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.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Outsports top-100 moments in LGBT sports history: numbers 71-80

Here's a reminder of the second ten stories in the Outsports series:

Over the rest of the summer we will release our list of the 100 most important moments in gay-sports history. We have focused on specific moments, whether they be a few minutes or a day, that have shaped the course of our history; Many of the faces of those moments will be familiar to our readers.

We focused on what we consider to be the “gay-sports movement.” There were certainly amazing gay and lesbian athletes before the Stonewall riots in 1969, but there wasn’t a push for gay equality in sports until after that fateful day in New York City. Our moments range from July 1, 1969 to July 1, 2011.

71) Anton Hysen comes out/ 2011 / soccer
72) Sean Avery leads New York gay marriage charge / 2011 / hockey
73) Steven Davis is first international cricketer to come out / 2011 / cricket
74) Irish hurling star Donal Óg Cusack comes out / 2009 / hurling
75) ‘Take Me Out’ hits Broadway / 2003 / baseball
76) San Francisco Giants say ‘It Gets Better’ / 2011 / baseball
77) First Trans Student-Athlete think tank / 2009 / various sports
78) NAGAAA sued over straight-athlete limit / 2010 / softball
79) Canadian Olympian Mark Tewksbury comes out / 1998 / swimming
80) Sherri Murrell is first out Div. 1 basketball coach / 2009 / basketball

These are all important stories, and we recommend that you visit Outsports to learn more about each of them.

Baltimore Orioles say "It Gets Better"

The Baltimore Orioles are the latest baseball team to put out a video for the "It Gets Better" project. They've done a good job: short but sweet!

Read more about the creation of this video on Outsports HERE.

And visit our "It Gets Better" page HERE.

Documentary on lesbian Burmese-American pro basketball player premieres at Outfest

From GLAAD (h/t Wide Rights):

No Look Pass, a new film depicting the coming of age story of Emily “E-Tay” Tay, a lesbian, Burmese American professional basketball star who hails from Los Angeles, premiered to a sold out audience at L.A.’s Outfest on July 9. The film’s success led to a second screening that also sold out, and ultimately garnered the festival’s Special Programming Award for Freedom.

Learn more HERE and view the trailer below:

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Blake Skjellerup takes gold at Vancouver Outgames

Congrats to new Gay Games Ambassador Blake Skjellerup who just earned a gold medal in the mens 20-29 division in the 10k run. Lots more events await at Gay Games 9 in 2014!

17 September 2011 / Contribute your photo for "Gay Day" in Northeast Ohio

A message from Vision Video for everybody in Northeast Ohio (and maybe those who plan on coming there for Gay Games 9?):

Cleveland + Akron, and all of Ohio, Vision Video is calling September 17th "One Gay Day in Ohio" - Here's what we need for you to do... You don’t need to be a professional photographer. Just mark your calendars, and now and between on September 11th take a self-portrait or have a friend photograph you or your family or friends, doing anything that says something about who you are as a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender person in Ohio. Then on September 17th we will premiere the video on YouTube for the entire world to see!

We want to see every aspect of gay life, from the mundane to the insane, from the glamorous to the gritty, whether you’re on an adventure or experiencing a quiet moment of solace.

Then submit your photos to our email address: visionvideo@sbcglobal.net

And we don't want to leave our "straight" alliance friends out... show us your pride and submit a photo that has a LGBT representation behind or in front of you! Let's see how creative you can become!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Flashback to Gay Games VII: Opening ceremony at Soldier Field

Five years ago this month Gay Games VII took place in Chicago. We've just discovered this slide show of photos from opening ceremony. The person who posted this video wrote:

2006 Gay Games Opening Ceremonies, Soldier Field, Chicago. I was in the stands and took a bunch of photographs. I then assembled them as a little slide show accompanied by two of the songs that were performed during the ceremony. These are the studio recordings, not the live performances, but both of the original artists, Andy Bell and Heather Small performed these songs at the event. Hope it brings back some memories for those who were there.

The Federation again thanks the staff and volunteers of Chicago Games Inc. for these Games "Where the World Met"...

Deadline 31 July!!! Student athlete scholarship available:

The Gene & John Athletic Fund Scholarship at the Stonewall Community Foundation awards one scholarship to a deserving college age LGBTQ athlete per year. Deadline for applying is July 31, 2011 and scholarships range from $2500-$5000. The link for the scholarship is HERE.

More about the foundation HERE.

The Nation: Sports is "America's Deepest Closet"

The Nation takes a look at homosexuals in sport. It's an interesting review by Sherry Wolf, well worth reading:

Last fall, Kye Allums, a George Washington University basketball player, made the courageous decision to come out as transgender. As Allums awaits surgery to transition from the female body he was born with, he is making history as the first publicly transgender athlete to play Division I women’s basketball. The response from coaches and teammates was best summed up by the South Florida Gay News’s headline: Kye Allums Is Trans; World Does Not End.

But is this story of tolerance a singular exception or another sign that the sports world is becoming friendlier to LGBT athletes? Of the approximately 3,500 men who play in the big four American sports—football, baseball, basketball and hockey—not one has come out of the closet while playing professionally. Of the 350 women’s Division I basketball teams in the NCAA, Portland State’s Sherri Murrell is the first and only coach to come out as a lesbian (the “no lesbians” edict in college basketball is the subject of a powerful documentary, Training Rules).

A majority of Americans accept gay and lesbian relations. Antidiscrimination and marriage laws are slowly catching up to social consciousness. So why does the world of sports, such a dominant part of our culture, remain fiercely hostile to open participation by LGBT people?

Keep reading HERE.

One year out, Matthew Mitcham on lists of athletes to watch at London Olympics

New Gay Games Ambassador Matthew Mitcham will be looking to defend his Olympic gold in just one year in London at the 2012 Summer Olympics. Sports Illustrated lists him as one of their 50 athletes to watch for:

Matthew Mitcham
Australia -- Diving
In 2008, Mitcham became the first Australian male to win an Olympic gold medal in diving since 1924. He dominated the 10-meter platform, finishing with the highest single-dive score in Olympic history. The 23-year-old Mitcham is one of a handful of openly gay athletes competing in the Olympics, though he missed the recent World Championships due to an abdominal injury.

News about Ben Cohen's "Stand Up" project

StandUp Website and T Shirt Pre-Orders.

Thank you to everyone for being so patient in the wait for the Ben Cohen StandUp T Shirts. The waiting is almost over and we will be ready to accept pre-orders on Wednesday 3rd August as the new StandUp site goes live.

Lots of people are asking us how they can get involved with the Foundation. One way is to buy a T Shirt, the profits of which go into the Foundation to support organisations who are already combating bullying in the UK and the USA. As our foundation grows and develops we will be expanding into different countries around the globe.

The site will also have the details of our StandUp Network of partners and the organisations we are currently starting to work with.

The T Shirts are currently under production and will be ready in a few weeks time. However, they will be available to pre-order from:

Wednesday 3rd August.
12noon EST time in the USA - 5pm GMT in the UK.

We will be able to ship all over the world.

As a special offer for our first customers we are offering

a free StandUp Wristband with the first 500 T shirts sold and
a signed Ben Cohen A4 picture for the first 100 orders received.
There will also be a competition during the first week for one lucky winner who will have an extra T Shirt in his or her parcel, signed by Ben.

