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.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Hudson Taylor on the power of internet to multiply positive actions

Athlete Ally's Hudson Taylor has a great post on the Our Group blog on the power of internet and social networking to fight homophobia in sport:

Nearly one year ago, I was featured in an Outsports article as the heterosexual college wrestler who wore Human Rights Campaign stickers on his uniform to show solidarity with the LGBTQ community. That article generated thousands of emails, messages and posts around the world, all commending me for taking a public stance in my capacity as an athlete to support equality, respect and dignity for all. These correspondences were – and still are – indescribably inspiring. They comprise one of the most important parts of my life. Every day, I wake up to a new message or email and look at myself differently in the mirror. I wake up with a profound respect for the impact that the actions of all athletes and coaches can have on others.

I can’t help but realize: if these amazing messages are responses to the single deed of an athlete in a non-revenue-generating sport like wrestling, imagine the kind of effect that similar acts by all athletes – professional, amateur, college, high school, retired etc. – could have on American culture.

That is not to say that every basketball player in the country needs to put an HRC sticker on his or her uniform (though I would love that!). But surely, he or she could “like” education and safety-based organizations, like Our Group, GLSEN or the Trevor Project, on Facebook. Surely, he or she could tweet about ending the use of homophobic language in locker rooms or appear in Youtube public service announcements on the importance of creating inclusive sports cultures.

Keep reading HERE.


Hey Cabron! said...

we need real gay people to actually support each other too...enough of all the straight activism. And wrestling? What exactly does a straight wrestler who is pretty much the epitome of what gay men want physically know about the woes of the gay athlete.

Unknown said...

Hudson’s effectiveness (like that of many other elite athletes/coaches/officials) is not to be underestimated. It is not just understanding the incredible stress the sport puts on any wrestler nevermind a Gay wrestler, it is the politics, the mainstream connections.

Those of us in the in the trenches of high schools, universities, and open clubs know exactly what I mean. It is one thing to have the support of say a Lady Gaga who never gets on the mat. It is far more effective to have the support of an elite athlete like Hudson who understands exactly the stress/pressures of the sport we so love.

Without the past contributions of STR8 luminaries like e.g.. FILA’s Abrams ‘Alex’ Ostrovskiy, or CA-USAW’s Rudy Guevara, or SFSU’s AD Alan Abraham, etc… right through to Hudson, to talk to the right people at the right time, and put the political pressure on, we would -still- be lurking in the shadows, denying opportunity to wrestlers in our community.

This mainstream ‘sports connection’ was the most important consequence of 1982 GayGames I San Francisco, a feat that no Pride march or human rights conference then or since could have ever accomplished talking in their ‘victim echo chambers’.

E.g.. Wrestlers WithOut Borders just finished its 30th year with a LasVegas tournament this month, which also honored past wrestlers. We have spent 3 decades organizing clubs, training wrestlers, supporting coaches, and broadening the appeal, and access of wrestling to all. We are even now openly coaching a high school, and running a kids program (8-10 year olds) in San Francisco!

But just when you think you are winning the war on homophobia, it rears its ugly head, even if mindless/accidental/unintentional. Once again we had to call in our STR8 connections/allies at the top of USA Wrestling to be treated fairly by NV to get insurance/officials, something we have had to do many times over the years. Ok, we had never done anything in NV before, so it was totally understandable, and so we did not overreact and go into victim/entitlement mode.

It is one thing to have ‘rights’ on paper, it is another to get the mainstream sanctioning organizations to proactively cooperate with you. There was no drama, a phone call, and problem solved, and NV was added to the list of states/countries that have worked with us openly, directly, and have respected our legitimacy (NY, IL, CA, WA, Canada, Sydney, Koeln, etc..). The officials loved us and our tournament (as usual, as expected!). The incident reminds me of 1998 GayGames V in ‘open minded’ Amsterdam where we had to force the issue of support with the city and national government. But once they came and met us, they loved us, and even came to our post tournament party. I actually did an exhibition GRECO at the party with their STR8 president who totally was blown away by our professionalism. Today one of those Gay Dutch wrestlers is president of that national Dutch wrestling body.

Wrestling is just too small a sport to permit these illogical counterproductive limits: ageism, elitism, homophobia, gender, style, etc.. But it sadly does point up that we still have always to be very vigilant and ‘do it better’. Until we have fully achieved the right to be ‘boring and mediocre’, alas we will have to rely on outside help like Hudson’s, and it is -VERY- appreciated.

Today there are countless openly OUT athletes, coaches, and officials who still understand that they have the extra burden of not only succeeding in their sport, but also being a ‘community role model’ like a Jackie Robinson. Two years ago we had an open OUT TG wrestler (Donna Rose) compete and place at the ASICS Open in Cleveland and go on to win a Beach Wrestling title last year. This year we will an open OUT WWB wrestler at the Olympic Trials, another significant symbolic step.

I am very grateful to the courageous STR8 allies like Hudson who run real interference for us (with more than just PC lip service) so we can continue the real work on the mats.