Laurel Hubbard – Weightlifting, New Zealand
First up is the pioneering Laurel Hubbard. Competing at the 2020 Summer Olympics—which are actually happening in 2021—the New Zealand weightlifter is the first openly trans athlete to be selected for the Olympic Games.
Laurel Hubbard first competed in international weightlifting in 2017, and went on to win two gold medals at the 2019 Pacific Games in Samoa. The athlete doesn’t give many interviews to the media, and has said, “All you can do is focus on the task at hand.”
Marilyn Agliotti – Field Hockey, The Netherlands
Field hockey player Marilyn Agliotti has actually represented two nations. The South Africa born athlete represented her home country, and then moved to the Netherlands, got a Dutch passport, and also played for the Dutch national team. Impressive!
Even more impressive is that Marilyn Agliotti is a double Olympic gold medal winner. She won her first at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, and her second at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Agliotti has commented that the hockey community should be more open.
Matthew Mitcham – Diving, Australia
At the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, only 15 out of 10,708 competitors identified as LGBTQ. Out of that 15, only two were gay men. One of those men was Australian diver Matthew Mitcham who received the highest single dive score in Olympic history at the 2008 Summer Olympics.
It’s astonishing—and sad—to think that Matthew Mitchamwas the first openly gay athlete to win Olympic gold. On top of his incredible achievement, Mitcham was also the first Australian man to win gold for diving since 1924.
Tom Daley – Diving, Great Britain
At only 14, British diver Tom Daly was the youngest person from any country to compete in an Olympic final, and the youngest person in the British team at the 2008 Olympics. The athlete specialises in the 10m platform event, where he is a double world champion.
The British press scrutinized Tom Daley when he announced that he was dating a man. Since then, the Olympic athlete turned vlogger has identified as queer, and is married to screenwriter Dustin Lance Black.
Nicola Adams – Boxing, Great Britain
When British boxer Nicola Adams retired from professional boxing in 2019, it was with an undefeated record. Amazingly, the star boxer was the first woman to win Olympic gold as an amateur. After that, she doubled up, taking home another gold medal from the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
Nicola Adams’ career is full of incredible firsts. She was also the first openly LGBTQ person to win Olympic gold for boxing. Understandably, she was named the most influential LGBTQ person in the UK in 2012.
Eric Radford – Pairs Figure Skating, Canada
From one record breaker to another, Canadian figure skater Eric Radford was the first openly gay man to win gold at the Winter Olympics. He did so alongside his skating partner, Meagan Duhamel, at the 2018 Olympics in South Korea. They were one of the oldest Olympic champions in their sport, and also the first to land several complicated moves.
At these games, held in Pyeongchang, there were 16 out LGBTQ athletes. The gay men that competed were the first in the history of the Winter Olympics.
Marnie McBean – Rower, Canada
What’s better than one or two Olympic gold medals? Well, three of course. That’s what Canadian rower Marnie McBean has displayed proudly on her mantelpiece (we imagine). McBean first competed in the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, and won two gold medals.
She then returned for the 1996 games and took home another gold, as well as a bronze medal. Marnie McBean came out after she retired. She is now married and has a daughter with Deanah Shelly.
Tom Waddell – Decathlon, USA
American doctor Tom Waddell competed at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City. Waddell was adopted by two vaudeville acrobats, who encouraged him to take up gymnastics. After protesting being sent to Vietnam as a doctor, Waddell discovered the US were sending him to train for the decathlon. He placed sixth.
Tom Waddell founded the Gay Olympics in 1982. However, after being sued by the Olympics themselves, he changed his organization’s name to the Gay Games. Held every four years, the games are still ongoing.
Robert Dover – Equestrian, USA
Jewish rider Robert Dover was given a horse for his Bar Mitzvah. At 19 years old he started to specialize in dressage, and in 1984 he competed in his first Olympic Games. After that, the American rider competed in every single summer games between 1984-2004.
When Robert Dover game out in 1984, he was the first openly gay Olympic athlete. The star competitor has said, “My memories of the Games and of the entire Olympic experience are, to me, everything.”
Sofía Mulánovich – Surfing, Peru
The amazing Sofía Mulánovich is another LGBTQ athlete with a pocket full of firsts. The surfer is the first Peruvian to ever win at the World Surf League World Championship, and the first Latin American to win the World Title.