Thanks again for Standing Up. It means a huge amount to Ben and the gang.

The Ben Cohen StandUp Team

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

From Gay Games III to the 2nd North American Outgames, a roadracing love story

From an article in the Vancouver Courier on couples who practice sport together, a lovely Gay Games love story:

During his first visit to Vancouver 21 years ago, Tom Sater took a wrong turn on his way to Burnaby and was late to cheer on a new romantic flame in a 10-kilometre track event.

Although Sater arrived after the end of the race, it was one of the last they would ever run without the other. "I don't know that we've done a race that we didn't do together. It was love at first sight," Sater said of Trevor Tang, his lifelong running partner and husband. "Running was really one of the things that was important to both of us."

"It's a constant in our relationship," added Tang. "We've been running for the past 21 years together."

Training for middle-distance road races is a lifestyle commitment that requires time and mental dedication. Resentment can build on both sides of a partnership if one spouse doesn't feel supported in their pursuit or the other feels left behind in the dust because they don't run.

Counter to that, running is social. Jogging silently is still time spent in each other's company. Groups of runners gather regularly to pound the pavement and in some clubs, like Frontrunners of which Sater and Tang are members, like-minded joggers inevitably form friendships and members often introduce their life partners to the sport.


Sater, 59, and Tang, 44, are both designers, but apply their trade in different fields. The pair are sweet-tempered, fit and each wears braces.

They met in 1990 when Vancouver hosted the Gay Games, but they were both living near San Jose, CA. If each is the other's love of his life, Vancouver is the setting for their romance. They moved here three years ago and in July this year, became permanent residents of Canada. Vancouver is their home.

"It was such a pivotal point in our lives. We met here and I guess the fact that we fell in love here made the city just seem so much more beautiful," said Sater.

They married in California--twice--because of constitutional and legal constraints on same-sex rights in that state.

They will compete in the 10k this weekend at the Vancouver Outgames, an international sporting event for gay and lesbian athletes and the friends and family who support them.

Tang is the faster racer but they train together, circling Stanley Park and returning along the water's edge to their home near Rogers Arena. "Definitely we have different paces but we do motivate each other," said Sater. "Some days I'm not at my best so he'll push me and there are days when I'll encourage him and tease him as we run along the seawall."

Read in full HERE.

Perfect review of Gay Games VIII documentary "Gais Gay Games"

We're great fans here of Francoise Romand's charming documentary Gais Gay Games, filmed last summer during Gay Games VIII in Cologne. Here is GayCelluloid.com's take on it:

A short film by Françoise Romand
2011 | 30 mins | France
Gais Gay Games; the magic of the Gay Games, 2010.
**** Four stars

Founded in 1982 in San Francisco as the Gay Olympics, here French director Françoise Romand of Appelez-moi Madame / Call Me Madame fame vividly captures the magic of the Gay Games as staged in Cologne, Germany in 2010.

Shot fly on the wall fashion, Romand wisely allows her cameras to do the talking, as candid comments from the participants mix with footage from the games itself. For be it football, swimming, table tennis, wall climbing to the celebrated track and field events; you name it, these men and women are doing it, making the Gay Games the world's largest sporting and cultural event organized by and specifically targeted for LGBT athletes.

Sure, serious contenders with zero body fat vie with each other for the prized bronze, silver and gold medal positions. Yet what comes across strongly is the sheer joy that both the competitors and the spectators are having. For here, it is the "taking part" that is more important than winning, as the loudest applause is always reserved for those who put in the greatest effort, regardless of their place on or off the podium.

And yet if there is fault to be found here, it is simply that this engrossing work is too short, given there is so much going on. From footage of the events themselves, including all the glitz 'n' glam of the ballroom dancing, to a series of intimate life stories that perfectly reflect what the Gay Games is truly about. For behind the competition lies the fact that people of all ages, abilities, sexualities and countries are brought together, in the name of sport.

All of which makes the Gay Games that special event. For with over 10,000 gay men and women present, many find here the sexual freedom missing from their everyday lives and not just from countries where homosexuality remains illegal, but from those who and as Romand poignantly illustrates, in the land of the free still live in fear of homophobia and career suicide, if found to be taking pride in their sexuality. At ease to exchange experiences, swap email addresses and catch up with friends last seen four years ago, the Gay Games is open to participants of every sexual orientation and skill level, as this insightful documentary wonderfully demonstrates. Roll on Cleveland, Ohio, 2014.

Friends of the Gay Games can receive the DVD Gais Gay Games, available with French, German, and English substitles, for just 10 euros (shipping included in the EU) by PayPal to romandeco@free.fr. Make sure to provide your shipping address.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Matthew Mitcham and Blake Skjellerup will be latest Gay Games Ambassadors

Federation of Gay Games announces two new Gay Games Ambassadors
Olympic diver Matthew Mitcham and Olympic speed skater Blake Skjellerup join group of leading athletes, artists and activists to support the LGBT sport movement

The international Federation of Gay Games is pleased to announce that Matthew Mitcham and Blake Skjellerup will be joining athletes such as David Kopay, John Amaechi, and Greg Louganis as Gay Games Ambassadors.

The role of Gay Games Ambassadors is to support the Gay Games, the largest international sporting event open to all, and the Federation’s work to develop the lesbian, gay, bi and trans sports movement, to combat homophobia in and by sport, and to promote the FGG’s message of Participation, Inclusion, and Personal Best ™.

Matthew Mitcham and Blake Skjellerup join Australians Michelle Ferris, an Olympic cyclist, and Ji Wallace, an Olympic trampoline competitor as Gay Games Ambassadors from the Asia-Pacific region.

Australian Matthew Mitcham shot to fame by winning a gold medal at the Beijing Olympics, shortly after coming out. Last year he joined the 10,000 athletes and artists participating in Gay Games VIII, where he read the athletes’ oath at opening ceremony in Cologne’s RheinEnergie Stadium. Matthew also participated in a number of events in Cologne, in particular the International Rainbow Memorial Run for victims of AIDS and other illnesses, and met participants at various venues, including the Gay Games Scholarship reception.

Christchurch, New Zealand’s Blake Skjellerup came out shortly after the Vancouver Olympics, where he had competed in short track speed skating. Blake has spent his off-season in New Zealand working on anti-bullying efforts, including the Pink Shirt letter-writing campaign, which led to a meeting on the issue with the country’s prime minister. He then went on a speaking tour of schools throughout the country.

Federation co-president Kurt Dahl (Chicago) expressed the pleasure of the FGG at the support of Matthew and Blake: “We’re are very grateful that both of these young men have decided to commit to the work of Gay Games Ambassadors. We recognize that for athletes at the peak of their competitive career, commitments must be made with care. Each has taken their time to join us, and know that this means that they are fully invested in supporting the next Gay Games, which will be held in Cleveland and Akron, Ohio in 2014.”

Female co-president Emy Ritt (Paris) added: “Matthew and Michelle Ferris both attended the eighth edition of the Gay Games last year in Cologne, Germany, where they saw first hand the life-changing power of this event which brings athletes from around the world together in a celebration of sport and culture in a safe and welcoming environment. And beyond this event, all of our Ambassadors understand our mission to promote the fundamental human right to practice sport and culture free from violence and discrimination.”

