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, February 28, 2011

Jim Provenzano looks at the connection between gay bars and gay sport

Gay and lesbian bars and gay and lesbian sports are intimately connected, as shown by Jim Provenzano, in a column that includes the link with the Gay Games, including this:

But the softball league at the time was men-only, until Sara Lewinstein, owner of The Artemis Café, rounded up some pals and started what became a thriving women’s softball league. Along with Rikki Streicher and her bar Maud’s (and 12 years later, Amelia’s), women-owned bars and cafes supported women’s sports, creating a thriving community.

Read in full HERE.

Pot calling the snowdrift black? Iran upset about religious and political signs at Olympics

From InsideTheGames.biz, an astonishing show of nerve from a country which practices systematic sexism, racism, antisemitism and homophobia, and which, contrary to the principles of the Olympic Charter, imposes religious dress for women athletes.

February 28 - Iran have protested to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) about the controversial London 2012 logo, claiming that it is racist and spells the word "Zion".

The jagged, multi-coloured emblem, which reportedly cost £400,000 features four bold numerals representing 2012, with the Olympic Rings emblazoned within the digit zero.

But Mohammad Aliabadi, head of the National Olympic Committee of the Islamic Republic of Iran, said the logo was undermining the event and accused officials of indulging in "racism". "Unfortunately, we all are witnessing that the upcoming Olympics...faces a serious challenge, definitely spawned out of some people's racist spirit," Aliabadi said in a letter to International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge, that was also signed by Bahram Afsharzade, the secretary general of the Iranian Olympic Committee.

"We appreciate the committee's efforts in line with developing the spirit of Olympism all over the world. We ask for your consideration of the following issue which if neglected, may have destructive effects on the future of sport, especially London Olympic Games in 2012.

"Highlighting the values of Olympic, which ban any sorts of partiality, political, religious and racial measures in this field, may have a leading role to hold London Games better. We have two years ahead to the opening of the games and unfortunately we see the games face with a critical challenge at the beginning which is raised by the racial attitudes of some individuals.

"As internet documents have proved, using the word Zion in the logo of 2012 Olympic Games is a disgracing action and against Olympic's valuable mottos. The use of the word Zion by the designer of Olympics logo...in the emblem of the Olympics Games 2012 is a very revolting act."

Aliabadi even threatened that if Rogge did not take action and persuade London 2012 to change the logo it "affect the participation of several countries, especially like Iran which insists on following principles and values".

Tehran believes the geometrical figures illustrating "2012" in the logo conceal the word "Zion," a term Iranian officials use to describe Israel and its Government, which they do not recognize..

Soon after the logo was unveiled, some Muslim graphists objected to it, saying the logo reminds the world "Zion". But Iran is the first Islamic country which has officially expressed its opposition to the logo.

"We had to show protest against the measure," Aliabadi told the Iranian news agency, INSA. "We intend to write a letter to Asian Olympic Council to call for them to follow up on the issue more seriously."

A spokesman for London 2012 refuted the Iranian's claims. "The London 2012 logo represents the year 2012, nothing else," he told insidethegames. It was launched in 2007 following testing and consultation, we are surprised that this complaint has been made now."

British Prime Minister dons rose-colored sunglasses in Qatar; brings bag of fairy dust with him

From InsideWorldFootball.biz:

February 23 - British Prime Minister David Cameron has said that hosting the 2022 World Cup in Qatar could help to improve attitudes towards homosexuality in the Middle East during an official visit to the Gulf state. [Our note: Well, it's not like Cameron didn't have a rep for spouting crap.]

Qatar was a controversial choice to host the World Cup when the decision was made by FIFA's ruling Executive Committee last December, and homosexuality is outlawed in the country.

During his visit, Cameron spoke of the need for football to be inclusive. "Football is for everybody - no one should be excluded on the basis of their race or religion or sexuality," he said. "I am sure that will be the case when the World Cup comes here [Our note: So he is sure another country will not apply its own laws].

"Football can be a great engine for social change and a change of attitudes - we saw in our own country how football drove racism out of the stands. [Our note: Really? Has this happened? And if it has, was it "football" that drove out racism, or advocacy groups who shamed football into taking action? ]

"Just as that has happened, so too, we need to make sure that there is no place for homophobia in football." [Our note: By holding the premier football event in an officially homophobic country.]

The Prime Minister was speaking alongside his Qatari counterpart Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabr al Thani, and congratulated him on Qatar's successful bid to host the 2022 competition, describing it as "very persuasive." [Slipping a twenty to the maître d' can be very persuasive.]

Al Thani said that he was relieved not to have been directly asked about homosexuality as he said that was "less embarrassing to me," and made the admission that he did not know the rules of football. [Our note: We certainly move the cause of the fight against homophobia in Arab countries forward by avoiding raising the issue with the homophobes.]

Paris Tournament flyers focus on message of advocacy

Registration for the Paris International Tournament (TIP) is now open. Athletes from participating clubs took part in a photo shoot for a series of flyers that highlight the FSGL's message: "Against all forms of discrimination, let's play sports together". Here is Flavie, a softball player from BK Paris. The message says: "Flavie plays sport against all types of discrimination. Join her!"

The TIP takes place from 10-13 June 2011. Registration is now open at paris-tournament.org.

PFLAG on winner of Straight for Equality in Sports Award Hudson Taylor

Our congratulations to Hudson for this well-deserved honor! From Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays:

Hudson Taylor
2011 Straight for Equality in Sports Awardee

Hudson Taylor is a three-time NCAA Division I All-American wrestler and Columbia University coach. He is the first three-time All-American in the University of Maryland’s wrestling history and holds several hall-of-fame records. Hudson’s career places him among the top-five pinners in NCAA history. He is currently training to compete internationally with an eye toward the Olympic Games.

