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.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Coming soon in Cleveland: The Greater Cleveland Aquarium

From Cleveland Meetings, news on some projects just opened or soon to open in Cleveland:

The Greater Cleveland Aquarium – Grand Opening (end of year 2011)

The Powerhouse located in the West Bank of the Flats will soon be home to the new 70,000-square-foot Greater Cleveland Aquarium this fall. The first phase includes 42 tanks integrated into the historic building to create an exciting underwater environment. This will include a seatube that allows visitors to experience life under the sea in a clear, 145’ walk-through tunnel. The aquarium is expected to attract more than 400,000 visitors and generate $9.6 to $27.2 million toward the local economy.


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

San Francisco Giants LGBT night a success: funds will finance FGG actions

A message from Roger Brigham on the LGBT Night hosted by Major League Baseball's San Francisco Giants:

We should offer a big thank you to Doug Litwin of the FGG and Ken Craig of Team San Francisco for their work to ensure the most successful LGBT Night to date. The 1,500 dedicated tickets sold out quickly. Proceeds will benefit Gay Games scholarship athletes as well as a sports component of a GSA (gay-straight alliance high school groups) summit this December in San Francisco, in which Equality Coaching Alliance will participate.

Event highlight's at Monday's game included:
  • rainbow-themed commemorative Giants hats
  • performances by the Gay/Lesbian Freedom Band (with Doug Litwin on drums!)
  • a pre-game party that was packed
  • dozens of fans waving rainbow flags
  • two same-sex couples included on the evening's "Kiss Cam"
  • repeated scoreboard recognition of LGBT Night
  • gay mayoral candidate Bevan Dufty's daughter Sidney proclaiming "Play Ball!" over the PA system
  • and a showing of the Giants' It Gets Better video, the first one made by any major league baseball team.

German national football captain tells everyone to stay in the closet

He's married! Not gay!
Warnings to stay in the closet are coming fast and furious. This one is from German footballer Philipp Lahm, who takes advantage of his "controversial" autobiography to come out as straight, heterosexual, married, non-gay, free from a secret boyfriend in Cologne, and definitely not into dudes, and not checking anybody out anywhere and especially not in a locker room. Via Reuters:

(Reuters) - Homosexual professional soccer players should not come out because the repercussions could be too devastating, according to Germany captain Philipp Lahm. "I would not advise any gay professional footballer to come out," Lahm wrote in his autobiography "The Subtle Difference".

"I would fear that he could end up like Justin Fashanu who after he outed himself was driven into such a corner that he ended up committing suicide," the 27-year-old Bayern Munich captain added.

Lahm said, however, that he personally would have no problems if a player decided to come out. "I have nothing against homosexuals and I do not consider homosexuality as something reprehensible," he said.

Fashanu is the only player to have announced he was homosexual during his professional career. He played for several clubs, including Norwich City, Nottingham Forest and Manchester City, and, after abuse from the terraces, killed himself in 1998 aged 37.

A study of football professionals, coaches and referees conducted in Britain last year showed there was still a culture of secrecy surrounding gay players with more than one in four people polled saying they knew homosexual soccer players.

Lahm's autobiography, in which he criticizes past coaches and players, has angered German soccer officials and the national team coach Joachim Loew, who has called a meeting with the player.

Out cyclist thinks everyone is worried about him looking at their genitals

From the Scottish Sun, an update on Graeme Obree, who came out earlier this year (read HERE):

FLYING Scotsman Graeme Obree was hailed a hero after bravely revealing he was gay earlier this year. The divorced dad-of-two decided he could no longer live a lie, and exclusively told The Scottish Sun the truth about his sexuality in January.
But, despite the plaudits, the cycling legend has warned homosexual sport stars NOT to come out until AFTER they retire.

And he also urged gay SPL footballers to hide their sexual preferences — for fear of being shown the red card by their team-mates.

The 45-year-old said: "I don't think being gay and an active sportsman is a good thing. "While I was competing and in a changing room environment there was no way I would come out. "You'd always be worrying if other people were thinking, 'Is he checking me out?' "

He added: "There are SPL footballers who are gay, I know that for a fact. "But if I was in their position there is no way I would come out. "It would be too awkward in the dressing room. "You need to be retired first. Even now I wouldn't do coaching because it's still an awkward situation. Sure, I got a flood of letters from people supporting me. But now people have moved on and don't give a monkey's. They'd rather talk about cycling, which is great."

Obree, from Saltcoats, Ayrshire, became a national hero in 1993 when he smashed the world hour record using his 'Old Faithful' bike made from washing machine parts.
He went on to win the individual pursuit at the world championships twice in the 1990s.

But troubled Obree also endured a private battle with depression. He twice tried to commit suicide as he struggled to come to terms with his sexuality.

Obree celebrated coming out of the closest by building a sparkling PINK bike. He said: "I am floating along in my own single life. I like being out on my bike, that's all I need right now. Although it is a love-hate relationship — it's an obsession which I need to get by in my life." He added: "I still love my ex-wife Anne to bits, she is an amazing person and is my best friend."

We're struck by Graeme's singular obsession about locker rooms and what fellow athletes might be thinking. It sounds like he has internalized some homophobic clichés. As he himself notes, most people just don't care. In any case, it seems a pity for him to make his own worries a recipe for others. We're going to guess that there are far more athletes who are happy about being out than who regret it.

Coming soon in Cleveland: PlayhouseSquare’s Allen Theater renovation

From Cleveland Meetings, news on some projects just opened or soon to open in Cleveland:

PlayhouseSquare’s Allen Theater renovation (September 2011)

Cleveland’s oldest theater, the Cleveland Play House, moves into the recently renovated Allen Theater at PlayhouseSquare. The $32 million renovation reconfigures the 2,500-seat theater into two separate spaces with capacities of 550 and 300. Changes include a third 175-seat black box theater constructed next door to the Allen, a new pedestrian walkway from the parking garage, new entrances and wiring for modern technology and multimedia. The theater will host the Cleveland Play House and the theater program at Cleveland State University, uniting both entities with PlayhouseSquare.


See also the Cleveland Plain Dealer HERE.

Part two of series on gay athletes

After his great profile of young hockey player "Ryan", Paul Rellinger looks at a happily out athlete from Ontario in the Northumberland News:

Northumberland woman plays open and without ridicule
Part two in a series featuring gay athletes in Northumberland County

NORTHUMBERLAND -- In locker rooms across Northumberland County, and beyond, athletes talk about almost everything -- but sexual orientation appears to be out of bounds.

The perception is gay athletes can only participate in sports if they stay ‘in the closet’ and hide their sexuality from other athletes.

But one Northumberland athlete loves her sports, and is openly gay.

