QUEER VOICES
12/28/2014 10:20 am ET Updated Feb 02, 2016

15 Of The Biggest LGBT Sports Moments Of 2014

2014 was a watershed year for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender athletes.

From Michael Sam's NFL draft and kiss with his boyfriend on national television to the international controversy surrounding the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, visibility surrounding queer athletes in the mainstream reached a level unprecedented.

Cultural stigma surrounding queer people in the sports world is slowly unraveling, and attitudes and perceptions of what it means to be an LGBT athlete are evolving alongside the folding of LGBT people into mainstream society.

As we approach the end of 2014, let's look back at some of the biggest LGBT moments in the sports world over the past 12 months.

  • 1 Michael Sam Comes Out
    Michael Sam made history in February of this year when he <a href="http://espn.go.com/espn/otl/story/_/id/10429030/michael-sa
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Michael Sam made history in February of this year when he came out as gay in an interview with ESPN. He told the sports network, "I understand how big this is. It's a big deal. No one has done this before. And it's kind of a nervous process, but I know what I want to be... I want to be a football player in the NFL."

    Sam's coming out gave him the potential to become the first openly gay player drafted into the NFL, a goal that would soon be realized...
  • 2 Michael Same Gets Drafted -- Kisses Boyfriend
    In one of the most iconic LGBT sports moments of 2014 -- and throughout history -- the St. Louis Rams drafted Michael Sam into the NFL in May of this year, with him being the 249th pick in the seventh round of the 2014 draft. Not only that, but Sam kissed his boyfriend on national television after hearing the good news -- truly a historic moment in the historically homophobic world of the NFL. The draft made Sam the first openly gay player to join the NFL.
  • 3 Jason Collins Retires
    In mid-November, Jason Collins, the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/23/jason-collins-nets-gay-nba-player_n_484
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    In mid-November, Jason Collins, the first openly gay professional athlete to compete in any of the four major North American team sports leagues, announced his retirement. "It feels wonderful to have been part of these milestones for sports and for gay rights, and to have been embraced by the public, the coaches, the players, the league and history," he stated. "It had been argued that no team would want to take on a player who was likely to attract a media circus from the outset and whose sexuality would be a distraction. I’m happy to have helped put those canards to rest."
  • 4 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics
    One of the most polarizing sports-related events of 2014 proved to be the Sochi Winter Olympics due to Russia's <a href="http
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    One of the most polarizing sports-related events of 2014 proved to be the Sochi Winter Olympics due to Russia's campaign of fear and violence aimed at the queer community and its anti-gay "propaganda" law. The number of LGBT stories relating to this year's Olympics is massive, but the overarching conclusion drawn from this series of events was that the International Olympic Committee needs to ensure the safety of its LGBT athletes, no matter where the Games are taking place...
  • 5 International Olympic Committee Adds Sexual Orientation To Non-Discrimination Policy
    Following the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, the International Olympic Committee<a href="http://www.outsports.com/2014/12/8/7355
    Eduardo Leite via Getty Images
    Following the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, the International Olympic Committee finally added sexual orientation to its non-discrimination policies. A good move but many claim it is still not enough: there is no gender identity clause and still no guarantee that the Games won't be hosted in anti-queer countries.
  • 6 U.N. Encourages World Cup LGBT Athletes To Come Out
    The United Nations <a href="http://www.outsports.com/2014/6/17/5816794/gay-world-cup-united-nations" target="_blank">made a s
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    The United Nations made a statement this past summer that publicly encouraged World Cup athletes to come out "without fear." The announcement came in the face of homosexuality being punishable by death in a number of World Cup countries. The statement was met with criticism, particularly in wake of lesbian soccer players being murdered in South Africa.
  • 7 Tom Daley Says 'I'm Definitely Gay Not Bisexual'
    Tom Daley moved from <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJwJnoB9EKw" target="_blank">saying that though he was sexually
    Karwai Tang via Getty Images
  • 8 Tom Daley Named Biggest Sporting Inspiration
    Tom Daley continued to dominate queer headlines later in 2014 when a National Citizen Service Poll <a href="http://www.huffin