Hudson, a heterosexual athlete and a committed GLBT advocate, is determined to eliminate homophobia in sports. After wearing a gay rights sticker on his wrestling headgear during competitions, The Advocate named Hudson one of the “Top 150 Reasons to Have Gay Pride in 2010.” He was also featured on ESPN as a leading GLBT ally.

In December 2010 Hudson founded Athlete Ally, a resource to encourage athletes, coaches, parents, fans and other members of the sports community to respect all individuals involved in sports, regardless of perceived or actual sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.

Through social networking campaigns, on-campus trainings and additional practical tools, Athlete Ally encourages athletes, coaches and others to eliminate all forms of homophobia in sports. As a guest lecturer and keynote speaker at schools and colleges across the country, Hudson emphasizes the athlete’s responsibility to lead in the fight for respect and inclusion in sports.

In addition to his work with Athlete Ally, Hudson serves on the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) Sport’s Project Advisory Board, led by Dr. Pat Griffin, Professor Emeritus in the Social Justice Education Program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. This initiative works with K-12 schools to create an athletic environment that encourages respect, safety and inclusion for all students and coaches. Hudson is also authoring a book entitled, The Athlete Ally: Empowering a New Era of Leadership and Inclusion in Sports. A work in progress, The Athlete Ally will inspire and guide coaches, athletes, administrators, fans and parents to redefine sportsmanship and what it means to be an athlete and a leader.

Hudson draws inspiration for his advocacy from his great-great-great grandfather James Hudson Taylor, a 19th century British Protestant missionary to China who converted more than 18,000 people to Christianity. As a result of this lineage, GLBT-affirming Christian groups have turned to Hudson to discuss the intersection of respect and inclusion for LGBT individuals with Christian moral principles.

Scott Fujita on his support for marriage equality

Scott Fujita from Devote Campaign on Vimeo.

UK cricketer Steven Davies comes out

From the Daily Telegraph:

Steven Davies: England cricketer announces he is gay

The England wicketkeeper Steven Davies has announced he is gay – becoming the first professional cricketer to publicly out himself.

The 24-year-old Surrey player said he had decided to make the announcement after months of personal conflict.

In a frank and moving interview with today’s Daily Telegraph, Davies, who started his professional cricketing career with Worcestershire when he was 18, said he could no longer bear to lie about his sexuality.

Davies, who told his family he was gay five years ago and has enjoyed their complete support, said it was a huge relief to finally come clean and be honest with the wider public.

"I'm comfortable with who I am - and happy to say who I am in public," Davies said.

And he said he hoped his decision would help other young gay people to have the confidence to follow in his footsteps.

He explained: “This is the right time for me…I feel it is right to be out in the open about my sexuality. If more people do it, the more acceptable it will become. That must be a good thing.

"To speak out is a massive relief for me, but if I can just help one person to deal with their sexuality then that's all I care about.

Continue reading HERE.
Read the interview HERE.
And read Gareth Thomas's reaction HERE.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

10 June 2011 / AquaRomae Swimming Tournament in Rome

IGLA-member Gruppo Pesce Roma is taking advantage of the EuroPride in Rome to organize the 3rd AquaRomae Swimming Tournament.

We hope that you will accept our invitation and that many of you will come to Rome. Let it be your 'Roman Holiday'!
This year the tournament will be an official event within the EUROPRIDE ROME 2011 and will be held on June, Saturday, 11th at 9 a.m., whilst the parade will take place during the afternoon.
At the end of the parade there will be a concert at the Circo Massimo.

For all other events related to the Europride, please visit the website www.europrideroma.com.

Register for the tournament HERE.

Focus on LGBT sports clubs in Ottawa

A story focusing on the Rideau Speedeaus, an IGLA-member club, from the Centertown News:

Local leagues, teams strive for acceptance of gays in sports
Friday, 18 February 2011
By Mbonisi Zikhali

When Graham Ford joined the Rideau Speedeaus swimming club this year, it was a liberating experience for him. He was thrust into an ideal world where as a coach, he did not feel obligated to always explain his sexual orientation.

Some of Graham’s other coaching jobs have been with kids, making his sexual orientation harder to discuss.

“It’s not like I can be extremely open about who I am,” he says. “I try to be open about it, because I think that in this day and age some of these kids need to be exposed and know that some of the people they know are gay.”

The mood feels different for Ford when he is with the Rideau Speedeaus.

“It is nice to have that freedom and atmosphere,” he says. “There is no stigma.”

Ford knows all too well the challenges of competing in sports as a gay man.

When he was in university he experienced some of the stigma involved with homosexuality. Most of it revolved around the changeroom.

“Being gay, especially in male sports, is not easily accepted because male sports usually have the macho-masculine attitude,” he says. “It’s funny because swimming is increasingly expanding as a gay sport. Some swimmers try to resist that and therefore it is becoming increasingly homophobic.”

The Ottawa Rideau Speedeaus d’Ottawa has been around for about 25 years. Although it is primarily a gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered swim team; it welcomes members from the straight community also.

Keep reading HERE.

UNESCO and International Association of Sports Newspapers (IASN) join forces to promote sport values

Via SportAndDev:

UNESCO and the International Association of Sports Newspapers (IASN) will join forces to issue quarterly e-bulletins starting in February 2011 to raise awareness of sport’s power and potential in development and peace initiatives, and to encourage young people to become leaders of positive change in their communities.
The bulletins, which will be posted on the UNESCO and IASN websites and circulated through the organizations’ networks, will focus on four topics: sport as a development tool, with a particular focus on Africa; youth empowerment and sport; sport and the fight against racism; and sport and violence prevention.

