Sweden now has a national all-LGBT handball team

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Sweden is getting an all-LGBT handball team for the first time in its history.

Known for its revolutionary attitude on LGBT issues, Sweden has yet another breakthrough to report – for the first time in history, a national federation will sponsor an entirely LGBT team in the sport of handball.

On June 10, the “Stockholm Snipers” were declared to be an official team by the country.

Led by team founder Andreas Carlsson, the organization will make their first public appearance on August 5-9, competing in the EuroGames Stockholm 2015.

Carlsson’s reasoning behind establishing the sports group was to provide LGBT athletes with an outlet, where they would be accepted for their sexualities and skills on the court. He also intended to set an example for the younger generation of players, encouraging them to be content in coming out.

The team still has several goals to accomplish, including the recruitment of transgender athletes.

Andreas Carlsson told Buzzfeed: ” We’re working hard on trying to get transgender people to the team, because it is usually those people that have most difficult to play sports because you need to choose your team after your gender— but now you don’t need to choose anything.”

The Stockholm Snipers will be presented with the traditional yellow National team jerseys during the European Handball Championship and the Handball World Championship games.

Stefan Lövgren, CEO of the country’s handball team and former Swedish national team captain, told the Stockholm Snipers website: “Obviously, it is very important to highlight the question of LGBT sports, and through these national teams we can be clear about our position and show our support, thus taking on a new role in society, which makes me happy and proud.”

Out on the Fields, a study done internationally on homophobia in athletics, reported: “80 percent of all participants and 82 percent of LGB participants said they have witnessed or experienced homophobia in sport. Homophobic language, in particular slurs such as ‘faggot’ or ‘dyke,’ was the most common form witnessed or personally experienced by all participants, regardless of sexuality.”