Of 4,200 athletes competing in more than 500 medal events at the Paralympic Games in London now through September 9, only two are openly queer, both from Britain. Captain of the sitting volleyball team, lesbian Claire Harvey, lost her matches, but equestrian rider Lee Pearson continued his winning streak with a full rainbow of metal. After earning three golds at each of the previous games in Sydney, Athens, and Beijing, Pearson, who was born with a rare disorder called arthrogryposis multiplex congenital, won his tenth career gold medal this weekend, the most ever for a Paralympic rider. The silver and bronze mark his first time not being on top. He ended his civil partnership with Lincolnshire fireman Mark Latham and is now with an 18 year-old stable groom named Ben. Pearson, 38, says of his teen partner, "He's more mature than I am; he's the boring one."
Pearson speaks frankly about the "Aww, that's nice" attitude of non-disabled riders the first time they saw him on his crutches. He beat them all to win the 2003 British National Championships.
If you like stories about the triumph of the human spirit, read this profile of the US Paralympic mixed rowing pair, an unlikely Marine, Rob Jones, 26, who lost his legs in Afghanistan and Oksana Masters, 23, a Ukrainian orphan with severe side effects from nuclear power radiation exposure who was later adopted by a single woman in Buffalo. Amazing and unnerving.