|Copresidents Emy Ritt and Kurt Dahl at Gay Games VIII opening ceremony|
Jessica: How would you describe the overall success of the Gay Games Cologne and what would you seek to do differently in 2014?
Kurt: In my opinion GGVIII was a very successful event. We had over 10000 participants from around the world. The events were very well run and the City of Cologne was a wonderful host, and the volunteers were great. This was an all volunteer event there we not many paid staff and may of the people were part of this planning from the very start when the original bid was put together. I want to thank each and every one of the people that were involved in GGVIII and especially Annette Wachter and Michael Lohaus for leading GGVIII.
Each Gay Games is different and unique which is why the FGG chooses a new host for each quadrennial event. I am not sure I can say what could be done differently, that is up to the host city to decide. GGIX will be different in the sense there will be new events like rodeo and the expectation is we will have more participants given the fact Cleveland is so centrally located in the US. We will need to work hard to encourage people from outside the US to come to Cleveland but with the success of GGVIII I am not sure people will need to much convincing to join all of us in Cleveland in 2014
Jessica: What role do you think social media will play in furthering the advancement of LGBT acceptance on a global scale?
Kurt: Social media is already playing such a big role today and I expect that will continue. With blogs like yours, facebook, twitter and whatever bursts on the scene later social media will be a major force in helping advance LGBT rights and acceptance. However, I still feel getting to know someone who is LGBT, face to face, having them in your home and seeing that I am no different then you, I just happen to be gay, is what is needed to further LGBT acceptance on a global scale. The Gay Games is an important piece of that puzzle in that people can come and watch and participate and accept us for who we are. I’ve seen that time and time again while in Cologne when citizens of Cologne many straight came out to volunteer, cheer on a softball team from Spain or Philadelphia, or watch a diver get a personal best.
Jessica: Do you think there will always be a need for the Gay Games?
Kurt: Yes I do think there will always be the need for a Gay Games. Many people dream of being in the Olympics but only a handful actually qualify to even get to the Olympics let alone qualify for a final heat. The Gay games is open to everyone and provides anyone the opportunity to participate with people from around the world, whether Gay or straight and, achieve your personal best. For many the Gay Games is their ‘safe place’ where they can be out and proud and not afraid of being ostracized or even hurt or killed. I believe we will always need the Gay Games and I am proud to be part of the Gay Games organization.
Read the full interview HERE.