Each issue will feature a lead article related to current sports events, an interview with a sports personality, a profile of a UNESCO Champion for Sport, items on sports facts and upcoming meetings, a section focused on sport and inclusion, and an article written by a young person on the issue’s main topic.

The bulletins will be the first project under a new partnership between UNESCO’s Section for Youth, Sport and Physical Education and IASN. Together they will develop joint initiatives to broaden the public’s awareness of sport’s potential as a mediator of peace and an accelerator of development. UNESCO is the United Nations’ lead agency for Physical Education and Sport (PES) and supports a number of initiatives that use sports activities to strengthen social ties and networks, and to promote ideals of peace, solidarity, non-violence, tolerance and justice.

The International Association of Sports Newspapers (IASN) was founded in 2008 by leading sports newspapers L'Equipe (France), La Gazzetta dello Sport (Italy), Marca and Mundo Deportivo (Spain), Olé (Argentina) and Lance! (Brazil). Its aim is to promote the values of sport and the interests and freedom of the sports press. The IASN has expanded to represent, today, an average aggregate readership of 15 million worldwide, added to a much larger audience from its members’ other media (45 million for websites, plus radio, TV, etc).

Saturday, February 26, 2011

New York Gay Men's Chorus sings "It Gets Better"

Here are some videos for the "It Gets Better" project produced by groups from FGG-member GALA Choruses. Here is the New York Gay Men's Chorus.

Visit our "It Gets Better" page HERE.

GayCities: A look back at 31 July 2010

GayCities Europe editor Paul Brummitt was at Gay Games VIII in Cologne, where he competed in the triathlon. This was his first dispatch for GayCities:

You can already feel the anticipation in the air here in the Cathedral Metropolis on the Rhine.

Even though the city always has a very visible gay presence, you can tell something extra special’s taking place now. It’s the main arrival day for athletes so everyone has time to primp for tomorrow night’s Opening Ceremony at Rheinenergie Stadium.

Keep reading HERE.

Roger Brigham on home-schooled sports sexism

From Roger Brigham's latest column in the Bay Area Reporter:

Perhaps the two most remarkable things about a boy's refusal last week to wrestle a female opponent in the Iowa state high school championships were that a) anyone had to ask if it was an act of sexism; and b) that the talk-show hosts at KNBR pulled themselves away from musing on Pablo Sandoval's diet and Carmelo Anthony trade talk and actually found themselves talking about wrestling.

The hubbub began when home-schooled Joel Northrup, who wrestles at 112 pounds for a high school varsity team in Iowa, forfeited his first match in the state tournament. Wrestling being what it is in Iowa, Joel and his father Jamie Northup felt a press statement was necessary.

"Wrestling is a combat sport and it can get violent at times," Joel Northup told the local media. "As a matter of conscience and my faith, I do not believe that it is appropriate for a boy to engage a girl in this manner. It is unfortunate that I have been placed in a situation not seen in most other high-school sports in Iowa."

Such nobility. Such sacrifice. Such crap.

Keep reading HERE.

En français: Video message from Paris Saint-Germain football club

Paris Saint-Germain has a history of hooliganism and racist violence. But the club is making efforts to improve its performance, and was the first to sign the Charter against homophobia in football.

In this video, featuring celebrities, football stars, and activists against racism and homophobia, the theme is "respect":

Make way for respect.
Our stands are a place for fans to get along with each other.
When racism and homophobia are pushed back, it's our club that moves forward.
We earn respect on the pitch, and in the stands.
At our home stadium, the greatest victory is respect!
Make way for respect!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Anna's story from the Our Group student-athlete blog

An extract from Anna's post on the Our Group blog:

When I got to Penn, I was so excited to be a part of a vibrant, active LGBT community that did not exist at my high school. I started going to Queer Student Alliance meetings and social events. I also began to date Cynthia, a former softball player, a few weeks after I arrived at Penn. Cynthia, like many LGBT athletes, did not feel comfortable being “out” on her team, and so she delayed comi
ng out until her sophomore year.

Through my work on PATH (Penn Athletes and Allies Tackling Homophobia), I met many former athletes (Penn and non-Penn) who quit because they were afraid due to homophobic comments by teammates. Luckily, my PATH friends and I were able to promote tangible change on campus through anti-homophobia visibility campaign and special events.

When I was growing up, I never imagined that it was possible to be both an athlete and openly bisexual. I graduated from Penn last May, but I am still pursuing my dream to become an elite track athlete. I am also still active in the queer community through Our Group and the GLSEN Sports Project.

Read in full HERE:

New York Times profile of Greg Louganis in his new career as a diving coach

From the New York Times (registration required):

FULLERTON, Calif. — The Olympic-size outdoor pool at Fullerton College on a recent afternoon was an aquatics diorama, with a beginners swim class sharing space with a group of seasoned competitors churning out laps. At the far end, in the deep water, three divers practiced their springboard takeoffs.

It might have been an ordinary winter scene in Southern California except for one detail. The coach leaning forward in his chair and speaking so softly that his voice was barely audible over the medley of old pop hits blaring from the loudspeakers was Greg Louganis, considered diving’s Michael Jordan — or Michelangelo.

Louganis, a five-time Olympic medalist, was hired last November by SoCal Divers to coach athletes with wide-ranging ages and abilities. To watch him dissecting a beginner’s front dive tuck during a practice last month was like observing Meryl Streep teaching an introductory acting class.

