Giugno 19 2024
“Amour et désordre” in Paris

Pride House France, organised by the association Fier-Play, celebrates the LGBTQ+ community at the Olympic Games and provides a safe space for queer athletes from all over the world

An explosion of vibrant colours decorates every corner of the venue. Rainbow flags proudly wave, hanging on the walls. There are reading areas with sofas and armchairs, television screens broadcasting live sports competitions and information stands filled with leaflets and gadgets. The people are friendly and smiling, many wearing T-shirts with messages of support and solidarity. A kiosk serves as a coffee area and a room is dedicated to workshops, with a microphone in the centre, ready for use during dialogue sessions.

A Pride House is a temporary space present at major sporting events to celebrate the LGBTQ+ community. This year, the Paris Olympic Games will host one, organised by the association Fier-Play. These environments offer a safe space where athletes, fans and allies can come together, share experiences and promote equality and respect in sport.

“In 64 countries around the world, homosexuality is still a crime punishable by death, life imprisonment and stoning,” says Amazin LeThi, the first queer Asian athlete to serve as an Ambassador for Pride House France. “LGBTQ+ community members from these nations will compete in Paris 2024, and having such an initiative available gives them a beacon of hope. It is the opportunity to finally be themselves and make their voices heard.”

Planning the Olympic Games focused on the love for diversity is essential: “I always say that discovering oneself for the first time is a revolutionary act that changes your life. France has an open-minded approach, so the Games will be inclusive, without anti-LGBTQ+ laws that prohibit wearing rainbow symbols or similar things. This is what we aspire to with this project: to leave a legacy, even looking ahead to the next edition.”

The representative speaks about the importance of sport for self-discovery: “I wouldn’t be who I am today if it weren’t for sport. It saved my life. It is a language everyone understands and we can use it to encourage equality among individuals. Being an athlete gave me the confidence and self-esteem I needed to accept myself for who I am: queer and Vietnamese.”

“I have not yet competed in the Olympic Games, but I am training in competitive shooting. The goal is to compete for my country in the Southeast Asian Games, held every two years. This would make me the first openly LGBTQ+ athlete from Vietnam. Then, of course, I aim for Los Angeles 2028,” adds the Ambassador.

“Aimer c’est du désordre…alors aimons!” (To love is a mess… so let’s love!). This is the inscription on Le mur des je t’aime in Montmartre – a Parisian emblem of love expressed in all the languages of the world – but the path towards a society where every single “I love you” is perceived the same way is still long. According to the Asian athlete, we must “continue to work to cultivate safe and welcoming sports environments so that everyone can express their identity both on and off the field.”

Read also this article in Italian in our magazine dedicated to the Olympic Games Paris 2024 (page 39)