For more information on Gay Games Ambassadors, write to ambassadors@gaygames.org .

Caroline Symons wins national sports history award for her book on the history of the Gay Games

We are delighted to note this new award for our friend Caroline Symons, who won the Federation of Gay Games Legacy Award for Academic Scholarship and Research in 2009. ere is the Moonee Valley Weekly story on Caroline's latest recognition:

Kensington resident and Victoria University researcher Dr Caroline Symons has won this year's Australian Society for Sports History book award for her history of the Gay Games.

Dr Symons, a historian and sociologist who lectures in sports sociology and event management, said it was a great honour for her, and gay, lesbian, transgender and intersex communities

The historical analysis of the Games started out as Dr Symons's PhD thesis in 1996, but it continued to grow.

Dr Symons said she was "coming out" at the time she wrote her PhD thesis so the process of writing and publishing the book had been important personally.

"I've had tremendous feedback from participants and organisers of this event that celebrates the social aspects of GLBTI culture as well as sporting performance.

"One of my motives in writing the book was to acknowledge and celebrate the inclusiveness of the diverse queer community.

''Another objective was to raise awareness of gay and lesbian sport among mainstream readers."

Dr Symons led the first Australian study on homophobia in sport, Come Out To Play, which was sponsored by VicHealth and was last year endorsed by the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission.

It found that despite recent improvements, there is still widespread homophobia in club sport. The report called for awareness programs for sporting codes and clubs to promote an inclusive and welcoming culture.

The citation for the award states that the Australian Society chose to honour the book because it was a "meticulously researched and sophisticated social history" that promoted the "centrality, as opposed to the marginality of gay, lesbian and transgendered people in global sport".

It continued: "The committee considers The Gay Games: A History an engaging narrative that reveals both the lived experiences and personal stories of individuals, groups and communities".

Blake Skjellerup to open Vancouver Outgames human rights conference

In a few hours, our friend Blake Skjellerup will be the opening keynote speaker at the human rights conference held at the 2nd North American Outgames in Vancouver. The Vancouver Sun takes this opportunity to look at Blake's previous experience in Vancouver, at the 2010 Olympics.

Vancouver’s community at large, gay and straight, is ahead of the curve, and has much to be proud of, believes Olympic speed skater Blake Skjellerup.

Skjellerup credits Vancouver for helping him find the courage to open up about his sexuality. Skjellerup, 26, said he was still maintaining a non-gay public identity when he competed for New Zealand in the 2010 Olympics.

For years he had struggled, first to come to terms with his sexuality and then to balance his speed-skating ambitions with the risks of coming out: what if he lost the opportunities that he had worked his entire life for? No major gay athlete playing on a professional team has ever come out while still on the team — it’s a huge cultural barrier yet to be overcome.

While Skjellerup was here in 2010, he visited Pride House in Whistler. Pride House was an Olympic first, a place for gay athletes, coaches, friends and participants to gather and socialize. When he was off-ice, he felt free to wander hand-in-hand with his boyfriend, even to occasionally steal a kiss.

It felt fantastic. Not only that: it was safe. No one looked twice.

Skjellerup came out to his family, teammates and the public earlier this year. He said in an interview from Australia, “It felt amazing. I’ve become very confident and proud of who I am.”

Read more HERE.

From Gay Games III to 2nd North American Outgames, the power to change communities

We found this section of an article in the Vancouver Courier about the start of the 2nd North American Outgames in Vancouver an interesting look at the power of the Gay Games to change a community. Vancouver in 2011 is not Vancouver in 1990, and the Gay Games were a big part of that change for the better.

While the event is expected to draw athletes and tourists from around the world, the fact the North America Outgames is considered almost mainstream in Vancouver speaks volumes about the state of politics and society in our city today.

Vancouver in 2011 is a much different city than the one that hosted the Gay Games in 1990, an event that saw protesters from a conservative church in the Fraser Valley take out full-page ads in the Vancouver Sun and Province newspapers warning of the impending sodomite invasion and asking people to gather at Empire Stadium to pray the games be stopped. And while the Social Credit provincial government under then-premier Bill Vander Zalm refused to help fund the event, the current B.C. Liberal government contributed $75,000 towards the sports events and $81,000 for the human rights conference for the Vancouver Outgames 2011. The rest of the $1.25 million budget was paid for by a combination of athletic registration, corporate sponsorship, donations and ticket sales.

Ron Dutton, who houses the B.C. Gay and Lesbian Archives in his West End home, says while the Outgames will likely be a success as a celebration of sport, he believes it won’t have the same political and social implications as the 1990 Gay Games. “It’s 20 years later and time has moved on and the community has matured,” says Dutton. “The impact the Gay Games had socially and politically was astounding, but now things are a little more mainstream so I don’t see that happening, but who knows. We’ll have to wait and see.”

Read in full: HERE.

Monday, July 25, 2011

ILGA regains United Nations status

The Federation of Gay Games is proud to be a member of ILGA, and is delighted that the organization has regained is consultative status on the United Nations Economic and Social Council. The FGG is pursuing this status itself, but as can be seen in the press release below, this is a very difficult process, in large part due to the strong opposition of homophobic regimes.

With 30 votes in favour (India, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Malta, Mexico, Mongolia, Nicaragua, Norway, Peru, Republic of Korea, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Venezuela, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary), 13 against (Iraq, Morocco, Namibia, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Bangladesh, Cameroon, China, Egypt, Ghana) and 6 abstentions (Guatemala, Mauritius, Philipines, Rwanda, Bahamas, Ivory Coast), the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) granted today consultative status to the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA). ECOSOC consultative status allows NGOs to attend UN conferences and meetings, submit written statements and reports, make oral interventions, and host panels in UN buildings, thus representing a fundamental tool for an NGO like ILGA – with more than 750 member organisations in all continents – to do work on LGBTI human rights within the UN system.

ILGA was the first international LGBTI organisation to get ECOSOC consultative status in 1993, but lost it the following year due to the presence of groups advocating the abolition of laws of consent. ILGA has applied to regain the status ever since, following the expulsion of the above mentioned groups from its membership and after amending its constitution to state clearly its commitment against child abuse, but a small group of countries sponsoring homophobia had been able to influence the votes in the UN NGO Committee examining the applications for a long time. In the meantime, many ILGA members – like LBL Denmark, COC The Netherlands, FELGT Spain, LSVD Germany, ABGLT Brazil, IGLHRC US, and Ilga-Europe – were able to obtain the status by having the negative recommendation of the NGO Committee overturned in the ECOSOC Council, as it has happened in the case of ILGA today.

"This is a historic day for our organisation, which heals a 17-year-old wound – said co-Secretary General Renato Sabbadini, in Geneva for the occasion – and we want to thank all, really all UN Members who voted in our favour, they all deserve indeed to be named fully: India, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Malta, Mexico, Mongolia, Nicaragua, Norway, Peru, Republic of Korea, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Venezuela, Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Ecuador, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary.