Louganis became the first man to win consecutive Olympic gold medals (1984 and 1988) in the platform and springboard events, a feat never equaled. He achieved his springboard victory at the Seoul Games in 1988 despite striking the board with his head on his ninth qualifying dive.

In 1982, Louganis became the first diver to be awarded a perfect 10 from all seven judges while performing a reverse two-and-a-half pike at the world championships.

After retiring in 1988, he became a phantom presence in USA Diving, ubiquitous in the record books but otherwise invisible. In the past 23 years, Louganis acknowledged his homosexuality and revealed that he had AIDS, accepted acting jobs and trained dogs for agility competitions.

Continue reading HERE (attention: log in required)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A message to straight pro athletes from Gay Games Ambassador Brian Sims

From an open letter from Gay Games Ambassador Brian Sims in The Advocate:

Right now you’re letting college and high school athletes be the strong ones. You’re asking them to be the heroes, the influential ones, the leaders. I promise that they’re more than happy to share the limelight with you and they could use your support. The deserve it.

America’s young people, and America’s sports fans, know there are gay and lesbian athletes at all levels of sports. They have said that they will support them when they come out. They’ve said that those athletes would be courageous for coming out.

You want the best players on your team and you want to play the best players. Start telling your teammates, coaches and fans that you support your gay teammates. Don’t worry if you don’t know any yet, you’ve got them and they want your help.

You’ve gone to college, traveled the country, worked with countless professionals and had thousands of fans, gay and straight. You already know that you have gay teammates and you’re fine with it. In fact, you’re great with it. Now you need to tell everyone else about it.

Spend time this off-season putting in the work to make next season the best it can be. Work hard in the weight room, on the field, on the court and in the classroom. But also start talking to your friends and teammates about your feelings on gay people.

I guarantee that by this fall, when the NHL, NFL, and NBA seasons are getting started, a few more heroes and leaders on your team just may be playing their best game ever because of you.

Read in full HERE.

Billie Jean King named a "fair play practitioner"

We are pleased to learn of this honor given to Gay Games Ambassador Billie Jean King, as well as to our friends at the Women's Sports Foundation. One can wonder however about an honor that is also given to supporter of anti-gay causes Tony Dungy.

On March 1, 2011, the Institute for International Sport (www.internationalsport.com) will celebrate the 20th Anniversary of National Sportsmanship Day, one of its signature initiatives. National Sportsmanship Day was launched in 1991 by Institute Founder and Executive Director Dan Doyle with the objective of engaging athletes and other community members in thoughtful discussions about the concepts of sportsmanship and fair play. On March 1, thousands of schools, universities, teams, conferences and associations throughout the United States will participate in this worthy initiative.

In celebration of the 20th Anniversary of National Sportsmanship Day, a team of Institute staff members and outside consultants has worked to select 20 living Americans, 20 deceased Americans and 20 American organizations/initiatives that have made significant contributions to the practice of fair play and have enhanced the national consciousness regarding the central importance of sportsmanship. States Doyle, "We wanted to recognize individuals as well as organizations and initiatives that have brought fair play to the forefront through their actions and example. We are privileged to announce who we consider to be an extraordinary team of fair play practitioners."

Compete Magazine now available in bookstores near (some of) you

Find the list of US bookstores where you can now buy Compete Magazine HERE.

30 Sept 2011 / Sailors wanted for Euro Gay Cup

The Euro Gay Cup was established in 2001 in Amsterdam, to allow European gay and lesbian sailors to the opportunity to prepare for Gay Games VI in Sydney. The next Euro Gay Cups were held in 2002 in the Netherlands, in 2003 in Cowes in England, in 2004 in Paris. More recent editions took place in 2005/2006 in Berlin, in 2007/2008 in Brighton, and in 2009 in Finkefee. The Gay Games VIII sailing event took the place of the Euro Gay Cup in 2010.

For 2011, the 9th Euro Gay Cup will take place in Lemmer in the Netherlands, from September 30th to October 3rd.

For the first time, the event will use sailing yachts. Everybody can participate - regardless of gender or sexual orientation! We will sail with teams of 6 peoples per boat (bigger or smaller crews maybe possible, please contact us)! The crews sleep on the vessels. Take advantage of this opportunity to race on the Ijsselmeer!

More info and registration can be found HERE.

Los Angeles Gay Men's Chorus sing "It Gets Better"

Here are some videos for the "It Gets Better" project produced by groups from FGG-member GALA Choruses. Here is the Los Angeles Gay Men's Chorus.

Visit our "It Gets Better" page HERE.

Hockey players moving toward gay acceptance

From Watermark Online:

While most sports are struggling to accept LGBT athletes, hockey is taking extreme steps toward welcoming athletes of all sexual orientations.

In June 2010, the Stanley Cup appeared at Chicago’s annual LGBT Pride Parade. Former Blackhawks defenseman Brent Sopel marched with the Cup in the parade and noted the support of Toronto Maple Leafs General Manager Brian Burke, who made headlines with his support of his openly gay son Brendan in 2009.

Nearly a year after the 21-year-old died following a automobile accident, more hockey players and enthusiasts are stepping forward to ensure tolerance is the norm for the hockey rink.

“When Brendan came out, Brian stood by him, and his whole family stood by him, like every family should,” said Andrew Sopel, president of the Chicago Gay Hockey Association. “We teach our kids about accepting everybody. Tolerate everybody, to understand where everyone is coming from.”