Sofía Mulánovich will be competing in the 2020 Summer Olympics, held in Tokyo in 2021. Interestingly, this year’s games will have at least 163 athletes that openly identify as LGBTQ. This is more than all previous summer Olympics combined.
Moran Samuel – Rowing, Israel
Lesbian rower Moran Samuel has an absolutely incredible resume. The athlete started off playing on the Israeli women’s national basketball team, but had to stop when she became paralyzed in her lower body in 2006. From there, she retrained as a physical therapist and helped to re-establish the Israeli women’s wheelchair basketball team.
Amazingly, after that, Moran Samuel started training as a rower. She represented Israel at the 2012 London Olympics, and will be competing in the 2020 games in Tokyo.
Anastasia Bucsis – Speed Skating, Canada
Olympic speed skater Anastasia Bucsis has dedicated time and effort to combating homophobia in sport. The Canadian skater competed at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, and then at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.
During these games, Russia’s stance towards LGBTQ rights were a concern. The year prior, in response to these laws, Anastasia Bucsis came out publicly, and was the only North American athlete that did so. The athlete features in Standing on the Line, a documentary about homophobia in sport.
Ireen Wüst, Speed Skating, the Netherlands
Bisexual Dutch speed skater Ireen Wüst was the most decorated athlete at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. She is also the youngest Dutch Olympic gold medalist in the history of the Winter Games, winning her first gold at 19 years old. Wüst has competed at four Olympic Games.
But that’s not all! This amazing competitor has a whopping 11 Olympic medals, which is more than anyone else in her sport. All this makes Ireen Wüst the most successful Dutch athlete to ever compete in the games.
Quinn – Soccer, Canada
Another pioneering Olympic athlete is Quinn, who will be competing at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. The trans, non-binary athlete is a mid-fielder for the Canadian women’s soccer team. In fact, they were the highest drafted player in league history back in 2018.
Quinn has represented their country at multiple competitions, including the 2016 Summer Olympics where they took home bronze. The soccer player came out in 2020, and expressed disappointment when the media deadnamed them repeatedly.
Michaela Walsh – Boxing, Ireland
Next we have amateur boxer Michaela Walsh, from Northern Ireland. Athletes from this region can compete for Great Britain or Ireland, and both Walsh and her brother Aidan are part of the Irish team. The Walsh siblings will be competing at the postponed Summer 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
Michaela Walsh missed out on a gold medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in a match against fellow LGBTQ boxer Nicola Adams. She has competed in both featherweight and flyweight categories.
Fernanda Pinilla – Soccer, Chile
Another Tokyo 2020 competitor that identifies at LGBTQ is Chilean soccer player Fernanda Pinilla. The athlete plays for Club Universidad de Chile, and the country’s national team. Pinilla represented her country at the 2010 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Like many other LGBTQ athletes, Fernanda Pinilla has been outspoken about homophobia and equal rights. The star has said of her home country, “I’m a lesbian and feminist, in Chile I cannot marry nor adopt.” Interested in social activism, the competitor is definitely one to watch out for.
Sue Bird – Basketball, USA
One of the more well-known LGBTQ Olympic athletes has got to be Sue Bird. The basketball player is the oldest person in the WNBA, and one of the best players they’ve ever seen. Altogether, Bird has won four WNBA championships, four World Cups, and four Olympic gold medals. Wow!
Sue Bird’s fiancé is fellow Olympian Megan Rapinoe—that’s a lot of talent in one relationship! Bird came out as a lesbian in 2017, announcing her relationship with Rapinoe.
Lee Pearson – Equestrian, Great Britain
Be prepared to be impressed, because equestrian Lee Pearson has 11 Paralympic gold medals. The British public first met Pearson when he was awarded a Children of Courage medal based on his congenital joint condition. After being inspired by the 1996 games in Atlanta, Pearson turned professional equestrian.
Lee Pearson won Olympic gold at the 2000, 2004, 2008 and 2012 Summer Paralympics. The athlete runs his own yard where he trains future dressage stars. For his achievements, Pearson was honored by Queen Elizabeth.
Jen Armbruster – Goalball, US
Taiwan born goalball player Jen Armbruster started to lose her vision at 14. Despite this, she kept playing on her school’s basketball team, before becoming legally blind. Goalball is a team sport designed for people with visual impairment. There is no equivalent for able-bodied people, so they are also blindfolded to play.