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Tom Daley continued to dominate queer headlines later in 2014 when a National Citizen Service Poll named him Biggest Sporting Inspiration. The title came in conjunction with a free event intended to celebrate the achievements of younger people.
  • 9 Transgender Woman Sues Crossfit For Discrimination
    Workout cult sensation CrossFit became the subject of debate in March of this year when the organization told transgender ath
    Facebook
    Workout cult sensation CrossFit became the subject of debate in March of this year when the organization told transgender athlete Chloie Jonsson that she was barred from competing in the women's division of the CrossFit Games. "Our decision has nothing to do with 'ignorance' or being bigots -- it has to do with a very real understanding of the human genome, of fundamental biology, that you are either intentionally ignoring or missed in high school," read the letter CrossFit allegedly sent Jonsson, according to TMZ. The suit contributed to an important, larger conversation surrounding gender identity regulation and policing by external forces.
  • 10 Tennis Ace Martina Navratilova Marries Julia Lemigova
    After <a href="http://www.people.com/article/martina-navratilova-engaged-julia-lemigova-us-open-tennis" target="_blank">propo
    Damon Dahlen, AOL
    After proposing to her girlfriend, Julia Lemigova, at the U.S. open earlier this year, tennis ace Martina Navratilova tied the knot in December. "I'm 58 years old -- I got married for the first time," Navratilova stated shortly after the ceremony. "It's about time, right? Growing up as a gay woman you just don't ever think about that."
  • 11 Chicago Fire Player Responds Awesomely To Anti-Gay Tweet
    In one of our favorite LGBT sports moments this year, Mike Magee, a Chicago Fire major league soccer player, <a href="http://
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    In one of our favorite LGBT sports moments this year, Mike Magee, a Chicago Fire major league soccer player, responded in incredible fashion to an anti-gay tweet. After an angry fan tweeted a homophobic slur when Magee missed a penalty kick, the athlete tweeted the following response: LOVE IS LOUDER “@aaronfox72: @magee9 great penalty faggot, GO UNION” pic.twitter.com/pd4B9Iw7eL— Mike Magee (@magee9) April 7, 2014 @magee9 I apologize for my ignorance and have a lot of respect for what you do. I have respect for what you do and regret what i said. Sorry— ⒶⒶⓇⓄⓃ (@aaronfox__) April 7, 2014
  • 12 Coming Out In The Sports World
    In light of the gradual breaking down of homophobia in the sports world, 2014 saw a massive number of coming outs by lesbian,
    Ten03 via Getty Images
    In light of the gradual breaking down of homophobia in the sports world, 2014 saw a massive number of coming outs by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender members of the athletic community. According to OutSports, at least "109 athletes, coaches, officials and sports administrators" came out of the closet throughout the course of this year. Head here to see the list in full.
  • 13 Swimming Champion Ian Thorpe Comes Out
    In July of this year, Australia's most successful Olympic athlete, Ian Thorpe, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    In July of this year, Australia's most successful Olympic athlete, Ian Thorpe, came out of the closet. The swimmer's coming out followed years of speculation surrounding his sexuality, and even flat out denial of his attraction to men in his 2012 memoir This Is Me.
  • 14 Derrick Gordon Becomes First Openly Gay Male NCAA Division One Basketball Player
    In April of this year, Derrick Gordon made history when he became the first openly gay male NCAA Division 1 basketball player
    ASSOCIATED PRESS
    In April of this year, Derrick Gordon made history when he became the first openly gay male NCAA Division 1 basketball player. "I've always loved sports, but always felt I had to hide and be someone that I'm not," Gordon said in a statement. "For my whole life I've been living my life as a lie. I am telling my story so that athletes never feel like they have to hide. You can be true to yourself and play the sport that you love."
  • 15 Texas News Anchor Delivers Jawdropping Sports Speech
    Concluding this list is one of our favorite LGBT sports moments of 2014. Following the realization that Michael Sam was poised to become the first openly gay male to be drafted into the NFL, a Dallas TV anchor took a break from his regular broadcast to deliver a jaw-dropping speech. In this viral news clip, Dale Hansen takes two minutes to address Sam's critics, focusing on athletes who are deeply destructive to the world and people around them but still celebrated for their performance on the field. He stated, "You beat a woman and drag her down a flight of stairs, pulling her hair out by the roots? You're the fourth guy taken in the NFL draft. You kill people while driving drunk? That guy's welcome. Players caught in hotel rooms with illegal drugs and prostitutes? We know they're welcome. Players accused of rape and pay the woman to go away? You lie to police, trying to cover up a murder? We're comfortable with that."
CONVERSATIONS