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Queer US Athlete Competes in Qatar Wearing Rainbow Shoes

Queer US Athlete Competes in Qatar Wearing Rainbow Shoes

Queer US Athlete Competes in Qatar Wearing Rainbow Shoes

Homosexuality is illegal in the country.

rachelkiley

An American athlete has made waves after unintentionally making a political statement with her footwear.

Erica Bougard has been wearing rainbow straps on her shoes all season, and that didn’t change when she came to Qatar to compete in the heptathlon as part of the IAAF World Championships.

What’s different here is that homosexuality is illegal in Qatar. And people watching the competition quickly took notice of the colorful shoes.

“I honestly didn’t think about it because it was already on my shoe,” Bougard admitted. “I put the flag on my shoe and people noticed it, I guess.”

 

 

Bougard has been in a relationship with her girlfriend for about a year, and has said that she wears the flag as a message to both homophobes and kids who may be struggling with their own sexuality.

“I feel like we have a voice, us as athletes, because more people look at us to perform,” she said. “It’s important because I feel like people hate people for loving who they love.”

Now that people are proclaiming her shoes a political statement, and now that Bougard is actually aware of just how conservative Qatar is, she says she’s still not nervous about wearing her rainbow shoes.

“I feel like I’m well protected,” she said.

And while people on social media celebrate her activism, no matter how unintentional part of it may have originally been, Bougard will go on to finish competing in the remaining heptathlon events today. And hopefully she’ll slip on her rainbow shoes one more time.

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Rachel Kiley

Rachel Kiley is presumably a writer and definitely not a terminator. She can usually be found crying over queerbaiting in the Pitch Perfect franchise or on Twitter, if not both.

Rachel Kiley is presumably a writer and definitely not a terminator. She can usually be found crying over queerbaiting in the Pitch Perfect franchise or on Twitter, if not both.