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, July 8, 2011

Founding of IGLA a top moment in LGBT sports history

Federation of Gay Games Honorary Life Member Charlie Carson made the following contribution to the Outsports call for the top moments in LGBT sports history, and we think it's well worth sharing:

Coming late to this, but will add a couple of things specific to aquatics after a quick mention that I hope the founding of Cologne’s gay volleyball team — first organized gay team in Europe — should make the overall list.

First, what I consider “the moment” in aquatics. Gay Games I in 1982 spurred the formation of swim teams on the North American west coast, but the next time swimmers gathered for an open gay competition wasn’t until Gay Games II. We had already formed a contact network among swimmers that had come to the Games from around the world but 1986 was the first time most of us from Gay Games I had seen each other again.

At a meeting of team reps and other individuals in the stands at the Laney College pool in Oakland during Gay Games II we decided we enjoyed being back in the water and were having too much fun to wait four years to be together again. We planned the first of annual competitions at that meeting, looking forward to a day when those competitions would be held around the world. The San Diego group volunteered to host the first annual competition in March 1987.

That meet in 1987 was the first of the International Gay & Lesbian Aquatics (IGLA) championships that take place each year between the Gay Games. By the third IGLA championship in 1989 teams had formed in New York and Washington, D.C., and during the next decade dozens more swimming and water polo teams started in North America, Australia and Europe.

IGLA’s existence and its leaders have directly influenced the passage of nondiscrimination clauses in aquatics organization bylaws. This is not something the Federation of Gay Games or Gay Games host committees could dedicate themselves to — it takes an organization specific to aquatics to network with the national governing bodies in a regular ongoing basis to achieve such goals.

IGLA team membership is now in the thousands, ranging from beginners to gold medal Olympians, with championships held in four sports at numerous world class aquatic centers, including Olympic facilities. And it bears mention that the many swimming records set and silliness of the Pink Flamingo event have been positive eye-openers among local mainstream aquatics officials wherever the IGLA championships have been held.

As I write, IGLA XIX is taking place in Honolulu with 2012′s IGLA XX set for Reykjavik. Gay aquatics now happens every day all the time around the world, and that can be directly traced back to the 1986 meeting when we decided to take our sports beyond the Gay Games.

Second, I hope it’s being acknowledged that Bruce Hayes was the first Olympic gold medal participant at the Gay Games, at Vancouver in 1990. Numerous Olympians have come out and joined us since, but Bruce was the first. Bruce received much national U.S. television and press attention when he promoted Gay Games IV in New York, but what I particularly like about his story is Bruce’s regular participation ever since at the Gay Games, IGLA championships and regional gay swimming meets. It’s not been a one-time thing, nor tied into personal publicity efforts — he enjoys the camaraderie and exercise on the gay teams, all the better to admire him for his place as a trailblazer in LGBT sport history.

And while I’m at it, Michael Mealiffe’s two masters world records in the 50 and 100 m. butterfly at 1990′s Gay Games III in Vancouver showed we weren’t just kidding around.

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