Sara Holek, a 21-year-old bodybuilder and sports enthusiast from Centreton, said growing up she was always involved in a variety of sports. And although from a young age she had homosexual thoughts, she didn’t come out until high school.

“It was around this point where I felt comfortable telling people of my sexuality,” said Holek. “I don’t think I came out and said, ‘I am gay’, as much as I just started hanging out with lesbians. I feel that was almost the best way because it was showing people, ‘Yes, I am hanging out with lesbians, yes I am okay with it.’”

According to Sara, it eventually became well known in the hallways at school that she was gay. Making the transition from a ‘closet’ lesbian to an outed homosexual was made easier by having her identical twin sister, Karen, by her side.

“I did not lose friends over (coming out),” said Holek. “I consider myself lucky and blessed for that when I hear stories (about others who) have not been so fortunate. When I was seen kissing a girl at school and the word spread, I felt embarrassed. I didn’t want to leave the change room. I was so nervous because I was simply not ready to face people for fear of what they would think.”

But her friends accepted her, and so did her teammates.

“I never experienced negative slurs about my sexuality or was pushed out of a change room. No one acted differently around me. Playing sports and being gay can co-exist. You are not a great athlete because you are straight, or because you are gay, it is because you are truly good at it.”


Holek and Demarsh agree the problem in the locker room does not lie in the gay athletes, but in their teammates and coaches. Change has to start there.

“If you have been a team member they should know you for you,” said Holek. “Isn’t that how we judge people and decide we like them or not? Being gay is your choice, it will and should not affect your life. Eventually it takes a toll on a person who wants to come out, and feel they can not. Being accepted is all one asks for.”

Holek begs the question: Would someone willingly ‘out’ themselves to risk their life, friendships, job, and ultimately their acceptance?
“What I am saying is my advice is more for athletes who are heterosexual,” said Holek. “It is hard enough for someone to come out -- why make it harder? Help them, because if you support them, many will follow. There is support (out there).”

In today’s world of sports, Holek said people are more accepting of women being gay than men.

“It seems as though being a gay male in sports is something that is not so accepted,” said Holek. “Why is it that, as a culture, we are more comfortable seeing two men holding guns than holding hands? Accept one for who they are, not who they choose to be with. If it does not affect your life, why does it matter?”


It is time to put an end to homophobic myths regarding sports. Such as: gay athletes are unwanted on their team or in the locker room; gay athletes prefer soft or ‘artistic’ sports to contact sports; lesbians prefer softball or hockey to other sports; and girls who excel at sports must be gay. Such double standards exist as well: that gay men have a less desire to play sports, while gay women have a greater desire to play sports, than straight women.

Demarsh said these attitudes need to stop if any change is going to happen.

“It’s going to take brave people to evoke change, and from bystanders who are brave enough to stand up and say no, that’s wrong. Gay people can’t win this fight by themselves, they need allies.”

Read in full HERE.

The Tampa Bay Rays say "It Gets Better"

The Tampa Bay Rays have also made a video for the "It Gets Better" project.

And visit our "It Gets Better" page HERE.

Monday, August 29, 2011

En français / Reportage sur le TSIGALEM, le tournoi LGBT de Montpellier

Lu dans Le Midi Libre sur ce tournoi organisé par le Chemin des Cimes, un club membre de la FSGL, membre de la Federation of Gay Games:

Palais des sports Veyrassi, hier, vers 15 h. Des dizaines de participants se disputent un tournoi de badminton, dans la chaleur d’un lieu peu épargné par le soleil. Mais ce tournoi n’est pas tout à fait comme les autres : il s’inscrit dans le cadre de la 4e édition de Tsigalem [ou] "Tournoi sportif international gay et lesbien de Montpellier". Entre deux matches, l’un des organisateurs, Stéphan Castelin, résume : "C’est une rencontre de sport conviviale." Avec plus de 350 participants entre les épreuves de badminton, volley et natation, le succès est au rendez-vous.

"On bénéficie de la venue de nombreux sportifs étrangers. Des Espagnols, des Allemands, des Anglais, ajoute Stéphan. Et puis le tournoi est également ouvert aux hétéros." Parmi eux, Gaëlle et Alexandre, son ami, tous deux montpellierains : "On a un bon copain qui fait partie de l’association (*), nous trouvions plutôt sympa de participer aussi. Je ne suis pas militante de la cause mais j’aime bien l’idée de faire un peu pour en soutenir une."

Un peu plus loin, Nicolas, homosexuel, récupère d’un de ses matches de badminton. "C’est une façon de revendiquer une forme de visibilité. On n’a pas juste des talons et une plume dans le…" Stéphan Castelin rectifie : "On ne fait pas de militantisme mais on œuvre pour lutter contre l’homophobie dans le sport." Et pour y parvenir, son association, Chemin des cimes, demande "à tous les clubs, quels que soient les sports concernés, de signer la charte contre cette discrimination".

Présentée en octobre dernier par Rama Yade, alors ministre des Sports, elle a déjà été ratifiée par des dizaines de clubs (lire ci-contre) et par plusieurs fédérations, comme le tennis, le basket-ball ou encore le hockey. "Tant qu’il n’y a pas de progrès de réalisés, ce genre de tournoi aura toujours lieu d’être", conclut Stéphan Castelin.

Ben Cohen and Kurt Dahl at Chicago Gay World Series

Ben Cohen is in Chicago for the kickoff of the NAGAAA Softball World Series, where he met Federation of Gay Games copresident Kurt Dahl and his partner Jeff at the opening ceremony at Navy Pier.

Our apologies for the photo quality!

Here's a story on local TV news on Ben:

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Coming soon in Cleveland: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

From Cleveland Meetings, news on some projects just opened or soon to open in Cleveland:

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum – New Exhibit, Inductions + Renovation (May 2011 – 2012)

Premiering at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is Women Who Rock: Vision, Passion, Power, an exhibition spotlighting more than 70 female music artists and how they changed the face of music. The exhibit includes artifacts, video and listening stations featuring the likes of Ma Rainey, Wanda Jackson, Tina Turner, Joan Jett, Chrissie Hynde, Madonna and Lady Gaga.

The Rock Hall induction ceremony returns to Cleveland on April 14, 2012. The weeklong celebrations will bring a whole new level of excitement to the city.

At the same time in 2012, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum will have completed an ambitious $35 million redesign and the construction and operation of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s Library and Archives in downtown Cleveland.


The Phillies say "It Gets Better"

The Philadelphia Phillies Orioles are the latest baseball team to put out a video for the "It Gets Better" project.

And visit our "It Gets Better" page HERE.

A look back at Equal Ground's Colombo Pride in Sri Lanka

Colombo Pride, organized with FGG member Equal Ground, has ended, but you can find out more about the event on the website of Colombo Spirit HERE, and on Equal Ground's website HERE.