A special thanks goes to Belgium, for its relentless efforts in building a consensus around us, together with the United States and Argentina. We would like to thank also our member organisations which successfully lobbied their Governments on this occasion and all our allies for their support, in particular Arc-International in Geneva."

"Today we are celebrating – said co-Secretary General Gloria Careaga from Mexico City – but we are aware that there is a lot of work to do for us in the coming months. We are looking forward to working together with all our members, particularly those which also have the status, and our allies to advance LGBTI human rights in the UN bodies in the coming years, taking advantage of the very positive developments opened by the resolution presented by South Africa in the UN Human Rights Council last June."

Pedro Paradiso Sottile, Regional Secretary for ILGA LAC (Latin America and the Caribbean), also in Geneva for the occasion, said: "Granting ILGA consultative status is an act of justice and a reason for pride for the international community working for a world where human rights are truly respected without any discrimination. Our voices and our struggle for equality and freedom must reach every corner of the world, for differences in sexual orientation, gender identity and expression to be respected and protected by all States. We believe that the ECOSOC status will help all our activists around the world in this endeavour.”

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Cologne athletes at Eurogames ask you to vote for Gay Games VIII in SportsTravel Award

We've had the pleasure of seeing many athletes from SC Janus here in Rotterdam for Eurogames 2011. SC Janus is the FGG member organization in Cologne and were at the heart of the bid for Cologne to host Gay Games VIII last year. They were very excited and pleased to see Gay Games VIII nominated for these awards, and are hoping you will vote early and often for Gay Games VIII as the best multisport event of the year.

Gay Games VIII has been nominated for a SportsTravel Award in the category "Best Multi-Sport or Multi-Discipline Event". Here is the list of events nominated:

2010 AAU Junior Olympics, Hampton Roads, VA
2010 Gay Games VIII, Cologne, Germany
2010 IAAF World Junior Track-and-Field Championships, Moncton, NB
2011 National Senior Games, Houston, TX
2011 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, Greensboro, NC
2011 USA Gymnastics AT&T American Cup, Jacksonville, FL

Gay Games VIII is also nominated as best overall event of the year, so please vote in that final category, too.

Gay Games VIII is the only non-North American event nominated, along with the inaugural 2010 Youth Olympic Games in Singapore.

This nomination is due in large part to your support in proposing Gay Games VIII for this award, so we're hoping that you'll follow through by voting for Gay Games VIII in the final ballot.

Please vote for Gay Games VIII HERE, and spread the word!

Also note that the 2011 NCAA Women's Gymnastics Championships, Cleveland, OH is up for an award in the Collegiate category.

Outsports top-100 moments in LGBT sports history: the second ten

Here's a reminder of the second ten stories in the Outsports series:

Over the rest of the summer we will release our list of the 100 most important moments in gay-sports history. We have focused on specific moments, whether they be a few minutes or a day, that have shaped the course of our history; Many of the faces of those moments will be familiar to our readers.

We focused on what we consider to be the “gay-sports movement.” There were certainly amazing gay and lesbian athletes before the Stonewall riots in 1969, but there wasn’t a push for gay equality in sports until after that fateful day in New York City. Our moments range from July 1, 1969 to July 1, 2011.

81) Brendan Burke comes out / 2009 / hockey
82) Gay and Lesbian Athletics Foundation conference / 2003 / various sports
83) Greg Congdon outed / 1998 / football
84) Lesbian couple ejected from Dodgers Stadium for kissing / 2000 / baseball
85) First EuroGames held / 1992 / various sports
86) Former NFL player Roy Simmons comes out on ‘Donahue’ / 1992 / football
87) Jen Harris sues Penn State / 2005 / basketball
88) Nong Toom wins first competitive match / 1998 / kickboxing
89) Washington becomes first state to adopt trans high school athlete policy / 2008 / various sports
90) Mike Muska named athletic director at Oberlin College / 1998 / various sports

These are all important stories, and we recommend that you visit Outsports to learn more about each of them.

A look back at Gay Games VIII via Living In the Queer Times: Dawn Keltner

Living In the Queer Times covered the preparation of athletes and artists for Gay Games VIII last summer, as well as the Games themselves. As we approach the first anniversary of Gay Games VIII, we'll be posting snippets from these articles.

The Road to Cologne: Stories From The Athletes | Dawn Keltner

live in Las Vegas, Nevada. I am 49 years old and I started playing racquetball in 2005. Through a local gay magazine, I found an advertisement for the Chicago games. I signed up to play, even though I was a novice. It was a great experience and I met a lot of wonderful people. I played singles and doubles, taking GOLD in the team event. I learned a lot and did OK but not like I play now. I was fourth in the women’s tournament in Washington D.C. this year. Well, any way, since I had such a good time, I planned not knowing what event I would be able to do, since there is no racquetball in the Germany games.

Keep reading HERE.

Hudson Taylor in Out Magazine

The latest issue of Out Magazine features Michael Irvin, along with other allies, including Hudson Taylor:

Former college wrestler Hudson Taylor fights homophobia in sports.
By Cyd Zeigler

While religion pervades the households of many Americans, Hudson Taylor experienced it on quite a different level. His great-great-great grandfather, James Hudson Taylor, was a Christian missionary in 19th-century China. Historians say he was responsible for the conversion of more Christians than anyone since the apostle Paul.

Now Taylor is on a conversion mission of his own

Read more HERE.

Friday, July 22, 2011

FGG sends its condolences to our Norwegian friends

Following the horrific attacks in Norway on Saturday 22 July, the FGG sends its heartfelt condolences to our Norwegian friends, some of whom are with us this weekend in Rotterdam at the 2011 Eurogames.

A gay woman tells why she came to Cleveland, and why she chose to stay

Christen Duvernay tells her story of moving to Cleveland... and deciding to stay, on FreshwaterCleveland.com.

It's been several years since I relocated from Florida to Cleveland, but I still vividly recall the confused expressions on the faces of those I eagerly informed of my decision. Sure, the winters here can be frigidly uninviting, but practically every other facet of life has been nothing short of warm and welcoming. As a lesbian, that was the most surprising -- and pleasant -- part of my relocation experience.

Truth is, I was hesitant to claim myself a queer in the Midwest, and especially in Ohio, which earned a reputation for its lack of acceptance. Upon arrival I recall wondering if and where the LGBT community existed in Cleveland. What I soon discovered was a gay oasis on the North Coast, where I could walk hand in hand with my significant other through Ohio City, Lakewood, Tremont and Cleveland Heights without unease.

Browns Town to Queersville

Despite its Midwest setting, the LGBT-plus community here has a rich history that has landed Cleveland on the gay-friendly map more than once. The LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland was established in 1975 -- as the third in the nation -- shortly after homosexuality was no longer considered a mental illness. In 2007, the PRIDE Clinic, Ohio's only LGBT health center and one of just a dozen in the US, opened its doors. Each June for the last 23 years, rainbow flags, floats and streamers have danced through town as tens of thousands of us and our allies celebrate Pride.

In addition to progressive strides in local organizations, the City of Cleveland has continually demonstrated its acceptance of the community. In 2008, city council voted to pass a domestic partnership registry that recognizes same and opposite sex couples. The following year brought legislation that added gender identity/expression to the non-discrimination policy for people living or working in the city. In 2010, the Transgender Pride flag was flown over City Hall on Transgender Day of Remembrance, which honors those killed as a result of transphobia. In 2014, Cleveland will host the Gay Games, both an honor and a tribute to our city's increasing acceptance of the LGBT community.

