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, May 28, 2012

Gay Games bodybuilding pioneer passes away

George Birimisa in his later years 
We are very sorry to learn of the death of George Birimisa. Reprinted from Bay Area Reporter, 17 May 2012:

George Birimisa, a beloved San Francisco playwright, teacher, and firebrand, died on May 10. He was 88.

Mr. Birimisa died at California Pacific Medical Center of cumulative complications related to emphysema, said his friend Steve Susoyev.

Mr. Birimisa was the first openly gay playwright to receive a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation. Friends said that the award was a mixed blessing for Mr. Birimisa, who had grown up in dire poverty and for whom the name "Rockefeller" was synonymous with the worst of capitalism.

A young Birimisa

Mr. Birimisa began writing stories at age 8, just after his father died in jail and his mother placed him in an orphanage. Insecure about his lack of education beyond the 10th grade, in writing for the stage during the 1960s, he discovered an art form in which he didn't have to worry about his grammar.

With enthusiastic reviews for his early work in the Village Voice, the New York Times and the Advocate , a world of creativity opened up to him. Tennessee Williams wrote of the wildly controversial Georgie Porgie : "Bravo! A beautiful, courageous play. I loved it."

During his early theater career, friends said that Mr. Birimisa alienated many people through backbiting behavior that, he later acknowledged, was motivated by envy.

"Other playwrights were a threat to my self-esteem," he admitted in a 2009 interview. "I couldn't see anything worthwhile in anyone else's work."

Birimisa as a Gay Games
bodybuilding competition

He demonstrated introspective insight in other ways as well. At age 67, after a near-fatal encounter with a street hustler whom he had paid to rough him up, Mr. Birimisa entered 12-step recovery for sex addiction. During the next 20 years, he sponsored dozens of people who had found themselves on the same path. A former sex worker himself, he was a favorite performer in Kirk Read's Sex Worker Art Show. Abstinence from his sexually compulsive behaviors never made him shy about discussing his past in the most colorful terms possible.

Mr. Birimisa moved to San Francisco in 1980, where he facilitated an intergenerational writing workshop at the old LGBT center, a group that included an 18-year-old lesbian and two transgenders in their 70s.

His plays Pogey Bait and The Man With Straight Hair premiered at Theater Rhinoceros in San Francisco, and he starred in Looking for Mr. America, which premiered at Josie's Cabaret in San Francisco and later moved to La Mama E.T.C. in Greenwich Village.

Never content to pursue only one passion, in 1986 Mr. Birimisa founded the gay and lesbian Arcadia Bodybuilding Society. He participated in five Gay Games as a bodybuilder, and won one gold medal, two silver and one bronze.

Throughout his life, Mr. Birimisa was a tireless advocate for oppressed people. He won the Harry Hay Award in 2005 for his decades of inspiration to gay activists and writers.

He received numerous literary and theatrical awards as well, including a 2007 Lambda Literary Foundation book award for co-editing Return to the Caffe Cino, published by Moving Finger Press. In 2010 he releasedBirimisa: Portraits, Plays, Perversions – a collection of his plays, short stories, and profiles by his friends, colleagues, and rivals.

A celebration of Mr. Birimisa's life will take place in early July. Updates on preparations for the event can be found on his blog site, http://www.GayGeorge.com.

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