Featured events

7-9 September 2012
Brussels Games

Brussels Gay Sports will offer a weekend of fun and fairplay in the capital of Europe, with volleyball, swimming, badminton, and tennis, as well as fitness and hiking.

Learn more HERE.
26-28 October 2012
Bern, Switzerland

The success of the first edition of the QueergamesBern proved the need for an LGBT multisport event in Switzerland. This year will be even bigger, with badminton, bowling, running, walking, floorball.

Learn more HERE.
17-20 January 2013
Sin City Shootout
Las Vegas
The 7th Sin City Shootout will feature softball, ice hockey, tennis, wrestling, basketball, dodgeball, bodybuilding and basketball.

Learn more HERE.

13-16 June 2013
IGLFA Euro Cup
After this year's edition in Budapest at the EuroGames, the IGLFA Euro Cup heads to Dublin for 2013, hosted by the Dublin Devils and the Dublin Phoenix Tigers.

Learn more HERE.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Olympic rower Ian Brambell on "This Is Oz"

This Is Oz (click HERE) is an online photo gallery where people can help fight discrimination against Australia’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) community. Part art project, part human rights campaign, This Is Oz is all about making Australia a place where everyone belongs.

Here's the photo from Olympic medalling rower Ian Brambell.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

An Australian resource on homophobia in sport

Homophobia and Sexuality Discrimination

Sexuality is a very individual thing. Although most people are ‘straight’ (heterosexual), a significant percentage of the population are gay, bisexual, celibate or asexual. Unfair treatment on the basis of someone’s sexuality – or assumptions about their sexuality – is discrimination and has no place in the sport’s environment.
Information to help you understand the issue
Click here to go to the Sexuality Discrimination Interactive Scenario.

* People often feel very strongly about sexuality, particularly homosexuality, because of their background, values, beliefs and fears.
* Assumptions about a person’s sexuality can be based on stereotypes, ignorance and little or no personal association.
* Myths about homosexuality – particularly homosexual coaches ‘converting’ young players, or players ‘catching’ AIDS from gay men – have no basis in fact.
* Discrimination against someone on the basis of their sexuality can cause immeasurable damage to their health, self esteem, personal life and work/sport performance.
* Sexuality discrimination can take many forms ranging from put downs, verbal abuse, demeaning comments and jokes, threats, damage to personal property, undermining, ostracism and exclusion.
* Sexuality discrimination that is not addressed creates an environment of fear, hostility and embarrassment.

More info HERE.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Warrior Games

From Inside World Parasport:

It is sometimes difficult for followers of the Olympic Games to think of the Olympic Movement as more than a biennial sporting spectacle that showcases the world's best athletes.

On display recently at the US Olympic Training Center here in Colorado Springs was the true spirit of the Olympic Movement and the power of sport.

Right here, in our hometown, 187 servicemen and women from all five military branches came together to participate in the inaugural Warrior Games, proving the healing power that sports can have.

In a joint effort between the US Department of Defense and the USOC, with tremendous assistance from Deloitte and El Pomar Foundation, and with the overwhelming support of the people of this great community, these Games were part of an effort to inspire recovery, capitalise on physical fitness, and promote new opportunities for growth and achievement for wounded, ill and injured service members.

FGG and diversity efforts for London Olympic Games

Thanks to Federation of Gay Games member organisation Pride Sports Manchester, the Federation of Gay Games was invited to discuss issues of mutual interest with the host of the 2012 London Olympics, the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG).
View of Olympic Park from LOCOG offices

On Friday 14 May FGG Co-President Emy Ritt and Sports Officer Marc Naimark met with Stephen Frost, Head of Diversity and Inclusion at LOCOG. This meeting was followed by an invitation to Stephen Frost to come to Paris for IDAHO on 17 May to speak to staff of the OECD and to attend the announcement of the French Ministry of Sport’s homophobia in sport action plan.
Emy Ritt and Stephen Frost

During the discussions, Mr. Frost emphasized LOCOG’s commitment to making diversity a hallmark of the 2012 Games, and to ensure that this commitment is enshrined as a legacy for future hosts.

