Italian Gold Medalist Skier Apologizes for Anti-Gay, Anti-Trans Remarks

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Saturday April 23, 2022
Originally published on April 22, 2022

Sofia Goggia
Sofia Goggia  (Source:Luca Bruno/AP)

Italian champion skier Sofia Goggia is now walking back some anti-LGBTQ+ remarks, including claims that trans women have "hormonal" advantages in sports and the suggestion that gay men are too timid for downhill skiing, reported.

Goggia spoke to Italian newspaper Corriere Della Sera on April 17. When asked if she was a feminist, Goggia said that women "have to fight for their rights, including that of equity in pay," recalled Italian language website Luce! She also pushed back on sexist language, objecting to people saying that talented female athletes "have balls."

"Why do you judge me according to something I don't have, something I am not?" she asked.

But her remarks swiftly went downhill.

Saying that "women are women; men are men," Goggia went on to add that "when it comes to sports, a man who transforms himself into a woman has some physical characteristics, and hormonal ones too, that permit them to push harder. I don't think that's right."

She also weighed in on the subject of gay athletes in the sport.

"When questioned on whether there was a high level of homosexuality within skiing, Goggia appeared to suggest that homosexual men wouldn't be brave enough to go down the harrowing Streif course in the Austrian Alps," UK newspaper the Mirror said.

"Goggia became the first Italian woman to win gold at the Winter Olympics when she triumphed in the women's Alpine downhill skiing event at the 2018 Games in Pyeongchang," the Mirror said. "She then added World Cup downhill titles to her collection in 2018, 2021 and 2022."

But those laurels didn't shield Goggia from online backlash, including from governmental officials. Luce! reported that Ministry of the Interior undersecretary Ivan Scalfarotto posted, "I was dismayed to read that, according to Sofia Goggia, a gay athlete could not manage a downhill." Addressing Goggia, Scalfarotto advised: "Speed is an advantage in a race, but when it comes to words it can become a big problem."

The head of LGBTQ+ advocacy group Arcigay, Marco Arlati, demanded that Goggia apologize for her "stereotype-laden words."

Taking to Twitter on the same day the interview was published, Goggia posted an apology in which she said, "A falling tree makes more noise than a growing forest."

"I'm sorry and I apologize to all the people who felt offended by the sentence that came out in the Corriere interview which, certainly, when I said it, did not want to be discriminatory in nature," Goggia added.

She punctuated her apology with a rainbow.

But the mea culpa wasn't enough for some. Responding on Twitter, one person told Goggia, "People 'didn't feel offended'; you have offended them. It's not a question of our sensibilities. It's a question of what you said, which is discriminatory and perpetuates stereotypes and toxic masculinity. You, also, make the forest of prejudices grow."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.