Jen Armbruster competed in the sport at the 1992 Summer Paralympics in Barcelona when she was just 16 years old. She won gold at the 1008 Paralympics in Beijing.
Seimone Augustus – Basketball, USA
Eight time all-star Seimone Augustus has a seriously impressive basketball career. The member of the US national basketball team won Olympic gold at the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Summer games. That’s no surprise, considering she was the country’s top senior women’s basketball player during her final year of college.
Seimone Augustus announced her retirement in 2021 and has since joined the coaching staff of the Los Angeles Sparks. The star basketball player identifies as a lesbian.
Adam Rippon – Figure Skating, USA
Next we turn to figure skater Adam Rippon, the first out gay man to win a medal at the Winter Olympics. Rippon won the World Junior Championships and US Junior title early in his career, and joined the US Olympic team in 2018.
After winning bronze at the 2018 Olympics, held in South Korea, Rippon joined Dancing with the Stars. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the figure skater had some moves, and ended up winning the show. Adam Rippon announced his retirement in 2018.
Carl Hester – Equestrian, Great Britain
When Carl Hester was 19, he applied to work with therapy horses. From there, riding a horse from work, he won a dressage competition. Just five years later Carl Hester was competing at the World Championships, and then in 1992 at the Barcelona Olympics. For these games, Hester was the youngest British rider to ever compete at the Olympics.
More recently, Carl Hester was part of the 2012 London Olympics dressage team, who took home gold. For his work, he was awarded by Queen Elizabeth II.
Katja Nyberg – Handball, Norway
Katja Nyberg grew up with handball. Her father, Robert Nyberg, was the first Finnish handball player to play the sport professionally in another country. While born in Stockholm, Sweden, Katja grew up in Finland, with her father coaching her Helsinki handball team.
Katja Nyberg found that handball wasn’t competitive enough in Finland, so she moved to Sweden, and then Norway. Now a naturalized Norwegian, Nyberg is the proud winner of a gold medal from the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Monique Burkland Matthews – Sitting Volleyball, USA
Monique Burkland Matthews was an all-state softball player in high school. The athlete lost her leg in a forklift accident at work, but that didn’t stop her. Burkland Matthews is now on the USA sitting volleyball team, and will be competing in the Summer 2020 Olympics.
An accomplished player, Monique Burkland Matthews won Player of the Year in 2015, 2017 and 2019. She won silver at the 2010 Paralympic Games, silver at the 2012 London games, and gold at the 2016 Rio games.
Megan Giglia – Cycling, Great Britain
Megan Giglia worked as a multi-sport coach, coaching rugby and gymnastics. However, after suffering fainting spells she underwent brain surgery and woke up with loss of function on the right side of her body. Eventually, Giglia started researching sports, and eventually settled on para-cycling.
Just one year after her injuries, Megan Giglia was accepted onto the British Cycling Paralympic Development program. Now, she’s a double world champion and Olympic athlete. On the first day of the Rio games, Giglia won a gold medal.
Belle Brockhoff – Snowboarding, Australia
Australian snowboarder Belle Brockhoff was one of seven openly gay women who competed at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Brockhoff came out in 2013, and supported the campaign protesting Russia’s anti-LGBTQ laws. She features in the documentary about the subject, To Russia with Love.
During the Olympics, Pride Houses are set up for LGBTQ athletes, volunteers and visitors. For the 2014 Sochi games, Russia would not allow any Pride Houses. In response, the Russian LGBT Sport Federation hosted an event.
Rikke Skov – Handball, Denmark
Danish handball player Rikke Skov represented her country at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens. The athlete joined Viborg HK when she was just a teenager, and stayed with it until her retirement from professional sport.
Rikke Skov’s team won the Champions League three times, as well as seven Danish Championships. At the 2004 Olympics, Skov won a gold medal. At the following games, she was team captain. Skov has had both male and female partners, include teammate Lotte Kiærskou.
Cindy Ouellet – Wheelchair Basketball, Canada
As a child, Canadian Cindy Ouellet dreamed of becoming a soccer player or a skier. However, being diagnosed with bone cancer at just 12 years old put an end to those plans. Thankfully, Ouellet was open to other sports, and took up wheelchair basketball.