As part of the FGG’s long-term commitment to engagement with the international mainstream sports community, the Federation is pleased to have begun discussions with LOCOG, and to learn more about the engagement of national sports federations, suppliers, etc. in the goals of achieving diversity and inclusion in a major sports event.

Ritt, Naimark, Frost

Stephen Frost asked for the support from the FGG in LOCOG’s outreach efforts to the LGBT sports community, in particular for the recruitment of LGBT volunteers for 2012..

"Come out to play" study by Victoria University

Just a reminder that Caroline Symons has just published a history of the Gay Games, and is the winner of the 2009 Federation Legacy Award for Academic Scholarship and Research. Read the article on this study HERE. More info on the study can be found HERE.

More than 45 percent of people are not ‘out’ in mainstream sports and many shy away from team games for fear of harassment, according to a new study on the GLBT experience in sport.

The first study of its kind, Come Out To Play was conducted by Victoria University and Gay and Lesbian Health Victoria and sets out recommendations for greater inclusion in amateur sports.

“Sport plays a significant role in Australian society; however, it is a place where LGBT Australians are largely silent and invisible,” the study says.

Victoria University lead researcher Dr Caroline Symons told Sydney Star Observer it’s not all bad news.

“Fifty percent of people did say their mainstream sports club was welcoming so that’s good news,” she said.

The report — launched today by VicHealth — surveyed 307 gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. The findings show male respondents were less likely to play team sports than women and more likely to be out in individual rather than team sports.

Team Sydney responds to AFL player Akermanis

Gay Games VIII media partner published FGG member organization Team Sydney's response to football player. Read the full article HERE.

While AFL footballer Jason Akermanis wrote a piece for Melbourne’s Herald Sun newspaper last week advising gay sports people considering coming out to “forget it”, new figures from our Gay Games contingent tell a different story ­— there are 339 proud GLBT sportspeople registered from Australia to attend the Gay Games at Cologne in July, 203 of them from NSW. It is the largest contingent ever to travel from Australia to an international gay event.

Tell your story on Outsports

Gay Games VIII media partner Outsports has launched a series of athlete profiles. Tell your story to the world! More info HERE.

And read a first profile, the amazing story of swimmer Brian Galyean, HERE.

London Orca's happy with Paris warm-up

Pink Paper covers London Orca Water Polo's participation in the TIP Paris International Tournament organized by FGG member FSGL and sponsored by the Federation and Games Cologne:

London Orca Water Polo goalkeeper, Gareth Johnson, commented: “We came fifth and ninth which is a fantastic result considering that this was the first international tournament for a number of our players.

“We’ve seen real improvement in our confidence and our skills - all of which will stand us in good stead for our next big challenge, the Gay Games in Cologne.”

The event is said to have attracted a total of more than 1,500 gay and lesbian athletes competing in a range of sports including football, rugby and basketball.

The Gay Games will commence on 31 July and will be held in Cologne, Germany attracting upto 12,000 participants from over 70 countries.

Read the full article HERE.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Warmest wishes to two outstanding Gay Games VIII volunteers!

The Federation of Gay Games is delighted to extend its warmest wishes for continued happiness to Rosi Seidler and Dagmar Ziege, dedicated Gay Games VIII volunteers, longtime partners and recent newlyweds!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Jeff Sheng on ABC News

Friend of the Gay Games Jeff Sheng, author of the Fearless Campus tour of portraits of out US high school and college athletes, was featured on ABC News for his latest project, his photos of closeted American military personnel. View the piece on Sheng's Don't Ask, Don't Tell project below. You can buy his photobook HERE.

Best wishes to Tracy Baim

We have learned that our friend Tracy Baim, former vice co-chair of Chicago Games Inc. and winner of the 2009 Federation Legacy Award for Media and Journalism, has been ill, but that she will soon be out of the hospital. We send her all our wishes for a speedy recovery.

Her Facebook friends will find more details on her Facebook page.

