When Timothy LeDuc takes to the ice in Beijing as the first openly non-binary Winter Olympian, the figure skater aims to challenge gender stereotypes and pave the way for other athletes who feel neither male nor female.
The American, who uses they/them pronouns, wants to nix traditional notions that all skating duos tell “Romeo and Juliet” stories, and instead present a show of equality and strength with Olympic partner Ashley Cain-Gribble, 26.
“My hope is now being openly non-binary and being outspoken about this, maybe it will make a path for other non-binary and queer athletes that come into pairs in ice dance,” LeDuc, 31, said in a video interview with the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
A record number of openly LGBT+ athletes will compete at the Winter Olympics, according to LGBT+ news site Outsports, following the record set at 2021’s Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
Tokyo also saw the first openly transgender and non-binary Olympians, including Canadian footballer Quinn, who uses one name, and U.S. skateboarder Alana Smith, who was misgendered by broadcasters using the wrong pronouns.
“I’m not too worried about people’s perception of me or people misgendering me,” LeDuc said.
“I hope that, you know, me being open and authentic helps to move that conversation forward and help people understand more that people can … be amazing athletes and still exist outside of the binary.”