The younger Burke, who was an athlete and student manager at Miami University, inspired the new open-mindedness of local and national hockey leagues, according to Sopel.

Continue reading HERE.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Dutch TV report features Staffordshire University "TopFan" study

From Red Card Homophobia:

Dutch television program Nieuwsuur (Newshour) recently broadcast an interesting news item about homosexuality still being taboo in the world of football, and discussed possible reasons for this. The video featured Huub ter Haar from the John Blankenstein Foundation, Dutch football captain Mark van Bommel, Ellis Cashmore of Staffordshire University, and Michael van Praag chairman of the KNVB.

You can find the English translation of the video HERE.

In het Nederlands: Waarom zijn voetballers geen homo?

Van Nieuwsuur:

Paris gay rugby club signs national charter against homophobia in sport

Because FGG-member Fédération sportive gaie et lesbienne (FSGL) has been a key player in the development and promotion of the national Charter against homophobia in sport, it went without saying that FSGL member clubs supported the charter.

That was the case until last Monday, when Les Gaillards Parisiens, the FSGL rugby club, realized that it was important for each club to sign the charter, which they did, in the presence of FSGL president Christelle Foucault. We are sure that other clubs will follow: sometimes it's good to say what goes without saying!

Brian Sims to speak this weekend at Carnegie Mellon University conference

Gay Games Ambassador Brian Sims continues his work speaking out at universities with a talk at Carnegie Mellon University's Mosaic Gender Conference. The theme of hist talk will be "LGBT Athletes & Allies". Here is the summary of his presentation:

There has never been a time when LGBT people, especially young people, have had more support and a stronger community than they do right now. All young people, including athletes at all levels, are showing overwhelming support for their LGBT classmates and teammates. They have the support of seemingly unexpected allies from straight soldiers & officers, coaches and professional athletes, statesman & women, to people and communities of solid Faith.

Find more information on the conference HERE.

LGBT sport connection for 2011 Mr. Gay World

Among the candidates for Mr Gay World, organized in Manila from 9-14 March, are two men familiar to friends of the Gay Games.

Stanislav Tanchev of Outsports Bulgaria will be representing Bulgaria (of course), while Michael Holtz, Compete Magazine 2010 Athlete of the Year, will be representing the USA. Good luck to both!

Here is Michael's video for Mr Gay World USA:

More from Blake Skjellerup on Christchurch earthquake

AP Photo/New Zealand Herald, Mark Mitchell
After his Facebook updates, Blake Skjellerup has posted a longer article on Hypervocal about the Christchurch earthquake. ou can help: donations are welcome at the NZ Red Cross. Their website is HERE, but is not always available. An alternative is to donate via the British Red Cross HERE, or via the Australian Red Cross HERE.

Here's an extract from Blake's post:

It breaks my heart to be so far away and not be able to help those who need it. So I am taking to what I know best. For a city already struggling, the latest ‘quake is a blow to the morale of a truly great city. The city came together after the September ‘quake, and the city picked itself up. This time around, the damage is not only superficial — lives have been lost, and the city is unrecognizable.

New Zealand is a picture-perfect country, and Christchurch is no exception. Known as the Garden City, it truly is an amazing place to visit. Today is its darkest day and my thoughts go out to those who have lost loved ones. Disasters like this have everlasting effects on a city and its community, not only emotional and financial, but to the spirit of a community.

For those of you who have always wanted to visit New Zealand, I ask of you this: Save your pennies, rally your friends, and in a year from now, take that trip to the great down under.

Christchurch will welcome you as it seeks to revitalize the city and daily life. Those who have passed will not be forgotten, and in their honor, the city will continue to be the city they loved and called home.

Christchurch will need our love and care for years to come. As important as it is to rebuild the city physically, the rebuilding of the society as a whole will take time. I know that my city will be standing strong. Mother Nature hit us hard, but we will hit back with the rejuvenation of strong, proud city.

As Prime Minister John Key said: “We are a country of pioneers. Whether we came by waka, sailboat, or aeroplane, we came with the conviction that we could build a new life in this country. That great pioneering spirit will come to the fore in Christchurch over the coming months and years. Though lost lives will never be replaced, and though your city will never look the same again, you will rebuild your city, you will rebuild your lives, you will overcome.

Read in full HERE.

Donations are welcome at the NZ Red Cross. Their website is HERE, but is not always available. An alternative is to donate via the British Red Cross HERE, or via the Australian Red Cross HERE.

25 February 2011 / Melbourne fundraiser for AsiaPacific Outgames

Via the Sydney Star Observer:

The Melbourne Spikers Volleyball Club have found a unique way to raise money for their uniforms with a striptease competition at Neverwhere in Collingwood this Friday, February 25.

Whether you’re an OutGames competitor in Wellington, New Zealand or not, it’s a great chance to come along and support the club at the cheeky fundraising event — and who doesn’t like a display of finely-tuned, athletic flesh.

Spikers members can support themselves with this opportunity to save some bucks — competitors and attendees can offset the $10 admission price for themselves and their friends against their uniform costs (so bring nine friends and save yourself $100).

Every competitor who enters this event will also receive $50 off the price of their Spikers uniform, plus another $10 off for every friend who pays at the door on the night.

Competitors will also compete for the major prize of a $300 gift voucher from Snowgum and a free annual membership at the Melbourne Spikers.

If there are any last-minute entrants looking to register, they can do so by calling Chucky on 0403 001 577.

Lil Kit and Miss Chi Chi will be hosts for the night and clothes come off at 10.30pm. Entry is $10 for all.

Bilbao or Cleveland?

Does this look familiar?