KZN LGBT Recreation at Durban race

Some photos from KZN LGBT Recreation at last weekend's Big Walk race in Durban. The Big Walk began as a small event seven years ago, with 1800 walkers. It has since grown tremendously: 13 400 walkers entered last year and 18 000 were expected at this year's event on 23 May 2010.

Eleven members of KZN LGBT Recreation participated as a team-building effort and to raise the visibility of their group at a mainstream event. Contacts were made with KwaZulu-Natal Athletics in view of registering a new Frontrunners group as an official club by the end of this year. KZN LGBT Recreation also were present to promote sport for HIV-positive people as a key part of their overall treatment and lifestyle.
The walk boasts four different routes along Durban's scenic promenade comprising of a 5km, 10km, 15km and 20km walk, catering for everyone from fun walkers to seasoned professionals. It is a fun outdoor event where families can get fit together in a safe and social environment.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Kurt Dahl interview: Gearing up for the Games

A great interview by Dan Woog:

"A lot of us grew up feeling uncomfortable with sports,” Dahl explains. “The Gay Games allow us to be who we are. We can participate openly, and meet other LGBT people. You don’t have to be an elite athlete to take part. Just trying to do your personal best in front of the world is a great opportunity. It’s an enriching life experience. It’s powerful to watch it happen, too.”


Cologne seems ready to embrace the Games. “I’ve been there several times already,” Dahl says. “The people there are very proud to be hosts. Europeans in general have always embraced the Gay Games movement.”


Among the attendees will be Australian Olympic gold medal diver Matthew Mitcham. He’ll be involved in several activities—though not as an active diver. “I’m excited to be part of something so important for our communities around the globe,” Mitcham says. “This event brings lesbian and gay life out on the court, onto the track and into the pool.

“Participating at the Gay Games is a great chance for all gays and lesbians to show that we as a community are not like the stereotypes the straight media loves to portray. I will take time off from train- ing and travel to Cologne, since I strong- ly feel we have to celebrate our own values and help others accept that it is OK to be different.”

Dahl is excited that the 20-year-old Mitcham will be in Cologne. “He is a fantastic role model, especially for younger people. He is focused and successful in his sport and doesn’t have to hide being gay. Dr. Tom Waddell, the Gay Games founder, would have been so proud of that.

But the Gay Games are as much about non-elite athletes as they are about Olympic gold medalists.

“Come to Cologne!” Dahl urges the world. “See what the Gay Games are all about. If you don’t already participate in gay sports or cultural events, get involved.

“It’s great fun. You’ll make excellent friendships, and enrich your life. My partner and I have met some of our closest friends through gay softball. It could be a life-changing event.”

Read the full article HERE.

What does the drop in the euro mean for Americans?

From the Big Money website:

American consumers looking for a bargain will get the most bang for their buck if they travel to Eurozone nations. Hotel stays, local transit, and everything from Chianti Classico to Chanel purchased while abroad will be 15 percent cheaper than it would have been at the beginning of the year.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Women and Sport conference: day 3

Kate Rowe concludes her reports on the Women and Sport conference in Sydney.

Day 3 began commenced with a panel of "Gen X" and "Gen Y" women representatives from the UK, Japan, Botswana, and the US. The panel was a conversation about where they had come from, what their passions and dreams were for young women and sport. It was a very informative and fresh look at the future of women in sport.

The final session was a keynote address by the Honorable Michael Kirby AC OMG. Justice Kirby is a former Justice of the High Court of Australia, and it renowned for his stand on human rights. Those present at the opening ceremony of the Sydney Gay Games will remember his remarkable speech. At the conference, he gave an impassioned plea about human rights through sport and in particular for women. However his greatest plea was for human rights for gays and lesbians, citing his recent experience on IDAHO at an event held in Hong Kong. His address was received with enthusiastic applause.

The final session was devoted to the practice of sport. We had an afternoon of trying out all different kinds of sports. Wheelchair basketball (how tough is that!), cricket, Australian Rules Football, and of course soccer. On this athletic note, we said goodbye after three days of intense debate and enlightening conversations. The contacts made will be precious for the future of the Gay Games. There was great interest in the Federation and the event, as well as offers to join our family as volunteers.