Prior to the event, Colombo Spirit spoke with Equal Ground's Rosanna Flamer-Caldera:

Colombo Spirit talks to Rosanna Flamer Caldera on Colombo Pride 2011

Sri Lankan born, Rosanna Flamer-Caldera was the former Co-Secretary General to the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA), and is a founding member of the Women’s Support Group (1999) and EQUAL GROUND (2004), a mixed LGBTIQ organisation in Sri Lanka.

Completing seven years of operation in Sri Lanka this year, EQUAL GROUND is a non-profit organization seeking human and political rights for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Questioning (LGBTIQ) community in the island. Being the only organization in Sri Lanka to incorporate all members of the LGBTIQ community, and its heterosexual allies, its mission is to promote equality for all individuals.

Chatting with Rosanna, she tells me that EQUAL GROUND did not spring up overnight. Rather, it had tough beginnings, as does any new organisation. She recounts how the Board of Trustees dipped into their own pockets to provide funding for the organisation. However, following the first six months, which were focussed on the ‘setting up’ process, things later picked up, with the support of several individuals/organisations.

EQUAL GROUND counts it lucky that they have not had any issues in dealing with the Government in certain matters, and has even been able to avoid the red tape of organisation listing, by registering themselves as a ‘trust’.

In the wake of the 2004 Tsunami, EQUAL GROUND called out to the queer community overseas, and were able to raise a significant amount of money to assist with relief and rehabilitation in the affected areas in Sri Lanka. All funds that came into the organisation, from donor agencies, were spent on the provisions etc, with all administrative costs still being borne by the Board of Trustees of EQUAL GROUND.

In 2005, Rosanna co-authored a booklet titled ‘Human, Right?’ – a Human Rights publication aimed at encouraging a better understanding of LGBTIQ people in Sri Lanka, and also abroad (this was also translated into Sinhala and Tamil). EQUAL GROUND also initiated the first ever Colombo PRIDE event in 2005, one that is now held annually in Colombo.

Rosanna, herself, is determined to achieve, what she calls, ‘Equality for all’. I asked her exactly what she means by this.

Well-versed on the subject, she tells me about Article 365A of the Penal Code, which criminalises gross indecency between two people against the order of nature. Many people use this information to bully the LGBT community, but this law applies to both LGBT as well as non-LGBT persons, she stresses.

She also mentions a recent incident when EQUAL GROUND’s attempt to include a paid advertisement about the International Day Against Homophobia was turned down by two leading newspapers in Colombo, for fear of encouraging this “lifestyle”.

Women’s movements and other rights movements in Sri Lanka (Colombo, in particular) are also not very supportive as of yet, Rosanna laments. However she adds that there are a few organisation who are supportive, mainly in areas outside of Colombo, such as Anuradhapura, Nuwara Eliya, Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Galle etc.

EQUAL GROUND strives to lead by example. In light of this, everyone, regardless of whether they are from different ethnicities, classes, castes, are of different orientations, gender identities or language is welcome at our office, Rosanna says. We do not marginalise. Basically, we want every person in Sri Lanka to be treated equal under the law and social structure, she explains.

Moving onto the instigation of Colombo PRIDE, “It all started with a party in June of 2005,” Rosanna claims. Emulating celebrations of diversity in cities such as Toronto and Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sri Lanka too now hosts Colombo PRIDE (in the months of May or June annually – with June being ‘PRIDE month’ globally), aimed at raising awareness about the issues faced by the LGBTIQ community in Sri Lanka and also celebrating diversity.

This week-long celebration consists of events such as an art and photo exhibition, film festival, PRIDE party and rainbow kite festival, which is attended by both LGBT as well as non-LGBT members of the community.

Colombo PRIDE 2011 will also feature these signature events. In addition, there will also be a workshop (focussing on the ‘struggle against homophobic violence’), an Auntie Netta show (speaking to young people about ‘coming out’), as well as a business forum, hosted by LBR/LBO, the British High Commission and EQUAL GROUND (on accepting diversity in business, and its effect on bottomlines).

This year’s event is sponsored by the American, Swiss, Dutch and Norwegian Embassies, as well as the British High Commission, the Goethe-Institut, ETV, The Colombo Spirit, LBR and LBO.

Keep reading Colombo Spirit to find out more details on all events planned for Colombo PRIDE 2011!

Best wishes to our friends on the Eastern Seaboard of the USA, and especially to everyone in Philadelphia for the ASANA Softball World Series!

The Softball World Series organized by member organization ASANA ended this weekend, with a few changes in the program due to the arrival of hurricane Irene. We wish all visitors still in Philadelphia a safe journey home!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Outsports top-100 moments in LGBT sports history: numbers 41-50

Here's a reminder of the latest ten stories in the Outsports series:

Over the rest of the summer we will release our list of the 100 most important moments in gay-sports history. We have focused on specific moments, whether they be a few minutes or a day, that have shaped the course of our history; Many of the faces of those moments will be familiar to our readers.

We focused on what we consider to be the “gay-sports movement.” There were certainly amazing gay and lesbian athletes before the Stonewall riots in 1969, but there wasn’t a push for gay equality in sports until after that fateful day in New York City. Our moments range from July 1, 1969 to July 1, 2011.

We note in this group two Gay Games-related entries: the founding of FGG member organization IGBO, and the coming out story of Gay Games Ambassador Brian Sims.

41) The founding of the International Gay Bowling Org. / 1980 / bowling
42) Lana Lawless wins right to play on LPGA Tour / 2010 / golf
43) Brian Sims tells his story / 2009 / college football
44) Kye Allums comes out / 2010 / college basketball
45) Hudson Taylor openly supports gay rights / 2010 / wrestling
46) NBA fines Kobe Bryant $100k / 2011 / NBA
47) Rene Portland leaves Penn State / 2007 / college basketball
48) Figure skater Andrej Nepela named Slovakia athlete of the century / 2000 / figure skating
49) IOC ends mandatory gender testing / 1999 / Olympics
50) Rick Welts comes out / 2011 / NBA

Outsports on Sheryl Swopes, San Diego Padres

Outsports continues to be a great source of news about LGBT sport. Here are some of the stories we've noticed several weeks ago (and never posted... sorry!):

Sheryl Swopes is no longer gay (we're still happy to have her as a B for LGBT sport):

Sheryl Swoopes, who came out as a lesbian to much fanfare in 2005, is now engaged to marry a man. Mechelle Voepel of ESPN uncovers the news and says she first learned of Swoopes’ new relationship status last autumn.

Keep reading HERE.

San Diego Padres support "team respect":
GLSEN’S Sports Project, which launched earlier this year, got some amazing news when their San Diego chapter announced the San Diego Padres have signed the group’s Team Respect Challenge. In the pledge, created by project director Pat Griffin, the team promises to avoid slurs, remind teammates who use bullying language that it’s “not ok,” and treat all teammates with respect, among other items.

