LGBTQ athletes have a place to call their own in the Olympic Village in Pyeongchang.
It’s called the Pride House, a building in the village that’s a safe space for gay and lesbian athletes, their friends, family and supporters.
The first Pride House popped up during the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, and since then they have appeared at a number of international sporting events, including the 2012 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games in London and the 2016 Summer Games in Rio, Brazil.
What makes the Pride House in Pyeongchang special is that it’s the first one to be affiliated with and hosted by a national Olympic committee. It’s also the first Pride House in Asia.
The Canadian Olympic Committee hosts the Pride House in its Canada Olympic House in the village, in a collaboration with Pride House International, which promotes equality and diversity in sports, and the Korean Sexual Minority Culture and Rights Center.
“Team Canada is proud to embrace its diversity at Canada House, which includes a sign at the front door, welcoming all and knows that as a team, we are stronger when we celebrate our differences,” Chris Overholt, CEO and secretary general of the Canadian Olympic Committee, said in a statement. “We are pleased to be able to share with the world what it means to be Canadian and what it means to #BeOlympic.”
A sign in the house offers a hearty welcome.
“Within these walls where those with Olympics hearts come to gather, you are welcomed, accepted and respected,” the sign reads. “This is your house no matter who you are or where you come from.”
There was not a Pride House during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. A couple of years before those Games started, government officials turned down LGBT activists’ attempts to organize one. The matter ended up in court, where a Russian judge in 2011 rejected the registration for the house, saying that such a house would “contradict the foundations of public morality and government policy in the area of protection of the family, motherhood and childhood.”