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.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

FGG/London Angels/Paris Aquatique appeal on ABC News

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player
From ABC News:
At the Queen Mother Sports Centre in the heart of London, a group of medal-winning athletes is training for one of the most demanding Olympic competitions-- synchronized swimming. Their sport requires precision, teamwork and stamina.

But no matter how hard they train, no matter how good they are, this team isn't welcome at the 2012 Summer Games, for one simple reason: They're men.

Synchronized swimming was first demonstrated at the Olympics in 1952, and didn't become an official sport until 1984, but then it was only opened to female teams. The Out To Swim Angels are Britain's only male synchronized swimming team. Last month they [with FGG and Paris Aquatique] wrote a letter to the International Olympic Committee and FINA, swimming's governing body, arguing that men deserve to compete in synchronized swimming as well. "There's still this same of sort old mindset. Oh well it's pretty, it's for girls," said team member Ronan Daly. "But no, we want to challenge that and say boys can do this as well." Keep reading HERE.

Pride House in Philadelphia Gay News

A very nice article by Scott Drake on Pride House from Philadelphia Gay News (thanks to Anna Aagenes):

Olympic Pride House welcomes the world

The first Summer Olympics Pride House almost-didn’t happen. When sponsorship funding didn’t meet expectations three months ago, the house was officially scrapped in spite of the enormous success of the first Pride House two years ago at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Olympic speed skater Blake Skjellerup publicly said the support and encouragement he got at the Vancouver Pride House influenced his decision to come out.

More than just a haven for LGBT athletes, the house will have live music from LGBT artists, video presentations from local LGBT organizations and, of course, broadcast competitions live during the games. A banner exhibit of 37 out athletes, groups, discrimination and progress will include Billie Jean King, David Kopay, Greg Louganis, Ian Roberts, Tom Waddell, the Gay Games and OutGames.

Federation of Gay Games vice president for external affairs Marc Naimark recently told PGN via email his hope is to see thousands of Olympic visitors stop by for an exhibit or attend some other Pride House event. Visitors can participate in a bowling night, a youth day, a football tournament during the week and a fun sports day on Aug. 11.

Pride House is only open Aug. 3-12 and, even though there is no scheduled media coverage at this point, Naimark is hopeful that some publicity takes root by the time the house opens. Naimark also said that while it is a haven for LGBT athletes and it would be great if some Gay Games ambassadors such as Greg Louganis came, the primary focus is to engage the general public.

And what about someone coming out during the Olympics? “If an athlete competing in the Olympics were to come out at Pride House, we would be delighted and supportive: But our pleasure would be first and foremost for him or her. Coming out is a liberation, and if we can be part of that, we will have done something good,” Naimark said.

Read more HERE.

Two years ago tonight!

Welcome Cheer San Francisco!

We are pleased to welcome Cheer SF as a member of the Federation of Gay Games.

San Francisco cheerleaders have been part of every Gay Games. As we expand the cheer program for the Gay Games, after the successful experiment in Cologne, we are delighted to have a cheerleading group join us!

Our thoughts to our friends in Cleveland

As you might expect, many people from our host organization and other friends of Gay Games 9 were present at "Dancin' in the Streets". As far as we know, none of them are among the victims of this "accident". From Cleveland.com:

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Cleveland police arrested a 34-year-old Lakewood man Sunday evening after he drove his car through a barricade at an outdoor festival on the city's West Side and injured four people, one of them fatally.

All four were taken to MetroHealth Medical Center. Two of them were in critical condition Sunday evening, but one of them, Mitchell Andelmo, 27, of Avon Lake, later died.

Timothy Spock was arrested and held on suspicion of operating a vehicle while impaired, among other charges, police said.

The accident happened at the AIDS Taskforce of Greater Cleveland's annual Dancin' In the Streets festival, an event that raises money for AIDS and HIV awareness. The festival was held on Clifton Avenue near West 117th Street.

31 August 2010 : Opening ceremony of Gay Games VIII

Today's the second anniversary of the opening of Gay Games VIII.Thigs is another opportunity to thank our hosts in Cologne for giving us an unforgettable experience!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Kickstarter for film on same-sex country and western dance

DANCE LIKE NO ONE'S WATCHING is a documentary that explores the world of competitive Country/Western dancing within the gay community.

First of all, thank you for taking the time to watch the video above. As an award-winning filmmaker (Collegiate OSCAR nominated & EMMY winner) whose films have shown all over the world, I am drawn to stories about how people who don't always fit into mainstream culture are able to take elements of that culture and make it their own.

While writing a feature script set within a gay country western bar in Texas (Quick Quick Slow), I discovered “The International Association of Gay/Lesbian Country Western Dance Clubs” and was amazed that something I was writing into my ‘fictional’ work actually existed!

Learn more about this Kickstarter campaign HERE.

Imke Duplitzer, Olympic fencer and activist

From Outsports on SB Nation:

Jul 29, 2012 - Out and outspoken lesbian fencer Imke Duplitzer of Germany starts her round of 64 in women's épée July 30, against Maria Martinez of Venezuela. A veteran of five Olympics, 6'1", 36-year-old Duplitzer was high-profile during the Beijing Games in 2008.

Passionately devoted to human-rights issues, she boycotted the Beijing opening ceremonies as a protest to Chinese communism and its actions in Tibet and Darfur. She said she'd probably spend the time reading a book and having a beer.

"I'm in a different position from other young athletes," Imke told the press in Beijing at the time. "This is my fourth Games. I understand athletes want to march in the opening ceremony because it's a life dream. That's okay with me."

