In a column published Thursday in USA Today, out lesbian Olympic medalist Caitlin Cahow called for the celebration of diversity at the upcoming Sochi Winter Olympics in Russia amid the nation’s anti-LGBT policies.
Cahow, a silver and bronze medalist in women’s ice hockey, will travel to the games next month in a delegation some see as a political statement in opposition of the laws due to highly visible out gay delegates and the absence of high-ranking U.S. officials. Janet Napolitano, a former federal official, will lead the delegation, which will also include out lesbian tennis champion Billie Jean King and out gay Olympic figure skater Brian Boitano.
In her article, Cahow said she was chosen for the delegation with the understanding that it will illustrate and emphasize the diversity of the U.S. on the global stage — echoing a similar sentiment shared by President Obama, who said the delegation “speaks for itself.” Ultimately, her inclusion in the delegation means more than representing the LGBT community, she said.
“Despite the selective focus of some, I am not going to Russia to represent but one community,” Cahow wrote. “Our delegation carries a message and a symbolism, which both includes and extends beyond the LGBT issues highlighted in the headlines.”