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, August 22, 2011

Portrait of a young gay closeted hockey player

A great story from The Independent/Northumberland [Ontario] News, about a young gay, and very much not out, hockey player, the first in a series about gay athletes in the area:

NORTHUMBERLAND -- Sometimes one word can hurt more than any bodycheck can.

Ryan felt sick to his stomach after he made it to the bench after a bone-crushing check. But the pain he felt throughout his body was numbed by the one word which brought on the nausea: fag.

"After he hit me, he skated away and called me a fag," said Ryan, whose name has been changed to protect his identity. "I knew I was gay, but he didn't. But in sports, that's what guys do. They call each other names."

The fact is no one knows Ryan is gay. No one -- not his mom, and especially not his dad. If not for a close-knit, anonymous support group he visits, his story would not be in print today.

The young teen from Northumberland County fears if he came out, not only would he be ridiculed and embarrassed, but he strongly believes his life would be at risk -- either by his own hands, or his teammates.

"The guys on my team talk, I've heard them," said Ryan. "They say stuff like, 'you're such a fag' and 'I hate faggots.'"

Ryan recounts one time after a game where a teammate shared his disgust for homosexuals.

"He said, 'If I ever meet a faggot, I'll (expletive) kill him,'" said Ryan.

That's when Ryan made the decision never to come out with his sexual orientation. He believes his love of the game and his sexuality may never co-exist.

The sporting world is greatly lagging behind when it comes to accepting gays into the locker room, according to Dylan Demarsh.

Demarsh, who is the communications and research coordinator for PARN Community AIDS Resource Network which serves Peterborough and Northumberland County, said from a young age, children are told girls do this, and boys do this.

"When you get into sports, it's entrenched into you," said Demarsh. "Hockey for example is a game for rough, tough and muscular traits."

But Ryan has muscles and performs at a high level. That must mean he's not gay. But he is. Ryan has known for some time of his sexuality preference, but his love of the game and the stigma attached has forced him to keep his mouth shut.

"I am unhappy," said Ryan. "All the guys have their girlfriends at the game, cheering and yelling for them. I don't get to have that. And I probably never will."

Ryan doesn't have a boyfriend, and believes he can never have one as long as he plays hockey. He added although he thinks men on his team are attractive, he doesn't look at them that way in the locker room.

"At the rink, and in the dressing room, it's all hockey business," said Ryan. "Yes, guys on my team are attractive, but I see these guys and notice them when they are outside the arena also. That's when I notice them. I would never date any of them, and just because I am gay doesn't mean I stare at them in the dressing room and drool."

Ryan is determined to keep playing hockey.

According to Demarsh, the sporting world is losing too many talented athletes because they are gay.

"We're losing a lot of athletes and kids are leaving sports because they don't feel comfortable in that atmosphere," said Demarsh. "Sports should be an outlet for athletes to be free and enjoy an hour or two of the sport they love."

Ryan remembers an awkward moment when one player once asked if he had a girlfriend. He quickly stated no, and was met with accusations of being gay.

Keep reading HERE.

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