The next Women and Sport conference will be held in Helsinki in 2014, and I hope the FGG will be present there too.

Women and Sport conference: day 2

Kate Rowe continues her reports on the Women and Sport conference in Sydney.

The days started with a plenary session entitled Leadership and Sport Governance, presented by Peter Holmes a Court, a wealthy businessman who co-owns a major rugby club. he gave a wonderful talk on strategies of how to get more women on board. I look forward to sharing some of the ideas he put out there. He was followed by Moya Dodds, a past Matilda (Australia's national women's soccer team) and now a lawyer who serves on the board of the Football Federation of Australia. She is the woman to serve as Vice President of the Asian Football Confederation.

In the afternoon, I presented my paper, "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun and by the way Parity - Lesbians at the Gay Games". About 50 people attended, which was great, since there were many other talks taking place at the same time. About a third of them had attended the Gay Games.

I gave an overview of the history of the Games, using Australia as a case study to show the effort made to increase women's participation and involvement. I presented the history of women on the board of the Federation and the challenges faced in the here and now of recruiting and retaining women on the board. I noted that unlike most of the organisations presented at the conference, the FGG was entirely voluntary, and the investment in time and finance can be a deterrent to recruiting board members, and in particular women.

I spoke of the Federation's Gender Equity policy, adopted at the 2009 Annual Meeting, and the challenge in now implementing this policy. It's not enough to express good intentions, it's essential to push for it to become a reality.

I closed with a Gay Games VIII promotional video, which received a great round of applause.

The presentation was very well received and I had several women make inquiries for follow up contact. In particular, I met five young women from Smith College in Massachusetts, all post graduates with a degree in Sport and Exercise Science who are looking to volunteer...they are our future.

Afterwards I attended two great sessions: one on the issue of intersex people in sport, which is interesting in light of the FGG's Gender Identity Policy. The other was on discrimination against women within the IOC, which denounced the men's club status of the IOC.

Cheer San Francisco videos

Cheer San Francisco will be part of Gay Games VIII. Be part of it too!

Ryan Cox on the road to Cologne

Extracts from the YourHub article you can read in full HERE.

Ryan Wilcox is a 50-year-old Denverite, who was born in Greeley and raised on a dairy farm in Cañon City. In 1979, he contracted HIV/AIDS before there even was the diagnosis of AIDS. Doctors initially diagnosed him with Cyclo Mega Virus (which was essentially an umbrella term to describe many viruses the doctors could not at the time identify).
Ryan has been living with AIDS for almost 31 years, being one of the first to experience the struggles and stigmas that come with the disease. After losing his partner of many in years in 1989 due to AIDS, Ryan started a slow decline into depression and failing health.


By 2006, Ryan was walking with a cane and his weight had fallen to 97 pounds. It was in 2006 that Ryan had first heard of the Gay Games, when he was invited by friends to participate and "flag" for the opening ceremonies in Chicago. Due to his health, he was not able to attend but became intrigued by the idea of a "Gay Games," an organization he had never heard of.


After learning about the Gay Games, Ryan was inspired to change his life. He wanted to participate in the 2010 Gay Games that were to be held in Cologne, Germany. He started eating more and turned away from alcohol and the bar scene. He then returned to his childhood passion and sport of figure skating, which his grandmother had him involved in as a child in Colorado Springs. Ryan enrolled in a "Learn To Skate" program at Big Bear Ice Arena in Denver and also began taking private lessons. Slowly his strength and articulation came back to him.

"At the time, I didn't know how I would get there (Germany) but that was my dream, just to be in Cologne and to be a part of it. Skating has brought me to life again, healing myself from my own self-loathing and depression," he said.


Ryan's dream is far from over as he is now in the process of trying to raise money to send himself and his skating coach to Germany in August. Being on disability for so many years has prevented Ryan from being able to work a normal job because he would lose his health care benefits.