Cindy Ouellet made her Olympic debut at the 2008 games in Beijing, and then returned for the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. The multi-talented Ouellet is studying for a PhD and plays multiple musical instruments.
Regina George, Sprinter, Nigeria
The wonderfully named Regina George grew up with sprinting all around her. Her Nigerian father moved to the USA with an athletic scholarship, and her Venezuelan mom was also a 400m sprinter. At nine years old, George could run a mile in 6:13 seconds.
Though she was born in Chicago, Regina George represents her father’s home country. She represented Nigeria at the 2012 Summer Olympics, winning her heat. Regina George is in a long term relationship with American track and field athlete Inika McPherson.
Ian Thorpe – Swimming, Australia
Prepare to be impressed, because swimmer Ian Thorpe has more gold Olympic medals than any other Australian. The athlete has five Olympic golds in total, winning three at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney. At those games, he was the most successful athlete.
It’s no surprise really, considering Ian Thorpe was the youngest male to ever represent his country, and the youngest ever World Champion. The incredible athlete has dominated his sport at all major competitions. Thorpe came out as gay in 2014.
Abby Dunkin – Wheelchair Basketball, USA
Wheelchair basketball first came about in the mid ‘40s, and was often played by disabled World War II veterans. One of its stars is American athlete Abby Dunkin, who represented her country at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio, Brazil.
Abby Dunkin was an athletic child who played basketball and had a black belt in martial arts. She was diagnosed with a brain disorder at 13, but kept playing through the pain. Eventually, Dunkin trained with military veterans to learn wheelchair basketball. Now, she has an Olympic gold medal.
Karen Hultzer – Archery, South Africa
The London 2012 Olympic Games were the first games to include a commitment to diversity. Despite this, only 23 out of over 10,000 competitors were openly members of the LGBTQ community.
South African archer Karen Hultzer actually came out during her event at these games. She said, “I am an archer, middle aged and a lesbian. I am also cranky before my first cup of coffee. None of these aspects define who I am, they are simply part of me.”
Sheryl Swoopes – Basketball, USA
Basketballer Sheryl Swoopes was the first player to be signed to the WNBA, and considered one of the league’s best ever players. The athlete is also one of ten women in her sport in possession of an Olympic gold medal, an NCAA Championship, and a WNBA title.
Sheryl Swoopes competed with the US national team at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. The star athlete came out in 2005, and has had male and female partners. She has said, “I can’t help who I fall in love with.”
Diana Taurasi – Basketball, USA
Dubbed “the White Mamba” by Kobe Bryant, basketball player Diana Taurasi is one of her sport’s greatest players of all time. In 2004, the athlete was part of Team USA at the Summer Olympics in Athens. The team took home the gold medal, and returned for the 2008 games in Beijing, where they won gold again.
Diana Taurasi represented the USA at the 2012 Olympics, where she won her third Olympic gold medal. In Rio in 2016, she landed her fourth. Taurasi is married to former teammate Penny Taylor.
Megan Rapinoe – Soccer, USA
Last but certainly not least is the superb Megan Rapinoe. The captain of the US national team, the soccer player took home the gold medal at the 2012 London Summer Olympics. At these games, Rapinoe was the first player ever—male or female—to score a goal directly from a corner at the Olympics.
The soccer star represents numerous LGBTQ organizations, and co-founded a gender neutral lifestyle brand. Megan Rapinoe publicly came out in 2012. She is engaged to fellow Olympic athlete Sue Bird.
45 Questions Americans Have for British People
Did Someone Say Cookie?
Alright, folks. Listen up. This list will be a lot easier if we acknowledge in advance that many British words were often the first. It’s just history, though we will give you some explanations. The word “biscuit” was used in 14th century England to describe a hard, flat, baked good. Biscuits were convenient for sailors, and Britain was a seafaring nation.
The word cookie comes from the Dutch word “koekje,” which means “little cake.” Koekjes had a rising agent, so they were a lot less flat and hard.
Keep Your Wig On
As we know, the British are pretty into traditions and institutions. They have a royal family for goodness sake. So, is it really that surprising that their judges still look like they belong in a period piece? For the British, wearing a wig shows respect for the court.
Just like a uniform, wearing a wig makes a person part of an institution, and not just representing their own interests. Wearing a wig shows that the law comes first.