As executive director of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Community Center, Sue Doerfer is a longtime activist who has worked on many of these legislative and progressive advances. While Doerfer admits that the city has a long way to go, she also sees the changes the city has and continues to make in terms of inclusivity.

"What makes me want to stay [in Cleveland] is that I can see progress -- and I want to be a part of that change," says Doerfer, who is not a native Clevelander.

Echoing Doerfer's sentiment is Tom Stebel, a local activist and longtime volunteer with the North Coast Gay Men's Chorus, LGBT Center, CLAW, and other LGBT organizations. For many years after moving to Cleveland from San Francisco, Stebel wasn't sure about sticking around.

"When I was younger I wanted to leave Cleveland because I felt like I was too big of a fish for a little pond," says Stebel. "But as I aged I realized that I loved being a big fish in Cleveland because that's where I could make the biggest impact for change."

Before, During and After Hours

In addition to resources like the LGBT Center, Family By Design, PFLAG Cleveland and Plexus, Cleveland has a wealth of queer-owned and supportive businesses. Latitude 41n is one such place. Owner Kathy Brown, originally from New York, describes dining at her laidback Detroit Shoreway eatery akin to "eating at home with a room full of strangers." While the prominently displayed rainbow flags trumpet gay acceptance, this local favorite is far from being exclusively frequented by those in the LGBT community.

Cleveland's gay nightlife scene is another amenity that draws queers from the suburbs and beyond. Bounce, located just west of downtown, is a sprawling entertainment venue with a bar, restaurant, cabaret and dance club. Frequented largely by gay and gay-friendly revelers, Bounce hosts well-attended drag shows and dance parties, including Eclectic Circus, which was launched last year by DJ Saint.

"We deliver an eclectic array of music -- a lot of the music jumps genre" says DJ Saint. She aims to provide a "variety of music that is changing and evolving every month."

Bounce also is home to a group of performers whose work rises above the typical sequin-studded drag show. With the mission of increasing awareness on LGBT issues, Cleveland Kings and Girls (CKG) was started six years ago and continues to flourish thanks to its unique makeup (no pun intended) of bio-girls, bio-boys, drag kings, trans kings, and drag queens.

"The love, support and recognition that CKG has received over the years is what drives us to be better and to keep going." says troupe leader Rory Randall.

If you are looking for a more laid back nightlife experience visit Church Bar, which opened this past year in Lakewood. Long an Irish pub, this location underwent "reassignment therapy" to transform it from a straight to gay bar. Surprisingly, says manager Jonah Davis, they did so without losing a majority of original regulars.

"I think Cleveland is fantastic and I've never had a problem," explains Davis, "especially not in Lakewood."

I'm Still Here

What keeps me in the 216? The short and simple answer is: I'm happy here. I have found a diverse community of acceptance in Cleveland that isn't common in other large cities. As a queer Clevelander, I have the option of frequenting the large variety of LGBT-owned businesses exclusively -- but I don't have to. The fact that I don't feel compelled to live solely within my community is, to me, the most accurate meaning of the phrase "queer friendly."

Is there still more work to be done? Yes. However, I would rather be a part of the solution than trade that work in for a city where it's already been done for me. Shockingly, I find myself writing this article six years past my self-imposed departure deadline -- and I have absolutely no plans to leave Cleveland behind.

Civic Reception at Rotterdam City Hall

The Honorable Ahmed Aboutaleb, Mayor of Rotterdam, welcomed delegates from member clubs of the European Gay and Lesbian Sports Federation as well at guests including Federation of Gay Games copresident Emy Ritt, to the city of Rotterdam for the Eurogames.

Mayor Aboutaleb spoke eloquently about the contributions of diversity to social progress and economic development, about the ability of events such as the Eurogames to bring change to the host city, as well as for the communities participants will return to, with particular consideration for the situation in central and eastern Europe, and in particular in Hungary, the host country for the 2012 Eurogames.

Also speaking at the reception were EGLSF copresidents Louise Englefield and Lou Manders, and Eurogames 2011 copresident Hans van Dop.

As a special surprise, during the reception at the Stadhuis, a plane towing a banner welcoming participants to Eurogames 2011 flew over the city center.

Against the Rules exhibition on display at Eurogames accreditation

The Against the Rules exhibition, displayed last year at the German Sport and Olympic Museum during Gay Games VIII, is currently presented at the Schouwburg theater, the accreditation center for Eurogames 2011 in Rotterdam.

The exhibition is made up of a series of pop up panels, most of which present a biography of a figure of LGBT sport.

Among those featured are Gay Games Ambassadors Billie Jean King and Greg Louganis, and the founder of the Gay Games, Dr Tom Waddell.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Cleveland City Council adopts domestic partner benefits ordinance

Breaking news from Equality Ohio:

Just minutes ago, the Cleveland City Council (led by Councilman Joe Cimperman [a board member of Cleveland Special Events Corporation, the host of Gay Games 9]) unanimously passed a domestic partner benefits ordinance for Cleveland city workers. While the ordinance has some disappointing compromise limitations (as to who qualifies and the employee contribution), it is a step forward. Equality Ohio will continue to advocate for full equality in Cleveland and throughout Ohio.

Glenn Burke documentary to receive national US broadcast

After multiple broadcasts in the San Franciso area, the noted documentary on gay major league baseball player Glenn Burke will now be broadcast nationally on US cable TV.

NEW YORK – July 20, 2011 – “Out. The Glenn Burke Story,” which documents Burke’s legacy as the first openly gay Major League Baseball player, will have its national premiere on VERSUS on Tuesday, August 9, at 10 p.m. ET. Nominated for a Northern California Area Emmy Award and a nominee for Outstanding Documentary at the 22nd Annual GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) Media Awards, “Out. The Glenn Burke Story” originally premiered on and was produced by Comcast SportsNet Bay Area last November.

VERSUS will provide encore presentations of the documentary on Saturday, August 13, at 11 p.m. ET and Wednesday, August 17, at 11 p.m. ET

Glenn Burke, the first openly gay Major League Baseball player, ended his journey through baseball where it began, in Oakland, California. His sports career had many stops along the way, starting as a multi-sport star at Berkeley High School, followed by a stint at the University of Nevada, Reno as a prized basketball recruit, and then into professional baseball with the Los Angeles Dodgers, where he was hailed by one coach as “the next Willie Mays.” Early in his career, Burke felt he had to hide his true self from his teammates. Later, when he began to reveal glimpses into his sexuality, the baseball establishment began to shut him out.

“Out. The Glenn Burke Story” tells the dramatic tale of Burke’s Major League career as an outfielder for the Dodgers and as a starter in Game One of the 1977 World Series, to being traded to the Oakland Athletics the following season, and then walking away in 1980 from the game that he deeply loved. Many of Burke’s teammates were aware of his homosexuality during his playing career, as were members of management. Many of those teammates believe that Burke's sexuality led to the premature derailment of his baseball career.