Keep reading HERE.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Brian Sims speaking today at Philadelphia LGBT media summit

NLGJA National Convention & LGBT Media Summit Frday 2:30 pm, Panels & Workshops

Moderator: LZ Granderson
Panelists: Steve Buckley, Jemele Hill, Joanna Lohman, Jeff McMillan, Brian Sims, Hudson Taylor

Being gay in sports isn’t just for retirement anymore. In the past year, out athletes are playing on the field under the global glare of mainstream sports coverage, leaving the locker room and heading home to their same-sex partners – all openly. In this plenary, hear from some of the biggest names in sports, and the people who cover them, about how media coverage and league culture have to adapt to the new reality of the gay professional athlete.

Info HERE.

Congrats to Blake Skjellerup for new national title!

News about new Gay Games Ambassador Blake Skjellerup, whom Sydneysiders can meet next week at a dinner where he will be welcomed by cyclist Michelle Ferris to the FGG along with diver Matthew Mitcham (info HERE). Let's all wish Blake good luck at the NZ Winter Games this weekend in Dunedin!

Skjellerup Takes National Title in Dunedin

Kiwi Olympic speed skater Blake Skjellerup has claimed his latest national title after a clean sweep at the New Zealand National Speed Skating Championships in Dunedin.

Skjellerup, who was New Zealand’s only speed skater at last year’s Vancouver Winter Olympic Games, won all four of his individual races in the two-day event as well as racing with his Auckland club’s relay team who also won their race.

The wins put Christchurch-born Skjellerup in good stead for the New Zealand Winter Games which are also running in Dunedin at the same time. The speed skating portion of the games begins on Saturday 27th with skaters from around the world competing.

Skjellerup said he was pleased with the results from his first competition of the season and looking forward to getting back into international competition.

“It’s always wonderful to be able to compete here at home and it felt great to be back out on the ice racing. It’s fantastic that New Zealand has the facilities to host international competitions like this and I hope people will take advantage of the fact that we have some international skaters here and come down and cheer on us locals.”

Off the ice, the openly gay athlete is heavily involved with community work including fronting the anti-bullying campaign Pink Shirt Day, conducting a nationwide diversity and acceptance tour through secondary schools, and appearing in the 2011 Red Nose Day TV commercial.

Skjellerup recently delivered the keynote address at the Human Rights Conference at the Vancouver Out Games and is next week being inducted as an ambassador to the Federation of Gay Games in Sydney.

Skjellerup is also spending time fundraising for his campaign for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia by approaching corporates, foundations and asking individuals to donate through his website www.blakeskjellerup.com.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Coming soon in Cleveland: African Elephant Crossing at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

From Cleveland Meetings, news on some projects just opened or soon to open in Cleveland:

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo – African Elephant Crossing (Opened May 5, 2011)
As wildlife projects go, they don’t get much bigger than the massive African Elephant Crossing at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. Five acres of grasslands, swimming ponds and a heated outdoor range make a homey habitat for five elephants, along with an assortment of other creatures ranging from plumed birds to meerkats and African rock pythons. Get personal with the pachyderms thanks to open-air views, a nose-to-trunk window, an easily-spotted feeding station and gated elephant crossing and an education center modeled after an African village.


Gay Games VIII Gala Concert: "Moon River"

Read about this concert HERE.

Hudson Taylor on MSNBC today

Athlete Ally's Hudson Taylor with Thomas Robert on MSNBC.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

IAAF elections a major flop

As the FGG looks forward to its 2011 Annual General Assembly, our delegates may take some comfort in the fact tht however long and complicated voting may seem in the FGG, it's far worse in the IAAF, whose latest attempt includes the rejection in a revote of its election of its first female VP From insidethegames.biz:

August 24 - Amid shambolic scenes here, Sergey Bubka kept his place as vice-president of the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), along with London 2012 chairman Sebastian Coe, having earlier in the day thought his chances of succeeding Lamine Diack as President had suffered a huge blow.

The vote had been re-run after technical problems with the electronic voting system had emerged earlier in the day at the world governing body's Congress during the election for the treasurer.

Following what IAAF general secretary Pierre Weiss described as "crisis talks" during the lunch break, the electronic system was abandoned and a manual method used instead. But only after there had been a further delay when a photocopier being used to prepare voting papers broke down.

Each of the 200 countries was then called up one-by-one to cast their votes into the ballot box - a marathon process that would have left even Paula Radcliffe feeling exhausted.

The re-run followed the stunning moment when Bubka had polled only 118 of the 199 votes in the election for the vice-president and was the one out of the five candidates who failed to get one of the four places.


Even after it was held again, confusion continued with the scrutineers initially having to try to reconcile a discrepancy of two votes and needed to do a recount, which took nearly an hour.

In the end Bubka, the 1988 Olympic pole vault champion and world-record holder, who is considered the rising star of sports administration, had his political ambitions rekindled by scraping through as the fourth of the five candidates.

The biggest loser in the re-run [Canadian Abby] Hoffman, who polled only 122 votes in the second ballot, which was topped by Hersh with 175.


It was hardly a day when the IAAF reinforced its claim to be the number one Olympic sport and showed that it was a forward-thinking organisation.

But Diack claimed it had no reason to feel ashamed. "I'm not embarrassed by the election," he said. "Technology has failed us and we had to go back to manual voting. This was just a technical glitch and we just have to live with it."

Others were less forgiving of the situation. "I've won General Elections and I've lost General Elections in about a quarter of the time," said Coe, tongue firmly in cheek.

The person with the most reason to complain was Hoffman, who thought she had been elected as the IAAF's first female vice-president only to have it cruelly snatched it away. "The whole election process was a pretty messy affair," she told insidethegames.

The 64-year-old Canadian 1966 Commonwealth Games 880 yards champion and former director general of Sports Canada did not buy into the theory that she had only been elected initially thanks to the electronic voting system.

"Whatever the dynamics was underpinning the elections in the morning, when I had enough votes to be elected, it was a completely different dynamic in the afternoon," she said. "The reality is that the one [election] in the afternoon was the one that counted. But I'm not happy obviously about how things unfolded during the day."

Hoffman believes that once reality set in among the delegates that they had voted in a woman ahead of such a high-profile figure as Bubka it led to a change of mind. "Some people could say that the idea of having a female vice-president seemed like a good idea but when the prospect of it became a reality it wasn't so appealing," she said.


25 August 2011 / John Amaechi at Manchester Pride debate on homophobia in sport

"The Same Team: Sport Stars Coming Out of the Closet"

For years, homosexuality within sport has been kept in the closet. Homosexuals have barely broken the barrier when it comes to being openly gay. There seems to exist a hostile environment around gay athletes which limits the ability to express their sexual identity. But why does such a stigma exist?