Dirty Diapers or Nasty Nappies?
Here we are again with a language question, and this time the Yanks are using the original British word. In Middle English, “diaper” referred to white cloth that had been folded in repeated shapes. When Britain colonized North America, the USA and Canada took on this use of the word.
Meanwhile, back in the UK, the Brits had moved on with their term. The word “nappy,” which is what British people call diapers, is thought to be a shortened version of “napkin.”
Minding the Gap
Whilst seeing “mind the gap” painted on the floor of an underground or train station is completely normal to British people, it’s quite bizarre for other English speakers. The phrase first came about in 1968 when the London Underground wanted to record an automated announcement. Because of the old technology, the phrase had to be short.
Other English speakers might say “watch the gap,” or “take care of the gap,” but “mind the gap” is completely normal to the Brits.
I’ll Put the Kettle On
We’ve seen it on comedies, in movies, and in serious dramas — the British are always drinking tea! This habit came from Britain’s colonial past, as the British East India Company had a monopoly over the tea industry in England. Because of this, the drink was encouraged by the government, and seen as both high-class and inherently British. Of course, the government happily taxed the imported leaves.
Colonial imports like coffee and chocolate came from different areas in the world, but tea came from one British colony.
What’s With the Weather?
What can we tell you? The weather in the UK is pretty awful. It’s windy, it’s rainy, it’s foggy, it’s icy, it’s dark. Apparently, British weather is so unpredictable because of the country’s position at the edge of the Atlantic Ocean.
Apparently, storms in narrow zones over the ocean feed on the temperature difference from the equator, making British weather famously unpredictable. And how do British people deal with it? By talking about it constantly, of course.
Here Comes the Sun
Of course, the other side of having constantly temperamental weather is that you really have to make the most of it when the sun comes out. This is why, when there is just a tiny flash of sun, many British people get into their shorts and run outside.
We’re not even joking. One of the most common sights — when there’s a touch of British sun — is many topless men wandering down the street. Hey, they need their vitamin D, too!
Love it or Hate it
The easy answer to this question is “because they’re correct, as marmite does taste good.” But we know that this is a controversial stance. Admittedly, marmite is a strange product, regardless of how deliciously savory it is. Marmite is a dark sticky substance made from yeast extract, and many Brits like to smear it on their buttery toast.
The product is so polarizing that its actual slogan is “Love it or hate it.” We fall firmly in the “love it” camp.
You’re Hot and You’re Cold
This is an interesting one, and there are several reasons why British homes tend to have two water taps rather than just one, like in the US. Basically, it’s thought that this originates from a time when hot and cold water were stored separately. Cold water was drinkable and came from the main supply, whereas hot water came from a tank.
It’s possible that British people are used to the design, and now choose two taps because that’s what they’re familiar with.
Catches Win Matches
What is the deal with cricket? What an excellent question. Well, it’s a bat and ball game that’s pretty similar to baseball. It’s thought to have originated in the southeast of England during the medieval period. Now, the game is played by two teams of eleven, where one team attempts to score runs, and the other tries to stop them.
Compared with baseball, cricket is particularly British, right down to the uniform — known as “cricket whites.”
Sing Us a Song
This inquiry raises all sorts of questions of its own, like which accent is this person referring to? Basically, people from many countries in the world are told to amend their accents when they’re singing. This is because we’re most used to hearing British English or American English voices in song, and it’s apparently a bad thing to sing along with a Scottish twang.
Furthermore, a song’s rhythm can limit someone’s ability to sign in their own accent.
Your Royal Highness
This is a tricky one, because many British people absolutely hate the royal family. Just ask the Scottish. The reason that Americans might think that British people are obsessed with the royal family is because media outlets make it seem that way. Of course, British royal weddings are global events, with millions of people tuning in.
However, in the UK itself, many people are completely unbothered by such events. There are the royalists, who love it, and then the rest, who don’t.
Why So Serious?
This question probably has the same answer as the previous one. It’s not that all British people are stoic, but that British characters on TV are. If you’re only watching Downton Abbey and The Crown, then yes, many British people are stoic. But, if you’re watching Geordie Shore or Derry Girls, then you’ll see that isn’t the case.
Part of this problem is that people mix up British people with English people. The Welsh are British too, you know.