In an attempt to raise funds for Ryan, Bella Diva Dance and The Mercury Café will be hosting "The Road to Cologne," offering an evening of international dance and music for guests to enjoy and to celebrate how far the gay community has come since the 1980's in terms of AIDS awareness and societal inclusion. Ryan would also like to personally thank Dr. Ben Young, "Global Travel Health Medicine", and the new Aids clinic "Rocky Mountain Cares".

TIP promo video

TIP continues in Paris, under sunny skies and summery temperatures! And if you're in the area, make sure to come to the TIP Party tonight!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

More uniform news: Boston

Visit the Pride Sport Boston website HERE to order your gear!

Games Cologne at TIP Paris

Last night the registration event for the 2010 TIP multisport tournament took place at the town hall of the 4th Arrondissement. The FGG and Games Cologne are sponsors of the event, which takes place through 24 May.

A four-person team from Cologne was present, and found an enthusiastic crowd, with many people interested in signing up before registration closes on 31 May.

Find out more about the TIP HERE.

Utah's Team Hardwood coming to Cologne

Read the full article from Q Salt Lake HERE.

“Playing in Germany and being part of an international gay event is exciting. I’ve never been to the Gay Games before,” said Cutler, who has been a member of Team Hardwood for three years, and also plays flag football each summer. He is also a Utah-based management consultant and community advocate, and has recently helped form Team Utah, a local gay and lesbian non-profit sports group that is presenting fundraisers through the summer to help raise additional funding to get Utah athletes to Cologne.

At the last Gay Games held in Chicago, Team Hardwood won the bronze medal in tournament play. The team would like to bring a medal home from Cologne, hopefully a gold this time.

“It was such an amazing experience and we played teams from everywhere. We played two games a day and after four days, they seated us in the medal round and we took the bronze,” said Sanchez, who along with Perkins and Ralphs, represented Team Hardwood at Gay Games VII. “For the closing ceremonies it was cool to see 12,000 athletes and then see a very small amount with our jewelry.”

FGG Annual General Assembly 2010

In order to offer the greatest number of delegates from member organizations the opportunity to participate, the 2010 FGG AGA (Annual Meeting) will be held the day after closing ceremonies of Gay Games VIII in Cologne.

Notice of meeting can be found HERE.

Team NY uniforms

Out of Bounds NYC has made a significant donation towards the cost of these uniforms to help make things easier for the athletes. Uniforms will be offered at the amazing price of only $10 (that's $25 less than the actual cost of $35!). Non-registered athletes may purchase uniforms at cost ($35).

If you and your teammates are heading to Cologne, Germany for the Gay Games, you may order team uniforms right here!

We're happy to offer registered Gay Games 2010 Athletes TEAM NEW YORK UNIFORMS for only $10 each! This uniform comes with a Team New York Polo Shirt, Team New York Hat and (3) Team New York Cologne 2010 Trading Pins.

More info HERE.

RealJock interview of Chris Morgan

RealJock has just published a great interview with FGG Ambassador and world powerlifting champion Chris Morgan. Here's an extract:

What do the Gay Games mean to you?
It’s where I started my career. I believe I’m the only Gay Games athlete ever to have moved on to win world medals in their chosen sport. It’s a huge honour to represent the Federation of Gay Games as one of their global ambassadors.

Tell us a little more about that first Gay Games for you, in 1998?
It was magical in the sense that I’d lost a rugby career through injury and Gay Games gave me a second chance. It had not occurred to me that I could still compete after coming out as a gay man and to be given the chance to learn a new sport in a ‘safe’ environment changed my life. Twelve years on and I’m still winning world medals and visiting amazing countries doing something that I really enjoy.

Read the full interview HERE.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Vancouver Olympian comes out

Speedskater Blake Skjellerup competed for his native New Zealand at the Vancouver Winter Olympics this past February. Interestingly, his family, friends, teammates and coaches have all known he is gay for some time. In fact, according to Chicago's Windy City Times, during the limited time they were together during the Games due to the skater's intense schedule during that two-week period, Skjellerup and his boyfriend walked around Vancouver holding hands.