Will the recent coming out of rugby player Gareth Thomas and cricketer Steve Davies lead the way for other sport stars? Manchester Pride invites you to join a live debate with a panel of openly gay sports personalities about homophobia, sexual identity and why it has taken so long for athletes to feel comfortable with their sexual orientation.

Register HERE.

Are you an active athlete over 50? Compete wants to talk to you!

Compete magazine is looking for men and women over 50 who are still active in their local sports scene. E-mail buddy@competenetwork.com to be featured in an upcoming issue.

Gay Games VIII Gala Concert: "Va, pensiero"

Gay Games VII Festival Choir and Gay Games Symphony Orchestra at Gay Games VIII, Cologne.

Read about this concert HERE.

Gay Games VIII Gala Concert: "Somewhere" medley

Read about this concert HERE.

Gay Games VIII Gala Concert: "The Voice Inside"

Gala concert- highlight of the Gay Games Cologne

The great gala concert of the VIII. Gay Games Cologne 2010 attracted on Thursday evening (5 August) more than 800 people into the university of music and dance in Cologne.

Together with hundreds of musicians and singers the enthusiastic audience turned into an impressive scenery at this cultural highlight of the Gay Games Cologne.

A delegation of the “Rosa Funken”, who were already known to the international guests from the Village at the Neumarkt, opened the concert as flight attendants by introducing the audience to the “security procedures”. The atmosphere was thrilled by the professional performance from “Cheers San Francisco”, the gold-medal winners of the Gay Games Cheerleading Competition.

Under direction from Sten Kuth, Malte Fuhrer and humorous Helena Marion Scholz presented a wonderful program, that could be described best as “Cologne meets America”.

“Stimmfusion Köln”, a joint venture from the nine gay- lesbian choirs in Cologne with more than 100 voices, started with “Colonia Chorale”, a newly texted “Candide” from Leonhard Bernstein, arranged by Steve Nobles.

Nobles did arranged as well to an extended part the coordination of the international musicians. Followed by the Beach Boys “Good Vibrations”, as well as by “Junimond” from Rio-Reiser; and a German text about the Gay Games 2010 was set to the music of “Rum and Coca Cola”.

The specifically for the Gay Games Cologne set orchestra with musicians from the Rainbow Symphony orchestras in Paris and Cologne started their presentation with “Moon River” from Henry Mancinis. The Festival Choir, initiated for the Gay Games as well, sang the “prisoners choir” from Verdis “Nabucco”. His way right through ear and heart made “Heimweh noh Kölle”, a cologne classic from Ostermann; and the title “something inside so strong”.

1 October 2011 / 2010 Tom Waddell Award winner to keynote Chicago library 30th anniversary event

A message from our friends at the Gerber/Hart Library in Chicago, which hosted the Gay Games Memorial Quilt exhibition at Gay Games VII in 2010n (find all links HERE):

You are cordially invited to join us on Saturday, October 1 at 7 pm for Making History: One Step at a Time as we celebrate both the 30th anniversary of Gerber/Hart and the 25th anniversary of the American Run for the End of AIDS.Brent Nicholson Earle Our keynote speaker, Brent Nicholson Earle [winner of the 2010 Tom Waddell Award], ran a 9,000 mile journey around the perimeter of the United States and raised over $300,000 for AIDS charities. He departed New York City on March 1, 1986, and returned 20 months later. A quarter-century later, the efforts of Earle and his support team stand out as one of the most inspired responses to the early years of the AIDS crisis.

Our benefit moves to the Richard J. Klarchek Information Commons, 6501 North Kenmore Avenue. The Information Commons is a spectacular new venue on the campus of Loyola University Chicago situated right on the shore of Lake Michigan. An outdoor balcony will afford attendees a chance to soak in the splendor of the lake while making new friends and renewing old acquaintances.

Tickets are now available for Making History. Admission tickets are $75 and include a dinner buffet, open bar, and entertainment. Benefactor tickets are $130 and include all admission benefits plus a 6 pm pre-event champagne reception with Brent Nicholson Earle, acknowledgment in the benefit program booklet, and a special gift. Tickets are available via PayPal (choose general admission or benefactor), by stopping by Gerber/Hart during open hours, or by calling Gerber/Hart at (773) 381-8030 .

If you would like to be a sponsor of Making History: One Step at a Time, please complete a sponsorship form and return it to the library.

The first prize in our drawing this year is an Apple iPad. Tickets are $5 each or 6 for $25 and can be purchased at the benefit. Can't attend? No problem! You can still support the library by purchasing tickets in advance via PayPal, in person at the Library during open hours, or by phone: (773) 381-8030 .

Our benefit silent auction moves online this year and will begin on October 15. We enthusiastically welcome your donation of goods and services to our online auction. Download an auction donation form and send it in with your item(s) today.

Parking is available at the Loyola University parking ramp for $7. Enter the campus at Sheridan Road and Winthrop Avenue. Proceed approximately 150 feet. Turn left. Signs on the parking ramp say "Welcome to Loyola, Parking Entrance." The Richard J. Klarchek Information Commons is a three-minute walk going east from the parking ramp.

27 August 2011 / Pride Sports/Team Manchester at Manchester Pride Lifestyle Expo

Pride Sports and member clubs of Team Manchester will be present at this weekend's Manchester Pride Lifestyle Expo.

The Lifestyle Expo is an undercover outdoor exhibition space designed so the public can find out about community groups, their health, sports clubs, legal advice and much more. There are usually over 50 exhibitors covering a wide range of organisations. The site is hugely popular over the Big Weekend and stands fill up fast.

The dates for the Big Weekend 2011 are the 26-29 August 2011. TRADING DAYS are the 27, 28 & 29 August 2011.

More on Tim Hardaway, with comments from John Amaechi

Gay Games Ambassador John Amaechi, whose coming out provoked Tim Hardaway's homophobic reaction, is quoted by Dave Zirkin in his Sports Illustrated column on Hardaway's recent public position in defense of LGBT rights. An excerpt from the column:

Hardaway is the last person you would expect to speak out for gay rights. It was just four years ago when Hardaway said "I hate gay people" on a Miami radio show after John Amaechi became the first former NBA player to come out of the closet. Hardaway went further by adding, "I don't like to be around gay people. I'm homophobic. I don't like it. It shouldn't be in the world for that or in the United States for it. So yeah, I don't like it."

Hardaway was hit with an avalanche of criticism. He apologized, even promised to go into counseling and -- as public figures are prone to do -- pledged to change. Now it looks like he actually has.