The Brilliant BBC
The BBC is the national broadcaster of the UK, which means that it has to represent and cater to the UK’s population. Its remit is to “educate, inform, and entertain.” All households with a television in the UK pay a TV license fee, which goes towards the BBC. This includes online, radio, and TV services.
On TV, there’s BBC1, BBC2, and BBC4, and online, there’s BBC3. Each region of the UK also has its own BBC output, for TV and radio.
But, What’s Your Name?
Ok, let’s get into the proper terminology for the UK. The UK — the United Kingdom — is a sovereign state that includes England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. On the other hand, Great Britain refers to the island of England, Scotland, and Wales. This means that people from England, Scotland, Wales, or Northern Ireland can all have British passports, and generally consider themselves British.
However, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales all have their own independent groups that would like to break away from the UK.
What Did You Say?
As the UK is made up of four different regions, there are many types of “British” accents. Whilst TV and film tend to mainly show southern English accents, the UK actually has Geordie accents, Glaswegian accents, Valleys accents, Belfast accents, West Country accents, Tyrone accents, and many more.
Accents develop when groups of language users live in the same area with regular contact. In the past, with less travel and media, this accent creation was more pronounced.
Meet You in Maths
There is some controversy on whether it’s more logical to say “maths” or “math” when it comes to “mathematics.” Some would say that the Brits are more logical because the original word is a plural, so its abbreviation should also be plural. However, others would say that the Yanks are more logical because there’s no need for the abbreviation to be plural.
Regardless, each country says it differently, in a whole range of accents. In parts of the UK, it’s “maz.”
Back of the Queue
So, in the UK, people call a “line” a “queue.” This means that British people are accused of “jumping the queue,” rather than “cutting the line.” Historically, line meant “linen” in old English and Latin. Shakespeare did use the word “line” to mean a queue, but the British went with the word “queue” in the 19th Century, taking inspiration from the French.
Interestingly, more Americans are now using the word “queue” because of computing terminology, and Netflix.
Heinz Means Beans
Many nations enjoy beans, but few eat theirs in a sugary tomato sauce on top of a piece of toasted bread. That, my friends, is British. This dish originated from war times, as tinned beans were cheap, convenient, and full of protein. The beans in question must be Heinz baked beans, which first appeared as far back as 1927.
Beans on toast is a quick and nostalgic snack for British people. It’s eaten by students, families in a rush, and people on a budget.
The Vanishing Vacation
Perhaps the real question here is, “Why do Americans not take long vacations?” The answer to this question lies in the labor laws and vacationing culture in each country. All full-time UK employees are entitled to a legally protected paid vacation of 5.5 weeks per year. Conversely, the USA doesn’t have any required vacation time. In fact, out of all industrialized nations, this is an American problem.
Furthermore, British people generally take their annual leave, whereas American workers feel guilty taking time off.
Humphrey, Get Your Stick!
We aren’t sure this is a uniquely British trait, but a 2020 article in Country Living does confirm that British people are naming their dogs and their babies the same thing. Charlotte! Come here! Sit! One reason for this could be that British people find it funny. Come on, calling a greyhound Jennifer is hilarious.
Another reason could be that Brits want their dogs to feel like real family members, and so they give them human names. Alfred! Stop that!
Americanos for the Brits
We know that traditionally the Brits are a nation of tea drinkers, whereas Americans are a nation of coffee lovers. After all, most British people have an electric kettle in the kitchen, whereas many Americans have a coffee pot. But that doesn’t mean that the inhabitants of the UK don’t enjoy a coffee from time to time.
For some reason, Brits really do enjoy an Americano. It’s just a couple of shots of espresso with some hot water. Just right.
The Brilliant Bake Off
This question is borderline insulting. After all, The Great British Baking Show or The Great British Bake Off, as it’s known in its country of origin, is a cultural institution. Admittedly, the show was at its best when it was hosted by comedian duo Mel and Sue, and starring the inimitable Mary Berry as a judge.
The show switched TV channels and hosts, so it’s not quite as universally loved as it once was. Regardless, it rules!
I Want Candy
Here we have a particularly modern question, about why some British Youtubers use American slang online. This is similar to the singing question above, where many nationalities all over the world adapt to American language in order to fit in with their media culture.
