A safe space for all LGBTI Olympians has been created at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, with Canada coming to the rescue after organisers fail to raise funds to create their own.
Reported by CBC News, Canada House is now also serving as Pride House throughout the Games after South Korean organisers failed to raise enough money to open a standalone LGBTI centre inside the Olympic village.
Officially the first Pride House in Asia, the collaboration also marks the first time an Olympic Pride House is directly affiliated with a national Olympic committee.
“We recognise that diversity is our greatest strength. Inclusion is the very foundation of what makes the heart of Team Canada.”
“By hosting Pride House in our Canada Olympic House, we are extending our warmest welcome to all from every corner of the world to celebrate ‘Be Olympic,’” explained Chris Overholt, CEO and Secretary General of the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) in a press release.
With 13 out and proud LGBTI athletes competing at the 2018 Winter Olympics, the number of out athletes has almost doubled when compared to the number who competed at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Krasnodar Krai, Russia.
The first official Pride House was created for the Vancouver Winter Olympics in 2010. When the Sochi Olympics in Russia denied requests for a Pride House, Canada stepped up again and established one of many “remote” solidarity Pride Houses set up in cities across the globe.
Pride Houses’ are safe spaces and resource centres designed to welcome LGBT athletes, fans and their allies during international sporting events. They are inclusive places to “view the competitions, experience the event with others, learn about LGBTIQ+ sport and homophobia in sport, and build a relationship with mainstream sport.”