I spoke with Amaechi to get his thoughts on Hardaway's change of heart. Amaechi said that he "heard about the story. I was in contact with the people he did his 'emergency rehab' with after his 'I hate gay people rant.' They were underwhelmed to say the least. Back then his contrition seemed more to do with the financial and reputation hit he had taken in the aftermath. However, it seems to me that this is a far more genuine piece of outreach ... I hope this is a story of true redemption rather than a savvy p.r. ploy. Either way, he is at least saying the right words, and that will make a positive difference."

Read in full HERE.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


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Sorry for the inconvenience!

TSIGALEM multisport tournament in Montpellier

News from Chemin des Cimes, a member club of FGG member FSGL:

It's not too late to register for this weekend's multisport tournament in Montpellier!

For the fourth year,our association Chemin des Cimes is pleased to welcome you to th" TSIGALEM, Montpellier’s International Gay and Lesbian Sports Tournament, that will take place between August 26th (Friday) and August 28th (Sunday) in Montpellier. This year, sports included in the tournament will be: Volleyball, Swimming and Badminton.

We hope many of you will be able to join us for this event.

Info HERE.

24 September 2011 / Austin Frontrunners host International Frontrunners weekend and AGM

Austin Front Runners is excited to host an International Front Runners Weekend,
along with the 2011 IFR Annual General Meeting during the weekend of Sept. 24th and 25th, 2011.

ALL the Front Runners (delegates and members) are invited to this event!

Register HERE.

South African government apologizes for inaction on LGBT hate crimes

From Behind the Mask:

South Africa’s Deputy Minister of Police Maggie Sotyu, last week offered an unconditional apology to all those who have been brutalised, attacked, discriminated against, and raped because of their sexual orientation.

“Homophobia and hate crimes are unacceptable, and we are saying as ANC-led (African National Congress, South Africa’s ruling party) Government, enough is enough. We will and cannot tolerate that, some section of our citizens continue to suffer in painful silence whist their own Constitution protect them to live the lifestyle they choose, lawfully,” said Sotyu in her key-note speech read at the first ever lesbian conference in Khayelitsha, Cape Town.

The successful debut conference was organized by Free Gender, a lesbian-women’s rights organisation based in the township.

The conference was held last week on August 5 and 6, and came about as a result of the plight faced by black lesbians in townships. The aim of the meeting was raising awareness and empowerment of black lesbians.

Funeka Soldaat, founder of Free Gender (pictured) said that the point of the conference was, “To open conversation among ourselves as lesbians and also with the civil society around issues of homophobia, hate crimes and how they link to gender based violence.

“These conferences are important for the visibility of lesbians in our communities engaged in positive things.”

Speaking about the scourge of hate crimes in South African Sotyu said, “Hate crimes on the basis of sexual orientation must be countered just like hate crimes on the basis of race and religion, because our progressive Constitution does just that, it counteracts any sort of human rights abuse. Just like we bravely stood against the tyranny of apartheid, we must indeed together stand up to intolerance, discrimination and violence against diversity.”

Research conducted by the South African LGBTI organisation, the Triangle Project found that 86 per cent of black lesbian women in Western Cape say they live in fear of sexual assault. Reports also state that more than 30 lesbians have been killed in corrective rape cases in South Africa since 1998, yet only one case has resulted in a conviction.

Sotyu also lauded Free Gender for what she termed a “ground breaking approach”, and for heeding the call for communities to start working together with the Government.

The deputy minister said, “South Africa as a nation still needs to continue affirming the character of our society as one founded and based on tolerance and mutual respect. Therefore, the dialogue that we seek is the one that must affirm people with different sexual orientation as part of our communities. The Constitution is non-ambiguous on this issue, and sends a clear provision which allows all adults to choose relationships while enjoying equal protection by the Law.”

Meanwhile, the national task team set up by the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development to combat violent hate crimes against LGBTI South Africans, formally began its work on Wednesday last week.

The task team includes six people representing the judiciary, police and department of social development and six representatives from the LGBTI community. Free Gender also part of the task team.

23 August 2011 / Team Chicago supports Midwest Valor Games

Info from World Sport Chicago via FGG member Team Chicago about a sporting event for wounded and disabled current and former US military persons. 

Also note: We are looking for stories of wounded or disabled military personnel training for Gay Games 9. Please contact Kelly at kstevens@gaygames.org if you would like to share your story.

World Sport Chicago, the legacy of Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games, is proud to host the inaugural Valor Games – Midwest, a three day competition for wounded, ill or injured veterans and active duty service members. The goal of the event, running from Tuesday, August 23, 2011 through Thursday, August 25th, 2011, is to provide an incredible sport competition in Chicago for wounded, ill or injured veterans and active duty service members from across the Midwest. Promoting healthy, active lifestyles is important to successful community reintegration and overall life satisfaction and we are proud to support such endeavors. This is the first regional event of its kind in the country and is being organized by World Sport Chicago in partnership with the Chicago Park District, the Save Foundation, ISFA and U.S. Paralympics.

The event begins at the historic Soldier Field on August 23 with Opening Ceremonies and field event competitions. Athletes will also have access to the Illinois Warrior Summit (www.illinoiswarriorsummit.com), Welcome Home celebration from the VA, and Paralympic sport demonstrations. The second day of competition features a cycling criterium in a parking lot at US Cellular Field. Various types of cycling equipment will be used, including: typical upright bicycles, recumbent bikes, handcycles and tandem bikes. Archery will also be contested at this venue, in left field. Competition on the third and final day will include powerlifting and virtual rowing opportunities.

Resources will be available to the athletes to learn more about sport opportunities in their local communities. Athletes may be active duty or veterans from any era. Their disabilities may include: amputees, post traumatic stress, spinal cord injuries, stroke, traumatic brain injuries, visual disabilities, or any disability rating from the VA.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Michelle Ferris to welcome new Gay Games Ambassadors at Sydney event

Gay Games Ambassadors Ferris, Mitcham, Leigh Ann Naidoo, John Amaechi
at Gay Games VIII in Cologne, Germany in 2010
From the Sydney Star Observer, news of Ambassador Michelle Ferris, who will be welcoming Matthew Mitcham and Blake Skjellerup as new Gay Games Ambassadors on 1 September 2011:

Two-time Olympic silver medallist Michelle Ferris will be on hand at the upcoming Federation of Gay Games 2011 New Ambassador Launch Dinner to officially welcome some new faces into the Gay Games family.

Ferris, who was appointed a Gay Games ambassador in 2008, will present fellow Australian athlete Matthew Mitcham and New Zealand speed skater Blake Skjellerup as the two newest ambassadors. It’ll be a reunion of sorts for Ferris and Mitcham, who both travelled to the Cologne Gay Games last year to support the Australian contingent.

“It was a such a great atmosphere at Cologne — meeting all these people from around the world and enjoying not just the games, but the social side of it as well. I’m looking forward to catching up with Matthew and all the Team Sydney members, as well as welcoming Blake as an ambassador,” Ferris told the Star Observer.