"We had limited time to be together, so we wanted to make it as nice as possible," Skjellerup told Windy City Times in his first interview with any U.S. outlet (Windy City Times) since officially revealing his sexuality. So how did the two avoid the media's intense scrutiny? Well, no one asked.

"I have seen countless interviews where the interviewer asks whether the person is seeing someone. That never happened to me, no one inquired," said Skjellerup, who was interviewed more than 20 times during his Olympic experience.

You can read the complete article HERE.

Amsterdam meet and greet this Sunday

“Meet and Greet” in the “Getto“

On Whitsunday, Gay Games VIII Cologne 2010 will carry out a “Meet and Greet” in the “Getto“in Amsterdam. The event is to demonstrate solidarity with the people from Amsterdam who held Gay Games V in 1998.

At these “Meet and Greet”, events which are held worldwide simultaneously, a team from Gay Games Cologne will present information about all the events planned for Gay Games VIII Cologne 2010. Leaders from Gay Games Cologne will answer questions on May, 23 at 15:00 in the “Ghetto” in Amsterdam. A visit to the “Meet and Greet” is worthwhile. With only one week before the registration ends (May, 31 2010), everyone who comes to the “MeetAndGreet” can count with a reduced registration fee.
“It would be especially nice for us, if numerous guests would come from our Dutch neighbourhood” says Sascha Hüllen, who is organizing the “MeetAndGreet” in Amsterdam. “Amsterdam is closer than any other European metropolis, not only geographically but also mentally. Many people from Cologne regularly drive on the Koninginnen Dag to the Netherlands which are only a few kilometers away, and we always meet boys and girls with “oranje” flags on our carnival and CSD events”.

The relations with the German and Dutch neighbors are diverse. There are many contacts to Dutch groups. A Dutch language web page www.games-cologne.nl is available for information. One of Gay Games Cologne‘s 35 sports will take place at our neighbors in Holland. The city of Roermond, in Holland is the official partner of the Gay Games VIII and supports the organization of the sailing competition. Sailing is accompanied by an event in the city center of Roermond. Participants and guests can use a bus- or train shuttle between Roermond and Cologne.

The “Meet and Greet” takes place on Whitsunday, May, 23 2010 at 3 pm in the “Getto” Warmoesstraat 51, 1012HW Amsterdam.

Register during "Surpise Days" and win!

“Surprise Days” from May, 21 thru May, 23 2010

Awesome prizes to win with the registration for the Gay Games VIII Cologne 2010

Registering for the Gay Games VIII is now twice worthwhile to new registrants. Not only an unforgettable week full of sport, cultural and emotional highlights awaits the participants; now, more than 140 precious prizes will be distributed between the new applicants. Those who register between May, 21 and May, 23, automatically take part in the draw for some awesome prizes.

There are shopping vouchers (each worth 50 €), vouchers for a visit in a bath, high quality sports dresses, a diving course, a course to take a glimpse at archery, as also numerous books, DVDs and CDs. Registration is possible at www.games-cologne.com . All participants enter the RheinEnergieStadium for the big opening ceremony. Also at the Gay Games, there is a varied supporting program with lots of parties and events.

Who registers from May, 21 thru May, 23 for the Gay Games can win twice during the “Surprise Days”.

Register HERE.

Profile of Irish football teams coming to Cologne

Read the full article HERE.

Since the early-noughties, three gay-friendly or exclusively gay soccer teams – the Dublin Devils, the Irish Shamrocks and the Phoenix Tigers – have been kicking away, and indeed, growing in numbers.

“It provides something other than the club scene for gay people,” says Bill O’Rourke, 35, chairman of the Dublin Devils, a team that first met in Tallaght in 2005. (They were known for the first year, brilliantly, as Men United GFC.) “All ages and all abilities can get together, play some sport and get some exercise.”

The Devils compete in an Astro league all year round, either five- or 11-a-side, and mainly against straight teams. During the summer, they go overseas and have represented Ireland at tournaments in Argentina, the United States and the UK. This July they will be taking part in the Gay Games in Cologne.

