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Olympic Pride House: How Homophobia helped create it

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We all know homophobia doesn’t pay, but Pride House is a fabulous example of homophobia kicking bigots in the butt.

There's been a steady stream of media visitors through both locations of Pride House. Today, Ken Coolen spoke with BBC sports.

The origins of Olympic Pride House go back to Colorado’s Amendment 2, the 1992 initiative that amended the Colorado state constitution to prohibit governments from protecting the rights of lesbians, gays and bisexuals. Whistler gay organizer, Brent Benaschak, who had been a regular at Aspen Gay Ski Week, reacted immediately, calling on gays to boycott Aspen and come to Whistler instead–where the mayor at the time was the openly gay Ted Nebbeling.

Brent’s initiative led to the founding of the annual Whistler gay ski week, Winter Pride, which is now run by Dean Nelson and Ken Coolen’s company, Alpenglow Productions. It is Alpenglow that organized Olympic Pride House.

Colorado’s amendment 2 was overturned by the United States Supreme Court in 1996, but Pride House is here today as a legacy of gay resistance to Colorado’s homophobes.

The out Olympians: How are they doing so far?


As reported here, has identified four out lesbians competing in the current Winter Games.  Here’s how they’ve been doing so far:

As word spreads about the coolness of Pride House, local heterosexuals are starting to stop by. Meet Jordan (l) and Sandy.

Ireen Wust, Dutch speed skater:  Placed 7th in the ladies 3000 meter race on February 14th.

Vibeke W Skofterud, Norwegian cross-country skier:  Placed 22nd in the ladies 10km free race on February 15th.

Sarah Vaillancourt, Team Canada hockey player:  Scored two goals February 13th as part of Team Canada’s 18-0 sweep of Slovakia.  On February 15th, she again scored twice, contributing to her team’s 10-1 victory over Switzerland.  In addtion, Vaillancourt scored a first period goal February 17th during Team Canada’s 13-1 pummelling of Team Sweden.

Erika Holst, Swedish hockey player:  Holst has scored several penalty minutes but no goals yet for Team Sweden.   She got two minutes for body checking during the team’s February 13th outing against the Swiss.  She also got a 2 minute tripping penalty during Sweden’s trouncing at the hands of Team Canada.

And then there were five


Wait! There’s another out athlete at the Olympics. Several sports blogs report that Dutch speed skater Ireen Wust is in a relationship with another member of the Dutch speed skating team: Sanne van Kerkhof.

Van Kerkhof, who is a member of the ladies 3000km relay team, has yet to compete in Vancouver.

According to, Wust isn’t too thrilled about the attention her relationship has attracted from the media.

To read more, click here.

Pride House’s Dean Nelson meets Queen Latifah

Pride House's Dean Nelson and Ken Coolen meet Queen Latifah

There just had to be a celebrity sighting around here sooner or later. It’s the Olympics! Well, it turns out Queen Latifah was staying right here in Pride House’s host hotel. Dean Nelson grabbed her for a photo and a quick tour of the premises before she left to catch a plane. Still no chillin’ with  celebs in front of the TV yet.


Written by heatherkitching

February 18, 2010 at 11:38 AM

Posted in Uncategorized

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