Ferris said she’d suspected after last year’s trip that Mitcham would be eager to make his ties to the Federation of Gay Games official.

“After spending a couple of days with the other ambassadors and getting a feel of the family atmosphere there, after having firsthand experience of that, if you get to the end without wanting to be a part of it, there’d be something wrong really.”

The lavish gala dinner, to be held at the Hyde Park Marriott Hotel on September 1, is an opportunity for the 314 Team Sydney members who attended the Cologne games to reunite and relive their experiences. Dr Kerryn Phelps will MC the dinner, while Ferris will give a talk about her experiences as an ambassador.

INFO: Tickets to the dinner are limited and bookings are essential. Tickets are $70 for Team Sydney and SGLBA members, $80 for non-members. Visit www.surveymonkey.com/s/FGG or email TS_treasurer@teamsydney.org.au

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.

Billie Jean King chairs "Tennis in the Park"

Gay Games Ambassador Billie Jean King chairs Tennis in the Parks, a partnership between the United States Tennis Association - USTA and National Park and Recreation Association that provides opportunities for the public to learn and play tennis.

Learn more HERE.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Can homophobes change? The case of Tim Hardaway

During his time as an NBA player, Tim Hardaway became infamous as a homophobe for remarks made (and remade) regarding the coming out of Gay Games Ambassador John Amaechi. Back in the town where he played in university, he's taking quite a different position (h/t Outsports), as reported by the El Paso Times:

Basketball legend Tim Hardaway on Wednesday called on El Pasoans to grow up as he's had to when it comes to homosexuality.

In town for a golf outing, Hardaway attended a press conference urging citizens to oppose recall efforts against Mayor John Cook and city Reps. Susie Byrd and Steve Ortega. The three are being recalled by a group of religious conservatives who are angry the three voted to restore health benefits for gay and unmarried partners of city employees -- despite a ballot initiative in November that had abolished them.

In asking citizens to oppose the recall, Hardaway said he was asking them not to do what he did.

Hardaway, a standout at the University of Texas at El Paso and a five-time NBA all-star, got into hot water in 2007 when he went on the radio and said, "You know, I hate gay people, so let it be known," according to the ESPN website. "I don't like gay people and I don't want to be around gay people. I am homophobic. I don't like it. It shouldn't be in the United States."

Faced with a backlash from friends, family and the NBA, Hardaway quickly apologized for what he said.

"I opened my eyes and went to counseling," he said Thursday.

Tom Brown, leader of the recall drive, was not available for comment on Thursday.

But supporters say they are motivated by frustration that Cook, Byrd and Ortega disregarded the outcome of the November initiative. They also say they harbor no hatred toward gays -- but that they think it's wrong to use tax dollars
to support what they believe is an immoral lifestyle.

Hardaway wasn't having it on Thursday as he stood, clad all in white, in Lower Tom Lea Park.

"I would say grow up and catch up with the times," he said. "It's all around the world."

Hardaway said that what made his earlier statements especially shameful is that, as a black man, he should understand discrimination. And so should El Paso, as it has in the past, he said.

He recalled how in 1966 at the height of the civil rights movement, his former coach, Don Haskins, led a team with five black starters past an all-white University of Kentucky team to win a national championship.

"A lot of people said, 'What is Don Haskins doing?' " Hardaway said. "But El Paso understood."

Keep reading HERE.

Pro volleyball player Jane Collymore says "It Gets Better"

Pro volleyball player (and singer) Jane Collymore, with the support of Volleywood.com, has made this video for the "It Gets Better" project.

Visit our "It Gets Better" page HERE.

Friday, August 19, 2011

FAQ / What's the minimum age to participate in the Gay Games?

Tom Waddell, founder of the Gay Games,
at Gay Games II, with daughter Jessica
From our series of answers to Frequently Asked Questions

As a rule, the minimum age to compete has always been 18 on the date of opening ceremony for that edition of the Gay Games.

This is usually required for insurance liability.

Children, accompanied by their parent or guardian, are welcome as spectators at cultural events, sports competitions, and ceremonies. Some Gay Games host organizations make particular efforts to offer special activities, visits, excursions, outings, for the children of participants and visitors.

Memorable IGLA moments

FGG member organization International Gay and Lesbian Aquatics (IGLA) is asking an interesting question on its Facebook discussion page HERE:

What was your most memorable IGLA moment? Was it enjoying the famous and now infamous Canadian hospitality in Toronto in 2001? Was it New York's Pink Flamingo at the 1994 Gay Games when Team New York Aquatics teammates circled the pool in angel wings before TNYA president Rick Reynolds read the names of all IGLA members lost to AIDS since the Gay Games began? How have you been changed by IGLA?

Head to Facebook to contribute your IGLA memory!

Gay Games Ambassador Blake Skjellerup back home to compete

After speaking at the 2nd North American Outgames human rights conference (and taking a medal in the 5K road race) new Gay Games Ambassador Blake Skjellerup is heading home to New Zealand to compete in two events in Dunedin: the national speed skating championships on 25-26 August, and straight after that the New Zealand Winter Games, where he'll be skating on 27-28 August.

About the NZWG:

The 100% Pure New Zealand Winter Games is unique in the world of winter sports. The concept was an initiative of Sir Eion Edgar.

First held in 2009, the Winter Games NZ is an elite, international winter sports competition, owned and run by the Winter Games New Zealand Trust with the support of the New Zealand Government, the New Zealand Olympic Committee and SPARC.

The Games were established to provide elite winter sports athletes with the opportunity to push the boundaries without the pressure to produce the perfect performance as in the Winter Olympics or the Winter X Games. It provides the ultimate testing ground where the athletes can experiment and explore their limits against world class competition.

Another unique factor for the 2009 Games was that all of Otago was involved - Queenstown, Wanaka, Naseby and Dunedin.

The Games Board set four clear objectives for these first Winter Games in 2009:
1. To attract 800 competitors and 400 supporters/team management to the Games
2. To successfully host a Winter Games NZ at an international level as per the requirements of the relevant international sports bodies.
3. To obtain an international television audience reach of 300 million primarily in New Zealand's target tourism markets.
4. To financially at least break even.

Not only were all four objectives met but the quality of the competitors competing exceeded all expectations and, significantly, the international media profile was excellent.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Brian Sims finishes term as President of Equality Pennsylvania

From Pennsylvania Gay News, news about Gay Games Ambassador Brian Sims:

After two years at the helm of the board of Equality Pennsylvania, president Brian Sims has stepped down, and the agency has brought on both new board leadership and members.

Sims will end his term Sept. 1, and Adrian Shanker, the Allentown-based vice president of Pennsylvania Diversity Network, will replace him.