“Out. The Glenn Burke Story” explores the wedge that was driven between Burke and the Los Angeles Dodgers management, the ensuing similar situation in Oakland that led to Burke’s abrupt retirement, and the hero’s welcome that Burke received in San Francisco’s Castro District after he left professional baseball. The documentary follows him through his public announcement of his homosexuality in a 1982 Inside Sports magazine article and on The Today Show with Bryant Gumbel, to his downward spiral after his split from baseball, a split that drove Burke to drugs and prison, and eventually to living on the same San Francisco streets where he was once recognized as an icon.

Burke’s story took on another level of tragedy when he was diagnosed with AIDS in 1994. At the end of Burke’s life, the game that he claimed had abandoned him so many years before reached out to one of its own. The Oakland A’s found Burke and provided him with constant support in his final months, as did some of his former teammates. “Out. The Glenn Burke Story” features numerous interviews with Burke’s teammates and friends, including Dusty Baker, Davey Lopes, Reggie Smith, Rick Monday, Manny Mota, Rickey Henderson, Claudell Washington, Mike Norris, Shooty Babitt, Tito Fuentes, and former Major Leaguer and gay rights activist Billy Bean.

“Out. The Glenn Burke Story” is produced by Comcast SportsNet Bay Area’s Ted Griggs, David Koppett, Sean Maddison and Doug Harris. The documentary is narrated by Dave Morey, who was inducted into the Bay Area Radio Hall of Fame in the class of 2010 after 26 years as a morning host at KFOG radio in San Francisco and nearly 40 years in broadcasting.

Gay Games Ambassador Billy Bean, a former Major League outfielder, is interviewed in the documentary, saying: “Baseball wasn’t ready for Glenn Burke. He was a pioneer and he caught them off guard.” Bean added, with regard ton dealing with discrimination: “The closet hurts people - forever. Everyone’s career ends, but to do it because you don’t feel you belong there when you’ve proven that you do is damaging. And it affects everything, and I’m sure that’s why Glenn swam in the waters of drugs and alcohol - to take away his frustration.”

Among the videos produced (see them all HERE) to accompany the Glenn Burke documentary are these featuring FGG Ambassador Billy Bean:

Oregon State softball coach Kirk Walker inspires, reassures other gay leaders

From The Oregonian:

Oregon State softball coach Kirk Walker inspires, reassures other gay leaders

Not only does Oregon have the only publicly gay Division I women's basketball coach in Portland State's Sherri Murrell. The state also is home to the first openly gay man in a Division I sport: Oregon State's Kirk Walker.

Walker came out to his team in 2005, when he and partner Randy Baltimore decided to adopt a child. Jim Buzinski, co-founder of Outsports.com, said Murrell and Walker are still among the very few out coaches nationwide.

Though Walker, 46, said he knows of other gay coaches -- they just haven't been featured in high-profile stories -- his narrative has taken hold and prompted hundreds of responses. Most who contact Walker praise his courage.

Keep reading HERE.

Eurogames 2011 an investment in tolerance

As described in today's Radio Netherlands press review, LGBT sporting events are important vectors for social change everywhere. Even in a country that is a model of openness, homophobia remains a problem. The commitment of the city government to ensuring the success of Eurogames 2011 is visible throughout the city, including on these giant posters on the Schouwburgplein in the heart of the city.

Hand in hand, Camarades

“The anthem of football club Feyenoord – Hand in hand, kamaraden. Almost everyone from Rotterdam knows the marching song by heart. But what homosexual would actually dare to walk hand in hand in public in Holland’s second city?” asks NRC Handelsblad.

“I would, but then again, I’m not the type to be easily intimidated,” says former Conservative VVD local politician Jerry van der Waarde. “Amsterdam has established itself as the hospitable homosexual capital of Europe... Rotterdam - with 174 different nationalities - is the stalwart bastion of working-class, macho culture.” In fact, the city’s council is concerned about the rise in gay hate crimes.

“One of the reasons to move the EuroGames to Rotterdam,” explains the NRC. The European gay games [sic] are starting today in the city of machismo - a five-day international sports and cultural event with participants from 42 different countries. Organisers expect a turnout of over 30,000 people.

The council is putting up half of the two-million-euro budget. “A generous but much-needed gesture,” says the chairman of the organising committee. “In Rotterdam, we still have a world to win.”

Eurogames 2011 accreditation opens

Yesterday accreditation opened for the 4500 athletes participating in Eurgames 2011 in Rotterdam. The FGG was present in the beautiful Schouwburg theater where dedicated volunteers are busy providing credentials, travel passes, and goodie bags.

The Federation of Gay Games thanks Eurugames 2011 and the EGLSF for their support, which includes a Gay Games 9 flyer in each welcome bag, a full page ad in the official program, and the opportunity to meet participants and volunteers here at accreditation. We were pleased to be able to talk face to face about the next edition of the Gay Games to potential participants, including these women from Team Ireland.

Special thanks to marketing and communications manager Tinca Postema who has been very helpful and patient in making our partnership such a success. Tinca is seen here with FGG VP for External Affairs Marc Naimark. Other board members present in Rotterdam are Klaus Heusslein, Sonia Abecassis and FGG copresident Emy Ritt.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Ben Cohen in Out Magazine

The latest issue of Out Magazine features Michael Irvin, along with other allies, including Ben Cohen:

Rugby star Ben Cohen has a very personal reason for standing up to bullies.
By Aaron Hicklin

Some years ago, early in the evolution of social media, a fan page for English rugby player Ben Cohen appeared on Facebook. “It had about 30,000 people on it at the time, and they were all men,” recalls Cohen, who recently announced his retirement from rugby to focus on combating homophobia and bullying in sports. Cohen, who is married with twin daughters, found the attention flattering, but also a responsibility. “People were telling us their stories, and I felt it was important to respond,” he says. “I know what bullying does, and I know it can tear you apart, and that, for a lot of young gay men or people who are perceived to be different, there is no family infrastructure to turn to, no support.”

Read more HERE.

A look back at Gay Games VII through the eyes of a photographer

A post from the blog of John Gress, who covered Gay Games VII as a photographer (we thank John for his permission to reprint a photo, and encourage you to visit his blog for more):

Five years ago this week I covered an event that was a game changer for me: Gay Games VII. The quadrennial amateur sports event has brought together thousands of gay athletes to events around the world since 1980. The event was special to me, because not only did I spend the week covering a unique sports event, the likes of which I have never seen before, I also earned the accolades of my peers, taking fourth place, third amongst Americans, in the National Press Photographers Association sports photojournalist of the year competition.

During the course of the week several of my photos were amongst the most viewed and emailed images on the web according to Yahoo. My friend and colleague Molly Riley said it was because the images were “so shocking”… a claim I found hard to believe at the time, because I was so deep into the forest, that I couldn’t begin to see the photos from an outsiders perspective.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Will athletes be banned from the Olympics opening ceremony?

From InsideTheGames.biz, news of attempts to ensure that British athletes will be allowed to attend the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 Olympics. Note that at the Gay Games, the athletes are the stars of Opening Ceremony. Be part of it in 2014 in Cleveland+Akron!

July 16 - Britain's athletes should be allowed to march in the Opening Ceremony at London 2012, the chairman of the International Olympic Committee Athletes' Commisssion Frankie Fredericks has claimed here.