Women and Sport conference: day 1

A report from FGG VP External Affairs Kate Rowe:

The day stated with a keynote address on Finance and Media for Gender Equality in Sport, given by the head of Australia's public free-to-air TV station ABC.
Throughout the rest of the day there were 38 presentations divided into several streams.

Author of anew book on the Gay Games, Caroline Symons of Victoria University, Melbourne (winner of a 2007 FGG Legacy Award for Scholarship and Research) presented ',Come out to Play: Sexuality Sport and Social Inclusion", while Tom Waddell Award winner Dutch Lydia La Rrivera-Zijdel presented the SPART program in Ethopia, a program to empower women with disabilities through sport.

During the morning I attended the stream on Women and Leadership in Sport with reports on some very powerful and positive strategies to get more women on sporting boards. Especially good was a presentation from Amanda Bennett form Sport UK. The development programme she described lasts for three years, and uses mentors, internships and courses to enable women to develop skills and experience to take better take leadership roles in the sporting workforce. Another great presentation was by Sue Tibbals from the UK Women's Sport and Fitness Foundation

I continued to make great contacts for the FGG, for example with Karin Lofstrom from the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women in Sport, and several women from African countries attending; including Zambia, Senegal, Tanzania, Namibia, as well as women from Haiti.

The day finished with a very strong and sobering address on the issue of violence against women in sport.

I'll be presenting my talk tomorrow, and am looking forward to share our experience at the FGG and the Gay Games.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Gay Games sports policies

As the opening ceremony of Gay Games VIII in Cologne, Germany, approaches, the FGG is pleased to remind participants, potential participants, and all interested parties of its innovative and inclusive policies that allow the Gay Games to remain faithful to the FGG’s principles of “Participation, Inclusion, and Personal Best”.

Sexual Orientation Policy
There is no need for a Sexual Orientation Policy at the Gay Games: the Gay Games welcome participants of any sexual orientation. At each edition of the Gay Games an estimated 10% of all participants identify as being straight. No quotas or restrictions apply in what is the largest worldwide sporting event open to all.

Gender Identity Policy

The Gay Games Gender Identity Policy aims to allow as many athletes as possible, even those who have not completed gender reassignment surgery, the possibility of competing with athletes of the same gender identity.

In many team sports, mixed teams are welcome, which means that the gender of competitors is not an issue. In sports or events restricted to men or women, the first criterion is that athletes can invoke their legal gender to compete in the relevant category. But athletes who have not been able to legally change their gender can also qualify to compete in their gender identity (male or female) if they can provide a medical certificate stating that they have been following hormone treatment for at least two years, or if they can provide documentary evidence that they have been living in their gender identity for two years. This policy applies to most sports, except those in which insurance and sanctioning make it impossible.

Our host Games Cologne has a dedicated consultant working on any trans registration issues, and several self-declared trans athletes have already registered for Gay Games VIII. It is likely that there are more who have not declared their transgender status, because those who have been able to legally change their gender are able to register with no particular formalities.

This policy is far more welcoming than that found in mainstream competitions, and the FGG looks forward to working with trans athletes to refine and improve this policy for future Gay Games.

Anti-Doping Policy
Like the Gender Identity Policy, the Gay Games Anti-Doping Policy is defined in the Sports Red Book, part of the licence agreement between the FGG and the Gay Games host organization. The FGG and Games VIII host Games Cologne have negotiated an Anti-Doping Policy that allows all participants to compete in a fair and inclusive manner. All athletes are subject to random testing, but athletes under medical treatment using prohibited substances may request a simple medical waiver.

The Gay Games welcomes all athletes, including those with health conditions, such as HIV/AIDS, osteoporosis, cancer, etc. With Gay Games VIII, for the first time all athletes will be able to compete in a drug-tested event, whatever their medical condition, and whatever the therapeutic choices they have made with their own physician.

More details and history of the negotiation between Games Cologne and the FGG are explained below.