It may look familiar, but it's not the Guggenheim in Bilbao... click on "Read more" to see another view of this building.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

30 April 2011: 1st US National Same-Sex Dance Championships

From the JustOut blog, news of the 1st USA National Same-Sex DanceSport Championship to be held in Oakland, California:

It’s not exactly Dancing with the Stars but… it kinda sounds better, now that we think about it.

Oakland’s Just Dance Ballroom will host the inaugural USA National Championship same-sex ballroom competition authorized by [FGG-member] NASSPDA (North American Same-Sex Partner Dance Association). The ninth annual April Follies has been designated as the first official competition to grant USA national titles.

First-rate hoofers from at least seven states, Canada and Mexico, including 2010 Male and Female Gay Games Medalists, will twirl on April 30 for the event. Competitions will include beginning and intermediate couples, pro-am pairs, as well as seasoned dancers in a variety of international and American style ballroom events, plus social dance styles such as country & western, swing, salsa, and Argentine tango, as well as formation teams.

The evening Showcase of Champions will feature the USA Championship A Grade and Show Dance Finals along with an open social dance for all — following a complimentary (what else?) dance class to introduce first-time dancers to “the joys of same-sex ballroom dance.”

For those interested in making the journey south to Cali, tickets are $15 (daytime events only), $25 (evening event), or $35 for the entire day. Reduced pricing is available if purchased by March 20. Visit aprilfollies.com, or search “April Follies 2011″ on Facebook for more information.

London Gay Men's Chorus sings "It Gets Better"

Here are some videos for the "It Gets Better" project produced by groups from FGG-member GALA Choruses. Here is London Gay Men's Chorus.

Visit our "It Gets Better" page HERE.

London Gay Men's Chorus (part 1):

London Gay Men's Chorus (part 2):

Groundbreaking for new Cleveland Convention Center, venue for several Gay Games IX events

Construction began January 3, 2011 and the facility is expected to open in September, 2013. Upon completion, the Cleveland Medical Mart & Convention Center will include a 100,000 square foot medical mart at the northeast corner of St. Clair Avenue and Ontario Street in downtown Cleveland and an adjoining convention center with 230,000 square feet of exhibit hall space. The facility is also set to include more than 92,000 square feet dedicated to meeting rooms and a Grand Ballroom overlooking a picturesque Lake Erie.

Gay Games IX events currently scheduled for the Convention Center include Badminton, Billiards, Bodybuilding, Darts, Martial Arts, Powerlifting, and Wrestling.

A thought for our friends in Christchurch

Christchurch Cathedral
We ask our friends around the world to spare a moment for the people of Christchurch, New Zealand, following a second major earthquake, and want to share a message posted by Christchurch-native Blake Skjellerup:

The devastation is surreal, but we Cantabrians are like no other. We stand tall and we stand strong. We are one eyed and extremely proud of our city. Todays devastation saddens us all, but we love our city and will revive her back to her beautiful glory.

For those who want to help. Save your pennies and make that trip to New Zealand you have always wanted to do in a year from now. Christchurch is truly an amazing city. Today is its darkest day and my thoughts go out to those who have lost loved ones. Christchurch will need our love and care for years to come.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Chicago Gay Men's Chorus sings "It Gets Better"

Here are some videos for the "It Gets Better" project produced by groups from FGG-member GALA Choruses. First up, the Chicago Gay Men's Chorus.

Visit our "It Gets Better" page HERE.

Chicago Gay Men's Chorus:

San Franciscans win at San Diego wrestling tournament

photo Gene Dermody
Last weekend took place the 2011 San Diego Free Style Wrestling Tournament, hosted by the San Diego Bulldogs. San Francisco's Golden Gate Wrestling Club took top place, followed closely by the Bulldogs and by Los Angeles.

7 July 2012 / GALA Choruses festival in Denver

More info HERE.

Chris Morgan successfully defends British title

News from Gay Games Ambassador Chris Morgan:

Just finished the British 'Single Event' Championships here in Ipswich and successfully defended my British 'Open' title. 200, 230 and 250 kilos in the deadlift and secured the overall best lifter trophy for the second year running. Well done to all lifters taking part and especially those who qualified for this year's internationals.

Congrats to Chris!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Tom Waddell Award re-presented to Sara Waddell Lewinstein

The scene was the opening session of the 25th Annual San Francisco Golden Gate Classic Invitational Bowling Tournament on the night of Friday 18 February. This occasion was chosen to re-present the 2010 Tom Waddell Award to Gay Games co-founder Sara Waddell Lewinstein.

Originally announced in Cologne, Germany at the Opening Ceremony of Gay Games VIII on 31 July 2010, along with the male award to Brent Nicholson Earle, this was the official "home town" presentation of the prestigious award.

2006 Tom Waddell Award winner Derek Liecty, 2010 winner Sara Waddell Lewinstein, an FGG Marketing Officer Doug LItwin
Just before the bowling action began, FGG Marketing Officer Doug Litwin warmed up the crowd by giving the history of the Tom Waddell Award, explaining that it has only been awarded on six occasions since 1990. He then introduced FGG Honorary Life Member Derek Liecty who explained how big an honor it was to receive the Award in 2006 at Chicago's Gay Games VII. Derek then did a masterful job of introducing Sara Waddell Lewinstein.

Sara gave a heart-felt speech indicating her genuine pleasure in having this award finally "coming home" to San Francisco. Supporting Sara during this presentation ceremony were her daughter Jessica Waddell Lewinstein, partner Sandy, and various other friends and family members.

ESPN.com columnist Mary Buckheit says "It Gets Better"

ESPN.com columnist Mary Buckheit has produced this video for the "It Gets Better" project.