For example, many non-American beauty bloggers will say “drug store” rather than “chemist” because they want to reach an American audience. If a YouTuber is recording a haul of candy, then they want people searching “candy” to find them.
X’s and O’s
Anyone interacting with a British person online may have noticed that they like to pepper their sentences with Xs. Of course, an “x” means a kiss, and in the UK it’s a friendly, casual thing to close a message with one. British people have been drawing kisses on their schoolbooks and sending them in text messages before emojis were even invented.
Plus, if you really like someone, you can do two kisses. Or if you’re annoyed with them, none. Shocking!
Pass the Knife and Fork
OK, we’ll admit, this does sound weird. However, when British people order a hamburger at McDonalds or Five Guys, they definitely eat them with their hands, as is correct. However, if a British person is in a nice bistro, or somewhere with more of a restaurant setting, then they will eat their burger with a knife and fork.
These burgers will be larger and more gourmet — perhaps with luxurious toppings and fillings. It sounds weird, it is a bit weird, but it’s true.
Born in the USA
Americans might not be aware of this, but many Brits have a whole thing about “hating” Americans. This is more to do with American culture than American individuals, as some parts of British life jar with life in the USA. For example, many Brits think that Americans take themselves too seriously, and think they’re better than people from other nations.
Furthermore, American society is particularly individualistic, whereas the UK has a national health service. It’s not a big deal, just some friendly rivalry.
May I Help You?
This is a hilarious question and not an easy one to answer. Again, we’ll point to the types of British people shown on television and in movies. They’re often creepy, upper-class types with bad teeth and worse hair. They’re usually called Alfred, or Geoffrey, or Gwendoline, and they usually drown kittens or push people out of windows.
In reality, lots of British people look inherently angelic, or at least, just normal. They come in all shapes and sizes, folks.
A Little More Conversation
Unfortunately, a large part of the British cultural psyche is being constantly apologetic and submissive. This is a major difference between the UK and the US, and one of the reasons that British people often find Americans rude. Where an American might respond to “thank you” with an enthusiastic and loud “you’re welcome,” a British person might glance up, shuffle away, and say “it’s okay.”
British people think it’s more polite to not engage conversationally, where Americans think the opposite.
A Very Special Christmas
Obviously, British people love Christmas specials because they are amazing. Think about it — it’s Christmas day, it’s definitely freezing, and you’re full of turkey and roasted potatoes. What better activity than to sit down with your family and watch your favorite characters eat turkey and roasted potatoes?
The reason Brits love a Christmas special so much is because their TV series are so short. A special might be the last time they get to see Gavin and Stacy ever again.
Down With the Dialects
In order to answer this question, we must point you to the previous answer on British accents. You see, this question really only relates to posh southern English accents, also known as “RP” (received pronunciation) English, the Queen’s English, Oxford English, or BBC English. This might be what you see on TV, but it’s not how all British people speak.
A British citizen of Northern Ireland certainly pronounces their Rs. To say “father” in RP, you would pronounce it as “fath-ah,” whereas in Belfast, you’d say “fah-thur.”
Call it What You Want
Here’s another language question, this time over the British “called,” and the American “named.” In reality, both are grammatically correct, and both make sense in their own contexts. For a British person, someone is “called” their name. This doesn’t mean that they are being called, but that they are called that name.
For Americans, a person is “named” their name, which makes sense. For British people, “named” is just a little clunky. You say tomato, they say tomah-to.
Mom and Dud
The answer to this question is all about accents, and the way that spellings change according to how people speak. Way back in 1776, the USA declared its independence from Britain (as documented in the wonderful Hamilton). Of course, the Brits and the Yanks would have had the same accent at one point, but then they started to diverge.
Interestingly, scholars think that the English spoken in the Southern USA is probably closer to Shakespearean English than the English spoken in the UK.
Counting the Cash
Here’s an annoying one for anyone that’s visited the UK. Because the country is made up of four different regions, there are different types of banknotes in each. So, you could go to the Bank of Ireland in Belfast and get yourself some Sterling, which is official and legal British currency.
If you then took a short flight to London, a man in a corner shop would likely tell you that it’s not “real money.” In short, they should take it, but they might not.