Women and Sport conference: opening day

A report from FGG VP External Affairs Kate Rowe:

I was among over 400 women who attended the opening ceremony for the 5th International Working Group on Women and Sport conference, held at the Darling Harbour Convention Centre in Sydney.

The event began with a 'welcome to country' dance by a local indigenous group. This was followed by the opening speech by the Governor General of Australia Quentin Bryce, Australia's first ever female Governor General. Kate Ellis, the Australian Federal Minister for Sport, used the occasion to launch the new federal government strategy for women in sport.

The keynote address was given by Ugandan Rachel Mayanja, UN Assistant Secretary-General and special advisor on gender issues and the advancement of women. I noted that while she discussed various forms of discrimination involving women, she neglected to mention sexual orientation.

There was a Q&A session afterwards, during which I asked Ms Mayanja if the UN was going to take up the issues of sexuality in sport.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

FGG member FSGL part of major initiative from French Ministry of Sport

FSGL President Bruno Aussenac with French Secretary of State for Sport Rama Yade

The Federation of Gay Games was delighted to be invited to the launch of a major initiative on May 17, the International Day Against Homophobia, by French Secretary of State for Sport, Rama Yade. This initiative was the result of a series of meetings which included representatives of the Fédération Sportive Gaie et Lesbienne (FSGL), the French national LGBT sports federation.

During this event, the FGG was pleased to offer Mme Yade a Gay Games medal and to invite her to join Equipe France at Gay Games VIII in Cologne from 31 July to 7 August.

The Ministry issued the following statement on this initiative (our translation):

One year after organizing and chairing the first world congress on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity, and after launching the declaration calling for the worldwide decriminalization of homosexuality at the UN, Rama Yade* brought together LGBT organizations and French sports federations on the International Day Against Homophobia.

There are two goals for this meeting:

- to rid professional sport, elite sport, all our sporting clubs and organizations, of homophobic attitudes, attacks, and insults
- to use sport to teach respect for difference in sexual orientation and gender identity.

FSGL VP and FGG delegate Maria Salvietti, Bruno Aussenac, Rama Yade

The Secretary of State has thus proposed, in consultation with the sporting movement and LGBT associations, the first steps in a genuine action plan for preventing and combating homophobia, based on six priorities.

FGG at international "Women and Sport" conference

Kate Rowe, FGG VP for External Affairs, will be giving a talk entitled "Girls just wanna have fun and by the way parity" on women's participation in the FGG and the Gay Games during the 5th International Working Group World Conference on Women and Sport this weekend in Sydney.

For more info, click HERE.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Good things do happen in Cleveland

I was shocked to read on Sports Illustrated Online that "good sports things never happen in Cleveland." The article asked readers to "Imagine what it is like now, to be a rabid sports fan in the most tortured sports city in America."

The Federation of Gay Games has an easy answer to those observations. We chose the city of Cleveland to host the 2014 Gay Games. "We were highly impressed by the city's facilities and infrastructure, the widespread community support, their financial plan and the city's experience in hosting large scale sports and cultural events” said Kurt Dahl (Chicago) and Emy Ritt (Paris), FGG Co-Presidents. “Cleveland demonstrated to the Federation of Gay Games that they understood the mission of the Gay Games and our principles of 'Participation, Inclusion, and Personal Best'™"

We agree with Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson, who said "Fans of the Gay Games will find that Cleveland is a great place to celebrate sports and culture and that we have tremendous assets and amenities for them to enjoy. The sports and cultural environment here is truly a uniquely Cleveland experience, one they will cherish for years to come." Great "sports things" will happen in 2014 - you can absolutely count on it!!

Cleveland's 2014 Gay Games IX Sports & Cultural Festival is scheduled to take place 9 to 16 August 2014. The 8-day event will feature 30 sports, 4 cultural events, an Opening and Closing Ceremony and community and cultural events throughout the Cleveland metropolitan area. Gay Games generate $50 to $80 million in estimated local economic impact in additional to significant ongoing travel and tourism visibility benefits for the host city.