The four-time Olympic silver medallist said that if UK Athletics' head coach Charles van Commenee imposed his blanket ban on the track and field team taking part in the Ceremony then they risked missing out on some of the most special moments of the Olympics.

The Games are due to open next year on July 27, a week before the athletics event begins on August 3, but van Commenee believes it would be counterproductive for the athletes to attend the event just days before the biggest competition of their lives.

Fredericks, however, disagrees and has offered to help find a solution so that Britain's athletes can take participate by shortening the length of time that they spend taking part in the Ceremony.

"We will try to limit the time the athletes are on their feet," Fredericks told insidethegames here where he has been attending the centenary celebrations of the Japanese Olympic Committee. I think it's important for the athletes to make sure they go to the Opening Ceremony if they wish. It's probably one of the greatest atmospheres ever."

Fredericks carried the Namibian flag at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona when his country made its debut in the Games, which did not stop him winning silver medals in the 100 and 200 metres.

"For me it started the whole Olympic spirit and if I hadn't gone through the Olympic Opening Ceremony in 1992 I would never have realised how powerful the Olympic Movement is," said Fredericks, who earlier this year helped lay the final piece of turf at the London 2012 Olympic Stadium with Sebastian Coe. "That was the first time I really felt it - walking into a Stadium surronded by so many people from different countries."

Van Commenee has claimed that the Opening Ceremony "doesn't fit in the professional preparation for the biggest event of your life" and "they would not go shopping for eight hours before their biggest event so why would you be on your feet for that long?"

But Fredericks, who also won silver medals in the 100m and 200m in Atlanta in 1996, insisted that taking part in the Olympics was more than just about an athletes' performance.

"Everyone knows there's only going to be one Olympic gold medal but it's being there, exchanging the pins, hearing about other countires you had never heard of that makes the whole thing special." he said.

Fredericks, who is also a member of the IOC Coordination Commission monitoring the preparations of London 2012, promised that everything would be done to ensure that the athletes preparations for their competition would not be compromised by the length of the Opening Ceremony.

"I think from the Athletes' Commission at the IOC we shall try to limit the time so it's not eight hours but maybe three to five hours," he said. "If they have any advice or what they think we can do better we would like to do that rather than just putting a blanket boycott on the event."

13 August 2011 / Stonewall Open Water Swim in New York

FGG member IGLA supports the Stonewall Swim, a fun, healthy, innovative fundraiser for the LGBT community of New York.

Our goal is to build tighter ties within our community while fostering greater self-confidence through sports and recreation.

The Stonewall Swim is a fundraiser for Stonewall Community Foundation, a major contributor to LGBTQ charities throughout NYC. Funds raised from the Stonewall Swim support Stonewall Community Foundation’s vital work in the LGBTQ community. These include The Stonewall Institute, a training and leadership development program for board, staff, members, and volunteers of LGBTQ organizations and projects; The Gene and John Athletic Fund which awards academic scholarships to athletes for continuing their education while pursuing athletics; and Out in Front NY, the Foundation’s exciting new initiative that cultivates and trains the next generation of board leaders for the LGBTQ community.

More info HERE.

The Tour de France, Sydney Spokes, and Gay Games Ambassador Michelle Ferris

Michelle Ferris at Gay Games VII in CologneI
The Tour de France is a great excuse to write about Sydney Spokes and Gay Games Ambassador Michelle Ferris in the Sydney Star Observer:

It was a good week for sport in this country with the Great French Bike Ride forcing sunburnt English people in Wimbledon stands off the front page.

My late night prowling watching spokes go round on SBS has been curtailed by work, so I have had to learn the next morning how poor Spanish doctor Jesus Losa has provided another drug-filled exit strategy to a Russian rider in France.

This takes our eye off the goal — can Cadel Evans ultimately be triumphant in France to gain the dubious honour of wearing Lycra in one of the world’s fashion capitals, and will it be yellow this year?

Cycling’s affinity with the Gay Games movement includes Sydney’s own Michelle Ferris’ appointment as a Federation Ambassador. No small feat if you take a moment to peruse the international sporting stars she stands alongside.

At the height of her career, Ferris was not without controversy, but it never prevented her from producing the goods at medal time. As an international star, it would have been easy to stand on a pedestal and ignore the grassroots sportspeople in our community. Instead, Australia is well represented internationally and in local media by her profile, achievement and as a down-to-earth lesbian mum.

Cycling is a great sport. The development of Clover Moore’s ultra-green bike pathways throughout the gay Mecca has altered the journey to the point where I feel my two wheels have rights of their own. For the past decade, my bike and I have developed an affinity with the rabbit at the greyhound racing track. My greyhounds have been the taxi industry, non-observant drivers and Sydney Transit buses.

Sydney Spokes is a gay and lesbian cycling group which rides in and around Sydney on a weekly basis. It is not for purists, Lycra lovers, or former world champion triathletes, even though they’re all welcome. It is a friendly group which provides social interaction while exercising. Just another way to get out to play: www.teamsydney.org.au

Saturday, July 16, 2011

South East Europe initiative at Eurogames

From Queer Sport in SEE:

For the first time athletes from most countries from the region of South East Europe will take part in EuroGames at it's 13th instance next week in Rotterdam. This is both major exception after 12 instances of EuroGames and 2 decades since these countries formed in western Balkans as independent states.

Pioneering effort in networking and organizing was done in past year to make this development happen. LGBTQ sport initiatives and individuals from the region have been coordinating personally, informally, on-line and off-line, but will be meeting each other for the first and also presenting themselves to the larger LGBTQ international scene next Thursday.

Initiated by qSPORT (Croatia) and developed through the effort of handful of individuals/activist organizations from the region and with support of EGLSF, GLISA, EuroGames Rotterdam, COC-Rotterdam and Dutch Embassy in Sarajevo - this finally became possible.

Please join us and meet at Roodkapje.org ( at Meent 125, MAP HERE) an exceptional queer cultural space with bar, buffet and gallery on next Thursday at 18h and have a chance to meet new LGBTQ sport people from the edges of Europe - where being gay is less about homosexual orientation and much more about being queer in societies that does not tolerate differences.

Please distribute this info to your friends and club members who might be or know someone from South East Europe diaspora, that might be interested in supporting this pioneering activity - maybe even willing to join these few individuals in the future to make stronger presence in the future of international LGBTQ sport and their local communities.

Cyd Ziegler Out Magazine profile of ally football player Michael Irvin

Outsports Cyd Ziegler has written a great profile of the NFL's Michael Irvin in Out Magazine:

NFL Hall of famer Michael Irvin talks for the first time about his gay brother and explains why he’s on a pro-gay mission from God.
By Cyd Zeigler

It was a Friday evening in Fort Lauderdale, warm and clear, like so many that 12-year-old Michael Irvin had experienced growing up in southern Florida. He was riding in a car with his father, Walter, a roofer by trade who spent what little spare time he had operating as the local Primitive Baptist minister. The two were heading home after an errand that was a regular payday ritual: Walter would drive into town to buy cigars and then drop off money with Michael’s grandmother to help with her bills. It was the late 1970s, a time of strife in America, and young Michael had already seen a lot in his low-income neighborhood. But nothing prepared him for what happened next.