They’ve Gone Soccer Mad
Soccer — or football, as it’s known in the UK — is a big deal. Many British people are extremely into soccer. Matches are played on big screens in pubs and restaurants, groups of lads get together once a week to play, and each city wants to support their local team. If you’re from Manchester, you either support Manchester United or Manchester City — and whichever you choose says a lot about you.
Therefore, British people love soccer, so they wear their soccer shirts abroad.
Rate a Minute
This question comes down to British slang, and whether slang does or doesn’t need to make logical sense. Let’s be honest — Americans say things are “sick” when they’re cool, so slang doesn’t need to be airtight. In this case, some British people (mainly the English) say “I don’t rate it” or “I rate you,” as a way of saying that they do or don’t like something.
If you like something, the phrase implies that you rate it highly whereas if you don’t, you don’t.
Give Us a Smile
The Simpsons has taught us about bad British teeth with its Big Book of British Smiles. Admittedly, it’s often the case that Americans on TV have big, white smiles whereas even British royals have crooked, yellow grins. However, that isn’t the whole picture. It’s true that Americans value a perfect smile more than Brits do, but they also have more inequalities in oral health.
Because Americans have to pay for healthcare, not everyone can access that Hollywood smile.
Ear All About It
Strap yourselves in folks, because you’re about to learn a new term. This question asks why some British men have “such weird ears,” and we’re here to tell you that these weird ears are known as “cauliflower ears” in the UK. Cauliflower ears, also known as perichondral hematoma, are a result of trauma to the ear.
As this person correctly points out, many rugby players have these sorts of swollen ears because of an infection or the aftermath of a hard blow.
Breakfast Is Served
We’ve already talked about beans on toast, but that isn’t the only way that British people eat their tinned Heinz beans. They also eat them alongside a cooked breakfast (and also in baked potatoes, pastry, and so on). The cooked breakfast is a big deal in the UK, with each region having its own version.
Most versions include bacon, sausage, eggs, and some type of bread — and they can also include some combination of beans, mushrooms, tomato, and black or white pudding.
Don’t Sweat It
It’s true that people from the UK say “jumper” rather than sweater, though the two words mean exactly the same thing. For a British person, “jumper” is just the more common word, and has nothing to do with actually jumping. Apparently, the word “sweater” appeared as far back as 1882, and was defined as “a woolen vest or jersey worn in rowing or other athletic exercise.”
There are all sorts of confusing terms for this item of clothing in each country including sweatshirt, pullover, and jersey.
Say That Again
To answer this question, we have to refer to what we’ve said so far about accents and dialects. Some people in the UK do speak very quickly, with more melodic and lyrical accents. Others speak more slowly, in a way that might be easier for other English speakers to understand. People in New York and Atlanta speak at different speeds depending on their accent, right?
This means that people from Brighton might struggle to understand what people in Cardiff are saying, even though they’re both British.
Tea Is Ready
The reason that some British people call their dinner “tea” is that different social classes have different historical relationships to food. Up until the 1800s, everyone called their main meal “dinner,” regardless of when they ate it. Then, the upper classes started to enjoy a lavish meal with snacks, and called it “high tea.”
Eventually, the working class called their midday meal “dinner” and their evening meal “tea.” Many working-class and rural British people still do this.
I’m Sat Here Waiting
The reason that some British people say “I’m sat here” rather than “I’m sitting here” is because it’s slang that everyone understands. Undeniably, it’s grammatically incorrect to say “I’m sat” as it uses the present tense (I am) and the past tense (sat, rather than sit). Basically, people say it because they can, because they always have, and because it makes sense to them.
Of course, some British sticklers hate this grammatical error, so it isn’t used by all UK citizens.
See You in Antalya
The US and the UK are geographically different, which is why their residents travel to different places to vacation. The US is a much larger country, so Americans can see all sorts of different cultures and types of terrain within their own country. On the other hand, the UK is close to lots of European countries, and flights are cheap and short.
The reason many British people vacation in Turkey is because it has a great climate, it’s cheap, and it’s relatively European.
On the Road Again
Why are British roads so small? Compared with the massive infrastructure in the US, roads in the UK can be twisty, cobbled, and just tiny. The reason for this is that many British roads have been there for many hundred, or even a thousand years. These small roads were made for horse-drawn carts, which weren’t as wide as today’s motor vehicles.
Of course, you’d think that the Brits would widen some of their roads, but they must be used to it!