|Wagner Xavier de Camargo, Paris 2011|
After a partial presentation of his work at the December 2011 conference on sport and homosexuality organized by FGG member organization FSGL in Paris, Wagner Xavier de Camargo along with Carmen Silvia Moraes Rial have published (in Portuguese) their paper in the Revista Estudos Feministas.
The positions taking are striking, but, at least based on an imperfect Google translation, many would take issue with the conclusions, and the research behind them. For example, the description of the role of the FGG Board in choosing a host city does not correspond to the reality of the process. And the role of a search for a non-sports model for a sports event in the creation of the Outgames is undoubtedly exaggerated, and is inconsistent with the diversity of the content of the Gay Games themselves, ignoring the cultural component of the Gay Games, along with an explicit commitment to human rights (for example at the 2002 Gay Games in Sydney).
Nor do the authors take into account the diversity of participants in the Gay Games (and Outgames). While the writers were struck by the presence of affluent white men from developed countries, such people cannot be identified as the only participants in such events (it is true that as privately self-funded events, and despite efforts for outreach, finances may skew the profile of participants). And to reduce the interest of participants to tourism, and in particular to sexual tourism, is to deny participants their identity as athletes.
And while there may be some participants who prefer to remain isolated among LGBT people alone, this is in any case not the official position of organizers. All are welcome to participate. And if it is true that with some exceptions, relatively few spectators with no connection to the athletes can be found at venues, this is not specific to LGBT sport: the majority of non-elite sporting events are alas not particularly well attended by fans with no connection to those playing.
There may be validity in speaking of "ghettos" in the context of LGBT sport. But the ghetto above all is a creation of the oppressor, and this paper deals little with the very real homophobia and exclusion of mainstream sport that participate in the creation of such "ghettos". Nor does the paper adequately recognize that rather than ghettos, LGBT sport creates spaces of freedom, not just for LGBT people, but for all people anxious to do sport together, with specific values, best represented by the FGG motto of "Participation, Inclusion and Personal Best".
We look forward to further discussions, and opportunities to enrich the understanding of these researchers and others of the legacy and potential of the Gay Games and the international LGBT sports movement.