As Walter drove up Northwest 27th Avenue, about to turn onto 16th Street, his son noticed a man who looked just like his older brother, Vaughn, walking away from their house toward “all the craziness in the ’hood,” Irvin remembers. It couldn’t be Vaughn: “This man was wearing women’s clothes.” But it was. “My brother had a very distinctive walk,” he says.

Irvin couldn’t believe his eyes. He turned to his father. “My dad looked back at me and said, ‘Yes, that’s your brother. And you love your brother.’ ”

That was it. Irvin, who went on to become one of football’s greatest players, as well as the epitome of the troublemaking macho NFL stereotype, would never again discuss the issue with his father. “Whether Vaughn and my father later spoke about it, I don’t know. But it wasn’t something that was ever discussed among the family,” says Irvin, speaking for the first time about the gay older brother he idolized.

Keep reading HERE.

San Francisco Pride Parade seen from within

Heidi Beeler tells her story from the San Francisco Gay and Lesbian Freedom Band i the San Francsico Bay Times:

I’ve been Out in Gay Mecca for 20 years. On the last Sunday of every June, I make a beeline from some point west of the Ferry Building down to City Hall, crammed between convertibles and motorcycles, dodging men on roller skates dressed in day-glo G-strings and bristling with balloons, and batting down pamphlets against gale-force winds. I have helped build giant glitter-encrusted plywood cakes and a 4-foot-tall Music Man hats that are screwed onto flatbed trucks and roped to booth supports. But in 20 years, I’ve never actually seen the Pride Parade. Never watched it live end to end from a Market Street sidewalk.

As long as I’ve been Out, I’ve only seen the half block of the parade occupied by the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band at any given moment.

That and whatever contingent rides ahead of our banner, whatever contingent cruises behind our sousaphones, and the faces and photographers on either side. I joined the Band in 1991 specifically to have someone to go to the parade with, and she’s been my date every year since.

The first year I marched, the parade was amazing. I’d gone through my “I’m The Only One” phase in San Francisco (proving you really can do anything if you set your mind to it). My boss had told me that she fired a man for being gay and then noted my blushing as a smoking gun. When my clenched teeth turned into a rapid-fire eyelid tic, I quit the job and joined the Band. That year seeing Market Street festooned with rainbow flags, I secretly felt Pride was a party thrown for me. And when my band and I turned onto Market Street playing “California, Here I Come,” the roar of a million people cheering bounced around the skyscrapers over our heads and I felt like Dorothy entering the Rainbow City. Ding dong the witch was dead indeed!
Twenty years later, coming up on Pride 2011, the magic of the rainbow had worn thin before my middle-aging eyes. The Pride Committee had chalked up more abdications than Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign. After last year’s fund juggling, the theme “In Pride We Trust”

Keep reading HERE (it's worth it!)

Blake Skjellerup is a supergay

Out and Around is a collection of conversations with gay people around the world who are creating change for the LGBT community. In June 2011, Jenni and Lisa left their San Francisco home to travel around the world in search of these Supergays.

Blake Skjellerup, New Zealand

This week as Jenni and I have traveled (via campervan, by the way) through New Zealand, we’ve watched two major rugby and netball finals on TV with most of the country, demonstrating to us that Kiwis take their sports seriously. So when short track speed skater Blake Skjellerup came out as a gay man last year after competing in the quarterfinals of the Olympics in Vancouver, he captured the attention of the whole country. Now he has used the spotlight to travel throughout New Zealand and speak to both kids and teachers about stopping bullying in schools. Blake took some time in between his intense training schedule to talk to Jenni and I [sic]

Out & Around: What was your personal experience like growing up gay?

Blake: Growing up was an interesting time. I first started to know that I was attracted to guys at the age of 16. From there was an up and down time accepting and understanding my sexuality. I only came out at the age of 24. I was afraid my sexuality would jeopardize my status in my sport. This was not true. There were some tough times and some amazing times and I regret none of the decisions I made.

You are the spokesman for the Pink Shirt Day Campaign which encouraged kids to wear pink shirts to school to take a stand against bullying. What inspired you to start your anti-bullying campaign?

I was inspired to front the Pink Shirt Day Campaign through my own experiences in high school. I was bullied in school because I did not play a popular sport and because of my perceived sexuality. I was strong enough to deal with it, but others are not. No one should ever feel like their differences are something to be ashamed of and persecuted for. This is still happening in our society today, and I wanted the youth out there to know that being “different” in any which way is an amazing thing. They should be proud of that and embrace it. If I empowered one kid to stand up for himself and to see a brighter tomorrow then I know I did a good thing.

We love that you traveled around the country to take your message of hope to schools. What most surprised you as you traveled around New Zealand?

There were so many things that surprised me. I spoke to 18 schools across the country and over 5000 students. The greatest thing that hit me was how much of my story and message they took on board. I had whole school assemblies applaud when I said I was gay, and that was pretty amazing.

There are only a small handful of openly gay Olympians. What worried you the most before coming out publicly? What has been the impact of your coming out?

To be honest, I cannot remember what worried me before I came out publicly. By the time I did it I was so confident and proud of who I am that nothing could faze me. The impact – well, I am not too sure. I hope other athletes who are afraid of being open and honest, not only to their peers, but to themselves, can look at me and see that my coming out made no difference to me as a sportsman.

What do you most look forward to in the 2014 Olympics in Russia?

Representing my country once again, doing them proud, and putting 4 years of hard work into action over 2 weeks – in front of the world, in front of my family and friends, and in front of a community who I know is behind me 100%.

For Mayor Frank Jackson, "Gay Games 9: will be THE event in Cleveland in 2014"

A Vision Video interview with Mayor Frank G. Jackson of Cleveland and others at the Gay Games 9 booth at Cleveland Pride 2011.

Friday, July 15, 2011

New York LGBT film festival features Renée Richards documentary

The NewFest LGBT film festival in New York will be featuring Renée, a documentary that tells the story of Renée Richard’s battle to enter the 1977 US Open as the first transsexual tennis player.

Simultaneously, it follows her today as she struggles to cope with a life of contradictions and personal conflict. Through interviews with tennis legends, family, friends and experts from the transsexual field; a story of perseverance, breakthrough and hardship unfolds.

For program details, visit the festival website HERE.

More on Berlin Civil Courage Prize

The following corresponds to the presentation made by Dr Tatjana Eggeling, founding member and vice president of the Queen Nations Initiative, at the presentation of the Berlin Pride Civil Courage Prize to the FGG and GLISA International:

The Queer Nations Initiative was founded in August 2005 with the goal of establishing a multidisciplinary insitute for the studies of lesbian and gay life in the past and present.

The Queer Nations Initiative harkens back to the world-famous Magnus Hirschfeld Institute which was destroyed by the Nazi regime in 1933. On the site of the Magnus Hirschfeld Institute now stands the Chancellery of the German Federal Republic.

The Queer Nations Initiative enthusiastically supports the Civil Courage Award because sport like science should be a mirror of society with equal rights for everyone. We need role models in sport and science. GLISA and FGG represent not merely sports but also fight against homophobia in sport.

Fun on the water in Cleveland