“I knew for certain what I wanted Equality Pennsylvania to look like three months, six months, 12 months out,” Sims said of his decision, “and I would have run for another term if I thought the organization still needed the internal work done that I’ve been doing, but we are in a very strong place right now.”

Sims led the board through a period of integral redevelopment, said Equality PA executive director Ted Martin.

“He brought stability to an organization that was going through a lot of transition,” Martin said. “And he maintained that stability that allowed the organization to get where we are today.”

In the past two years, Equality PA took such steps as hiring Martin as executive director, expanding its board to include members from all corners of the state and launching its 501 (c)(4) political arm and Harrisburg office.

Additionally, the agency has noted policy achievements such as the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation’s relaxation of its gender-marker regulations for transgender individuals, and organizational developments including the successful town-hall meeting series and the hiring of an outreach coordinator in partnership with the Human Rights Campaign.

Most recently, the organization finalized its paperwork to launch a political action committee, the first of its kind in the state that will focus specifically on electing LGBT and ally candidates.

“I think the PAC can provide a wake-up call to a lot of elected officials,” Martin said. “The LGBT community isn’t just talk; the LGBT community is now action. We can offer funds, support candidates and issues and work to elect good people.”

Last weekend, Martin attended a conference with about 40 other heads of statewide LGBT organizations and said that, with the creation of the PAC, which is expected to formally launch in mid-September, Equality PA is on equal footing with other agencies.

Sims said the 501 (c)(4) and PAC were goals of his two years ago that he’s thrilled have come to fruition.

“Giving Pennsylvania’s gay citizens a voice in the political atmosphere will be one of the defining characteristics of this organization 50 years from now,” he said. “We’re going to be extremely active in the next political cycle, and I think 2012 will see Equality Pennsylvania all over the country.”

The new PAC will mesh well with Shanker’s goals of building an LGBT and ally voter base and remind ally lawmakers of their commitment to the LGBT community.

Shanker, 24, comes to the presidency after spearheading successful efforts to secure three pro-LGBT ordinances in the Lehigh Valley in the past year — domestic-partner measures in Easton and Allentown and an LGBT nondiscrimination ordinance in Bethlehem.

“I’m very excited to be leading Equality Pennsylvania through this exciting time in Pennsylvania, where I think we have an opportunity to start making some real change locally and at some point soon hopefully at the state level,” Shanker said.

While his longterm goal centers on helping bring Pennsylvania “out of the Stone Age” and passing pro-LGBT measures such as a statewide nondiscrimination ordinance, he will also focus on educating lawmakers — in some creative ways.

For instance, at last weekend’s Pride celebration in Wilkes Barre, Shanker encouraged those traveling to nearby New York to get married to mail the receipts from all of their wedding expenses to their elected representatives, to demonstrate “how much they’re spending in another state because our state has failed in its responsibility to adequately represent its citizens by providing equal rights. We don’t have one right from the state of Pennsylvania, so we’re going to be aggressively educating our elected officials about the need for such laws as marriage equality, nondiscrimination, antibullying and hate-crime prevention.”

Shanker, who will resign from his role at PDN to take on the EQPA board presidency, will be joined by newly elected vice president Lisa Kustra, the Pittsburgh-based CEO of a consulting firm.

Also new to the board are Philadelphia-based members Adam Hymans, a board member at the William Way LGBT Community Center and donor engagement officer at The Philadelphia Foundation, and Rick Naughton, an attorney with Sellers Dorsey and former board member at Equality Forum.

The board also welcomed Dr. Michelle Angelo of Wayne, Fiona Hensley of Meadville and Jessica Rothschild of Scranton.

Read more: PGN-The Philadelphia Gay News. Phila gay news. philly news - EQPA gets new board prez launches PAC

En français / Appel aux responsables du sport français d'agir pour mettre fin aux pratiques discriminatoires du Qatar

Communiqué de presse du 18 août 2011 de l'association "Elus locaux contre le SIDA" présidée par Jean Luc Romero:

La Coupe du Monde de football au Qatar interdite aux homosexuels et aux séropositifs !

Jean-Luc Romero somme les deux décideurs du football français et mondial et la ministre française des sports de réagir

La balle est désormais dans leur camp !

Le choix du Qatar pour organiser la Coupe du Monde de football en 2022 pose de très graves problèmes selon Jean-Luc Romero, président d’Elus Locaux Contre le Sida : le président d’ELCS rappelle cette situation dramatique : le Qatar punit l’homosexualité de 5 ans de prison et de 90 coups de fouet ! Cela signifie que tout homosexuel pourrait être arrêté et placé en détention lors de la Coupe du Monde ! Le Qatar exige également un test de séropositivité pour toute personne souhaitant résider plus d’un mois sur son territoire. Si la séropositivité est découverte, la personne est tout simplement expulsée ! Ces discriminations sont tout simplement inacceptables, intolérables et en complète contradiction avec les valeurs portées par le football, des valeurs de solidarité, d’entraide et de tolérance.

Jean-Luc Romero a donc saisi officiellement Mme Chantal Jouano, ministre des sports, M. Noël Le Graët, président de la Fédération française de football, et M. Sepp Blatter, président de la FIFA, leur demandant expressément une intervention auprès du Qatar afin que ce pays dépénalise l’homosexualité et mette fin aux discriminations subies par les personnes vivant avec le sida.

Jean-Luc Romero attend une vraie action déterminée et non une réaction méprisante telle que l’a été celle de Sepp Blatter qui, saisi de ce problème, a simplement déclaré : « je pense qu’ils devraient s’abstenir de toute activité sexuelle ». Trait d’esprit, sur la forme, grotesque et, sur le fond, porteur de bien des préjugés …

Le président d’ELCS rappelle que, au-delà des intérêts financiers, c’est bien les valeurs qui doivent primer. Il fait le parallèle avec les Conférences internationales sur le sida : les organisateurs de ces manifestations ont toujours refusé de les tenir dans des pays qui interdisaient aux personnes séropositives d’entrer sur leur territoire. Ils ont été fermes sur ce principe même quand il s’agissait de la première puissance mondiale, les Etats-Unis. Cette détermination a payé puisque les USA ont aboli cette législation discriminatoire permettant, en 2012, la tenue à Washington de cette conférence.

Jean-Luc Romero le dit clairement : si Chantal Jouano, Noël Le Graët et Sepp Blatter n’interviennent pas, ils valideront le fait que le développement économique passe avant la dignité, que les discriminations sont acceptables quand les enjeux financiers sont importants et donc que la Coupe du Monde n’est vraiment pas une fête pour tous ! A leur façon – celle de ceux qui souhaitent conserver les mains propres – ils justifieront la haine et la violence homophobes.

Jean-Luc Romero attend désormais de voir quelles valeurs les décideurs veulent voir porter en haut de l’affiche. La balle est dans leur camp !