Visit our "It Gets Better" page HERE.

New French sports minister maintains commitment to the fight against homophobia in sport

Chantal Jouanno, the new French minister for sport, has just confirmed again her commitment to the program against homophobia in sport launched by her predecessor Rama Yada, and in which FGG-member Fédération sportive gaie et lesbienne has been a key partner.

The video above was made on the occasion of the Minister's recent visit to Le Refuge*, a shelter for homeless gay and lesbian youth (one of the few of its kind in France). In the video, she explains that she visited Le Refuge because the fight against homophobia is an important part of the ministry's mission to combat all forms of discrimination, and that sport is an effective tool for rebuilding ones self-esteem, because in sport, you can always improve and move forward. She said that she believes, alas, that beyond the young people she met at Le Refuge, there are many more who are excluded by those who are supposed to love them, and who remain invisible. She noted that France lags behind other countries in terms of supporting young gays and lesbians facing rejection from their families.

Ms. Jouanno praised the initiative of Rama Yade, and made clear the new rules for French sports clubs: a "semi-conditionality" of public funding. Clubs will not receive public funds unless they contribute to the fight against homophobia.

* Correction: we originally stated that the visit was to the Montpellier shelter, the best known of the centers run by Le Refuge, when in fact the visit was to the Paris shelter.

8-10 Apr 2011; Elaios welcomes all to its annual tournament, the Juegos del Cierzo

The Lesbian, Gay, Transgender and Bisexual Sport Club ELAIOS welcomes you to the Sixth LGTB Tournament, widely known as “Juegos del Cierzo”, that will take place at the city of Zaragoza, in the north-east part of Spain, between Friday 8th and Sunday 10th of April 2010.

As in previous games this year we shall have a Multi-Sport event, the traditional volleyball tournament, a mixed tennis tournament, and a woman´s basketball Tournament.

The programme will include a welcome get together for all athletes, a reception party, as well as refreshments during the tournament itself. A dinner will be organised in a restaurant on Saturday night in the centre of the city. A party will also be held after the dinner, starting at midnight. On Sunday we shall be organising a brunch. we will be informing you of more surprises later on. We hope that a big number of athletes will be participating we promise them unforgettable days in our city in an atmosphere on sport and tolerance.

Registration is open through 28th March 2011 (this is the last day possible for payment of the registration fees).

We are already preparing a wide range of activities which we are sure you will enjoy during your stay in Zaragoza.

More info HERE.

San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band at Chinese New Year celebration

The San Francisco Chinese New Year parade took place yesterday, and the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band was part of the fun! Sue Leonardi gave her all.

It's the "Year of the Rabbit", of course.

News from Sydney Mardi Gras Fair Day

A report from Kate Rowe on the the 2011 Mardi Gras Fair Day:

The Fair took place in a sweltering 36°C and 80% humidity Sunday (20th February) in Sydney. Despite the energy-sapping conditions, the crowds were out in force. This is the most popular of the community events of the Mardi Gras festival outside of the parade.

The Sports Village, hosted by FGG-member Team Sydney, was a popular draw with plenty of booths representing many sports and lots of sports displays. Several clubs, including Freezone Volleyball, offered demonstrations to fairgoers.

Friend of the Gay Games Matthew Mitcham was working hard on the stand of his lead sponsor, telecoms company Telstra.

He made sure to ask me to say "hi!" on his behalf to the Federation and its supporters. Matthew will be one of the official commentators for the Mardi Gras Parade on March 5th.

Wayne Morgan, delegate to the FGG from International Frontrunners, was as always helping out at the Sydney Frontrunners stall along with club stalwarts Steve (aka Miss Dollywood) and Jenny.

As for myself, I caught up with several people who attended the Cologne Gay Games and started the conversation on Gay Games IX, which is already generating a good deal of interest.

Next stop, AsiaPacific Outgames, where I'll be representing the FGG. Make sure to stop by accreditation to say hi and to learn more about the Federation and Gay Games IX.

Find more information about the FGG in Wellington at wellington.gaygames.org.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Justin Fashanu gets Hall of Fame banner in Norwich

From The Pink'Un:

Former Norwich City football star Justin Fashanu has had his hall of fame banner unveiled at Carrow Road just days before what would have been his 50th birthday.

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The move to make a banner for Justin has also been hailed as a victory for campaigners battling to kick homophobia out of football.

Justin, who scored 40 goals for the Canaries - including his famous strike against Liverpool in 1980 - in 103 appearances for the club between 1979 and 1981 had to contend with homophobia, prejudice and discrimination throughout his career. He died in 1998 taking his own life in a garage in Shoreditch, London.

Since his tragic death the Justin Campaign has been set up in his honour to challenge stereotypes and misconceptions that exist around gay men in soccer.

Members of the campaign joined bosses at Norwich City Football Club for yesterday’s unveiling of the banner, which is expected to be installed in time for City’s clash with Doncaster on Tuesday, comes just days before a Football v Homophobia day which will be held on Saturday.

David McNally, chief executive of Norwich City Football Club, said: “Justin is a worthy member of the hall of fame with more than 100 appearances for the club and 40 goals at the highest level and in his day was a real star for the football club.”

Mr McNally said both he and the football club were happy to support the Justin Campaign in its objectives because homophobia had no place in football or at Carrow Road.

Keep reading HERE.

En español: Entrevista en Zaragoza TV sobre homofobia en el fútbol

19 Feb 2011 / En español: Jornada Tenis-Natacion-Futbol para Elaios

Hola deportistas!

