|Win Chesson, Scott Jordan, David Spires and Sean Smith|
after a relay at IGLA Championships in Iceland.
(Photo Courtesy of Onesimo Demira).
If gay athletes, including those at the elite level, don’t exist then how can you explain the popularity of LGBT sports organizations? They exist all over the world in different forms. I’ve been a critic in the past of the segmented LGBT category of sports competitions until I had the experience of competing in some. I have had the opportunity to compete at the OutGames in 2006, the International Gay and Lesbian Aquatic (IGLA) world championships in 2009 and most recently the IGLA world championships in Reykjavík, Iceland in May.
Obviously the Iceland competition I recently took part in is not the most competitive meet I’ve been to, but why was it so fulfilling? I asked some athletes that are in Omaha right now for US Olympic Trials and were also at IGLA in Iceland three weeks ago why they felt it was important enough to go to that meet. Their answer was simple. “It’s fun, it gives me a sense of community, and I love competing with my teammates!”
For me the unique ingredient to swimming at an IGLA meet is being able to feel whole and authentic. There is no segmented athlete self that is policing each action to cover or pass as safe or straight. All of my effort can go in to swimming and to enjoying the social aspects of the meet. I’ll admit, the social aspects which are obviously a much bigger piece of the experience these days.
Read in full HERE.