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The 2016 Rio Olympics had 56 out LGBT athletes, and the Paralympics is following suit with a record-breaking 10 proud competitors ranging from Canada to Israel to Belgium. There are the six LGBT athletes from the United States, and here are their stories.

 


Jen Armbruster (USA, goalball)

Jen Armbruster is one of two of Team USA’s openly LGBT goalball athletes. She is married to fellow goalballer Aysa Miller with a son.

"It has been awesome to share this journey with both my teammate/wife excited to start the competition tomorrow and hopefully share and another gold metal performance," Armbruster told SFGN.

Armbruster played in her school’s basketball team until her vision degenerated and she became legally blind. Armbruster later moved on to join the Paralympics in summer of 1992 and has played at several Paralympics since then.

She competed in six Paralympic events, winning a gold medal from the Beijing 2008 games, according to PDX.edu.


 

Abby Dunkin (USA, wheelchair basketball)

Wheelchair Basketball Athlete Abby Dunkin is one of the youngest women on the national team.

"Competing as a LGBT Paralympian, has been truly amazing," Dunkin told SFGN. "Not only bringing awareness and education to adapted sports, but also bringing light to the LGBT community. It's the best of both worlds, and tearing down barriers with the two different minorities."

She added: "Being gay doesn't change the athlete I am on court, and I'm grateful to be able to on a big enough stage to hopefully prove that it's totally okay to be gay."

In addition to being a junior at the University of Texas at Arlington for Kinesiology, Dunkin has a second-degree black belt, is an international fighter and a former MMA fighter, according to NWBA.org.

Growing up playing basketball, Dunkin’s life was altered when chronic pain in her legs became a nerve condition that put her in a wheelchair. Even after her condition worsened, she did not give up the sport.

“The entire experience is new to me, even realizing people in wheelchairs could play,” Dunkin told the NWBA. “It’s different because it’s all about the angles and not being able to use your hands as much, they remain on your chair. You are just competing way different.”

Differences aside, Dunkin still gets to compete in Rio.


 

Allison Jones (USA, cycling) 

Allison Jones is an openly LGBT athlete selected as Team USA’s flagbearer.

Jones participated in eight Paralympics and won eight medals from the competitions — two of which were gold.

"Being able to consider ending my Paralympic career with this honor is just amazing," Jones said in an interview with the U.S. Paralympics. "Only one person gets chosen out of almost 300 hundred athletes on the team. That enough people believed in me, my story and my legacy, it's just a real honor."

She married her wife Sara Jarrell in 2014. The couple resides in Colorado Springs.


 

Angela Madsen (USA, track & field)

Angela Madsen, 86, is a retired Marine Corps veteran. She joined the Marine Corps at 19, but soon faced a back injury and a botched surgery that led to her being discharged, according to DoD Live.

On top of being homeless and jobless, Madsen’s condition worsened. She became a paraplegic.

A veteran’s organization provided her support and encouraged her involvement in the Veterans Wheelchair Games, and moved onto the 2008 Paralympic games for rowing.

In 2012, she tried again for track and field, and won the bronze medal in shot put.

This year, she’s returning to the Paralympics for track and field — and she seems excited.

 


 

Asya Miller (USA, goalball)

Asya Miller, 36, will be competing in the Paralympics in goalball alongside her wife, Jen Armbruster. Miller married Armbruster in 2007 and has a son.

Miller was diagnosed with a visual impairment known as Stargardt disease in 11th grade — a condition which causes progressive vision loss.

In previous years, Miller has won one gold, one silver and one bronze medal at the Paralympics.

In addition to competing in the Paralympics, Miller and her wife also participate in pride events with their son, such as Portland Pride 2015.


 

Desiree Miller (USA, wheelchair basketball)

Wheelchair Basketball Athlete Desiree Miller earned fourth place in the 2012 Paralympic Games — and is returning this year for more.

“With Team USA, we always strive for gold, no matter what competition we’re going into,” she told HeraldNet. “And as we head into Rio, we’re striving toward gold.”

In 2011, Miller won a gold medal at the Parapan American Games. She also won a gold medal at the U25 World Championship in the same year, as MVP.

Currently pursuing a master’s degree in counseling, Miller was born with a rare form of spina bifida. She has limited movement in her legs and must use either leg braces or, in some cases, a wheelchair.

“2012 was such a blur to me. So as I head into Rio I really want to enjoy the experience more. I want to soak in all the moments. I want to enjoy the opening and closing ceremonies, I want to enjoy being with my team, and I want to take the experience one step at a time instead of being overwhelmed by everything.”

  

Anyone who is an LGBT Paralympian or knows one who is publicly out can reach out to SFGN through This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or contact OutSports at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

More Rio Paralympics 2016 Coverage:

World Record 10 LGBT Athletes in Rio Paralympics

Openly Gay Paralympian Considers Death by Euthanasia


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