, of course, when down like a shit sandwich with the EU.
Katarzyna went on to talk about her support for her community and what it meant to her: ‘It was enough that I showed up in a T-shirt with the words ‘Sport against homophobia’ and I got a few messages from young girls practicing rowing. One of them opened up to me, described her difficult home situation to me, and confessed that I helped her a lot with my attitude. One such message is enough to completely forget about thousands of hate comments and disgusted faces.’