WHAT IS A PRIDE HOUSE?
Modeled after a traditional Olympic hospitality house, Pride House is a place welcoming LGBTIQ+ athletes, fans, and their allies during large-scale international sporting events. Typically, they are 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.
Support local communities to advance LGBTIQ+ inclusion and combat homophobia and transphobia through and throughout large-scale sporting events.
LGBTIQ+ people are equitably welcomed and engaged in every large-scale sporting event.
- Local Leadership
- Shared History
- Best Practices
The Pride House concept grew out of the hospitality house tradition found in the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Over the past several decades, hospitality houses have become an integral part of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Typically organized around nationality or culture, these spaces–which may be inside or outside the official athlete’s village–provide a base for supporters and athletes to enjoy the event.
LGBTIQ+ people have traditionally been pushed to the margins of sport. Negative stereotypes, the threat of real and perceived consequences for living openly, and an exclusionary or hostile culture have made sport unwelcoming.
And the problem is not just athletics. During large-scale international sporting events, there is the possibility to connect with people from different cultures and backgrounds, to learn empathy and experience diversity, and to share a common appreciation for excellence. When LGBTIQ+ people are excluded, LGBTIQ+ culture is also excluded.
Pride Houses seek to address this. Modeled on the traditional Olympic hospitality house, Pride Houses are venues* welcoming LGBTIQ+ athletes, fans, and their allies during large-scale international sporting events. Typically, they are 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.
*In some instances, due to hostile governments or other restrictions, Pride Houses have had to take different forms or shapes. During the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games, for example, the request to hold a Pride House in Russia was explicitly denied. Instead, international supporters held “remote” Pride Houses in solidarity with Russian LGBTIQ+ people, and the Russian LGBT Sport Federation hosted the Open Games.
THE PRIDE HOUSE MOVEMENT
The first Pride House took place during the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in Vancouver + Whistler.
Imagined and delivered by a core of individuals and local community groups, Pride House Vancouver + Whistler succeeded in establishing two pavilions, one in Vancouver and one in Whistler, as well as doing educational outreach in the local communities.
In 2012, Pride House came to Europe, first for the Eurocup in Poland + Ukraine, and again shortly after for the London Summer Olympics. The following two years were crucial. Athletes with semi-pro and professional careers began to come out of the closet in large numbers in the United Kingdom and the United States, and media were finally locked onto the issue. By the summer of 2013, when Russia passed its “anti-gay” law, the issue of homophobia (and to a lesser extent, transphobia) was emerging in the mainstream press.
In preparation for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, numerous individuals and organizations began to conference around the idea of Pride House, focusing on the situation in Russia. Recognising their collective power and the utility of the Pride House concept, these groups formed Pride House International, a coalition of LGBTIQ+ sport and human rights groups, including participants in past and future Pride Houses, united to promote the cause of equality in and by sport and the creation of Pride Houses at international sporting events.
In the wake of Sochi, Pride House capitalised on its momentum. A group in Sao Paulo delivered programming during the 2014 World Cup, and there was a strong (and award-winning) Pride House at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
The following year, in 2015, Toronto held the largest and longest Pride House to date, offering free programming for the entire two weeks of the Pan/Parapan American Games. Directly after, Vancouver hosted its second Pride House, this time for the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
In 2016, Pride House returned to Brazil for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, appeared at the European Football Championships in France, and was available for the first time at a Homeless World Cup.
2018 was a big year for Pride House, as it made its debut in Asia at the PyeongChang Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games. Among the visiting dignitaries were representatives for Pride House Tokyo to run alongside the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020.
As of this writing (in 2019), there are several international Pride Houses already in the planning stages, and at an ever-widening type of sporting event. With the energy of international sports fans and activists behind it, this movement shows no sign of slowing down.