El sabado 19 de febrero tendra lugar en el PARQUE DEPORTIVO EBRO la primera jornada conjunta de las secciones de Natación y Tenis. La jornada consistira en un torneo interno de tenis de dia completo (que servirá para subir puestos en la clasificación) cuyas fases previas se jugaran por la mañana.

A partir de las 12:00 vendra gente de la seccion de natacion para hacer sus entrenamientos y ayudar a aquellas personas del torneo de tenis que lo deseen a mejorar su tecnica acuatica mediante juegos en la piscina.

A medido dia tendremos comida de hermandad, y por la tarde se jugaran las finales del torneo y en las pistas libres se dara una clase de iniciacion al tenis a los miembros de natacion que asi lo deseen.

Para terminar, iremos a apoyar a la seccion de futbol en su triangular del dia de la homofobia y los que aun podamos con nuestra alma iremos a cenar y salir.

Por favor, si te apetece unirte a esta actividad, ponte en contacto con la seccion de natacion (natacion@elaios.org) ocon la de tenis(tenis@elaios.org)

Desde el pasado año 2010, el 19 de febrero se conmemora la lucha contra la homofobia en el fútbol. Esta fecha se corresponde con el día de nacimiento de Justin Fashanu, primer y único futbolista relevante que hizo pública su homosexualidad. Para colaborar con la lucha por erradicar la homofobia del fútbol surgió la "Justin Campaign" (http://www.thejustincampaign.com/).

Elaios, por iniciativa de su sección de Fútbol y con el respaldo del Consejo de Gobierno, convoca el primer TORNEO AMISTOSO CONTRA LA HOMOFOBIA EN EL FÚTBOL en el que participarán equipos invitados y el combinado de Elaios. El evento tendrá lugar el día 19 de febrero a las 19:30 horas en el Pabellón Deportivo "Ciudad de Zaragoza" (C/Ntra.Sra.del Salz), en el barrio de Delicias.

Esperamos contar con tu presencia y todo tu apoyo en esta causa!

Ian Roberts on coming out

The Australian interviews former rugby league player Ian Roberts on why gay footballers are still afraid to come out of the closet.

Last year Jason Akermanis warned gay players in the AFL to remain in the closet, saying an openly gay player could "break the fabric of a club.”
That’s absolute bullshit. It really underestimates the intelligence and understanding of people. I am still involved with footy – at arm’s length. I’m still involved with Souths [rugby league] club and in the 20 years since I played with the Rabbitohs I’ve never felt any serious sense of homophobia. That’s rugby league – and I can’t believe the AFL would be much different. The younger AFL players today would be more tolerant than when I was on the field. Break the fabric of a club? He can’t be serious. Who does Akermanis think he is talking to?

Akermanis brought up the issue of players being uncomfortable in the showers and locker rooms with a gay teammate.
(Laughing.) Don’t flatter youself, Aker! That’s all in your own head, man. It was well known in rugby league circles I was gay, long before I came out. Most of my teammates knew I was gay as far back as when I was playing with Souths. The whole locker room thing wasn’t a problem, and nobody behaved any differently to me than any other player. Gareth Thomas [former Wales rugby captain, who came out last year] described how accepting all his teammates were towards him. Not one had a problem with his being gay. And they didn’t start treating him differently once they knew. Every gay sports person should get up and say something if this kind of stupidity is ever raised again. It’s offensive.

Keep reading HERE.

FOOTBALL V HOMOPHOBIA: Today is the International Day Against Homophobia in Football

Find the calendar of events for today and following days HERE.

Among the events is a match held by FGG-member Elaios:

Friday, February 18, 2011

Short film "One on One"

This film reminds us of "Basket et maths", a short film produced by Canal Plus and the French ministry of health and sport:

Gay Games VIII a tourist magnet, helping Cologne set a new record for hotel guests

From the Koelner Stadt Anzeiger:

Cologne hotels hosted approximately 2.6m  guests in 2010, beating the previous record. Hoteliers noted a higher percentage of foreign guests, due to "guest magnets" which included the Ice Hockey World Championships and Gay Games VIII.

Auf Deutsch: Nach Köln – wegen der Passionsspiele

Von Koelner Stadt Anzeiger:

Rund 2,6 Millionen Hotelgäste kamen 2010 nach Köln – das sind mehr als im Rekordjahr 2007. Insbesondere ausländische Gäste besuchten die Stadt häufiger. Dazu beigetragen haben auch „Gästemagnete“ wie die Eishockey-WM und die Photokina.

KÖLN - Der Tourismus in Köln hat eine Rekordmarke erreicht. Nach einer leichten Flautewegen der globalen Wirtschaftskrise übertrifft das Jahresergebnis 2010 sogar das Rekordjahr 2007. Rund 2,6 Millionen Hotelgäste kamen nach Köln und brachten es zusammen auf 4,57 Millionen Übernachtungen. Im Vergleich zum Vorjahr bedeutet das eine Steigerung um 10,7 Prozent. Josef Sommer, Geschäftsführer von Köln-Tourismus, stellte die Zahlen am Donnerstag vor.

Auffallend stark ist der Zuwachs an ausländischen Gästen. Allerdings stellen die Besucher aus Deutschland mit mehr als drei Millionen Übernachtungen nach wie vor die Mehrheit. Elisabeth Thelen, Vorsitzende des Aufsichtsrates von Köln-Tourismus, begrüßte die „Internationalisierung des Besucheraufkommens“ . Entscheidend dazu beigetragen hätten „Gästemagnete“ wie die Eishockey-WM, die Gay Games und die Photokina.