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The Other Olympians: Fascism, Queerness, and the Making of Modern Sports (in person)

June 8 @ 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm

In December 1935, Zdeněk Koubek, one of the most famous athletes in women’s track-and-field sports, announced that he was going to be living as a man.

Overnight, Koubek became a global celebrity. For a brief moment, he seemed to be ushering in a new paradigm for sports. Readers flooded popular magazines with letters asking how a gender transition was possible. Doctors wrote op-eds urging the public to accept him. Queer Americans wondered how they, too, could follow a similar path.

In this conversation, Michael Waters and Julie Kliegman will discuss the lost stories of Koubek and other prominent queer athletes from this era. They’ll also chart the origins of anti-trans and anti-intersex policies at the Olympics today, showing how these policies were crafted, without public support, by a few reactionary sports officials.

To reserve a copy of The Other Olympians: Fascism, Queerness, and the Making of Modern Sports (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, June 4, 2024, hardcover, $30), please write to us at contact@bgsqd.com with “please reserve copy of Other Olympians for June 8th” in the subject line.

Thank you for supporting the Bureau by purchasing books from us!


This event will take place in person at the Bureau of General Services—Queer Division, on the second floor (room 210) of The LGBT Community Center, 208 W. 13th St., NYC, 10011.

Registration is not required. Seating is first come, first served.


Suggested donation to benefit the Bureau: $10.

All are welcome to attend, with or without a donation.

We will pass a bag for donations at the start of the event, but we can also take credit card donations at the register or on Venmo @BGSQD



Julie Kliegman is a writer and editor in Queens, New York. She is the author of Mind Game: An Inside Look at the Mental Health Playbook of Elite Athletes. Her work has appeared in outlets including Sports IllustratedThe Washington PostBookforumThe RingerBuzzFeed NewsVultureThe Verge, and Washington Monthly.


Michael Waters is a writer whose work has appeared in The New YorkerThe AtlanticThe Baffler, and other publications. He’s the author of The Other Olympians: Queerness, Fascism, and the Making of Modern Sports. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.



Registration Required:
Youth Only:
Arts and Culture
June 8
3:00 pm - 4:30 pm


Custom Sources
Bureau of General Services Queer Division (BGSQD)
Event Language
Event Topic
Arts and Culture
Registration Required
Youth Only