Duplitzer was also one of 40 athletes who signed an open letter to Chinese president Hu protesting human-rights violations in Tibet and Darfur. This open letter and others, along with the resignation of Steven Spielberg as artistic director at Beijing, were all part of a huge international activist flurry designed to pressure the People's Republic of China into the respect for human rights officially required from member nations of the Olympics movement. The idea of athletes boycotting the Games was floated. However, China ignored the protests, and the Games rolled forward.

Keep reading HERE.

Where are the missing gays in London 2012?

From Lesbilicious:

The 2012 Summer Olympics in London will feature 21 athletes who are openly gay or bisexual, and 18 of those are women.

While it is encouraging that there are some gay sportspeople who are out, the number is incredibly, ridiculously, painfully low.

There are 12,602 athletes competing in the Olympic games. According to the 2010 Integrated Household Survey, approximately 5% of the UK population is lesbian, gay or bisexual.

Assuming this figure is representative of other countries, and that sports stars’ are no more or less likely to be queer than the general population, statistically speaking we should expect 609 of the competitors to be lesbian, gay or bisexual.

The list of 21 athletes, compiled by Outsports, only includes sports people who have come out publicly. It doesn’t include sports men and women rumoured to be gay.

Keep reading HERE.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

No time to cry victory for women in the Olympics

For the first time an Olympics opening ceremony saw women in very delegation. That's progress... unless it becomes an alibi to cover the continuing repression of women in sport. From the National Post:

CAIRO — Across the world, word that Saudi Arabia would send women athletes to the Olympics for the first time immediately rocketed to the top of websites and broadcasts. In Saudi Arabia’s official media: Not even a hint.

The state-sponsored silent treatment was a lesson into the deep intricacies and sensitivities inside the kingdom as it took another measured step away from its ultraconservative traditions.

While Saudi rulers found room to accommodate the demands of the International Olympic Committee to include women athletes, they also clearly acknowledged that — in their view at least — this did not merit billing as a pivotal moment of reform in a nation that still bans women from driving or travelling without the approval of a male guardian.

“It does not change the fact that Saudi women are not free to move and to choose,” said political analyst Mona Abass in neighbouring Bahrain. “The Saudis may use it to boost their image, but it changes little.”

Even the two athletes selected to compete under the Saudi flag — 800-metre runner Sarah Attar from Pepperdine University in California and Wodjan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahrkhani in judo — live outside the kingdom and carry almost no influence as sports figures. There is no other choice: Women sports remain nearly an underground activity in Saudi Arabia.

Keep reading HERE.

A look back at Gay Games V AIDS Memorial Quilt display

In 1998 there took place a traveling exhibition of AIDS memorial quilts from different European countries, throughout Europe. The final display was in the Vondelpark in Amsterdam, from 1 to 3 August, to celebrate the Gay Games. At the exhibition were also quilts from non-European countries to see, like in Chile, Mexico, Cuba and Thailand. As reported by Marleen Swenne:

A quilt consists of eight name flags sewn together, each made in memory of someone on the impact of AIDS is deceased. Some name flags are simple and clear, others look busy and seem imbued with personal memories of the deceased. Each name flag is a precious thing. You look at it that the people who stayed behind the flag name with great care and love have put together. Sometimes there is a picture on the canvas and usually there is a name to read. But there are also quilts with no names, like the quilt from Chile. The taboo against AIDS is so great that it is dangerous even for the survivors to put the name of the deceased on the quilt.

The opening day was a cloudy Saturday with constantly threatening rain. The puddles have been vacuumed up as best could be done. After the opening speeches Erik Windhorst plays ‘The Rose’ on his bagpipes. In the background a young athlete tunes her stretching exercises to the mournful music.

There is also a quilt where every passerby can write the name of a loved one who is deceased, and not just people with AIDS. This is the Gay Games V quilt. During each Gay Games such a quilt is created, and it never emains empty.

A ritual that often takes place in quilt exhibitions is the reading of names of the deceased. People of various nationalities were on stage throughout the day to read the names.

Toi is from Thailand. On Sunday he is one of the people reading names. The context is poignant and painful, but as Toi gets ready, he keeps smiling, and walks to the stage where the two Thai quilts can be seen. They are very colorful, almost every name flags have a picture of something or other. A frog. A cat. Fish. A bridge. “That flag is the name of someone who lived on the river. When they started building a large modern bridge, he had to move. He did not, but was forced to leave. We sewed the bridge on his quilt.”

The Chewit Names Project in Nonthaburi, where Toi works, focuses on supporting and enhancing the resilience of people with HIV. There is a telephone helpline, where many ideas and experiences are exchanged. It is also possible to give information to students and prostitutes. Toi: “We have no money for proper medication to do more. Nor do the patients or the government. And there is no insurance. A few people get medication from the hospital. So we focus on other aspects of health care. We do a lot with herbs, massage and meditation. People feel better with. all we can do.”

Toi is a painter, but he can not earn a living. He talks about the Chewitt Project, where art is used as a means to understand AIDS. From this project came the two quilts displayed at Vondelpark. “Making art means that you have a thought process in a very personal way of shaping. We work with students so they can design and make their own educational materials. They use them again for information on their schools and their communities. It is a positive way of working I think: you give your feelings shape, you can express commitment to people with HIV, or show that you sympathize with those who someone with HIV in the family.”

Sunday and Monday were two sunny days when many people viewed the quilts. The names will be read again, endless rows of names. In between music sounds. “Are there really so many people who’ve died, mama?” A child’s voice sounds clear across the grounds. The child’s mother tries to explain to her daughter. The adults, no less impressed, look at all those names and are quiet. A few hundred meters away football players practice for their Gay Games competition. Birds sing, the sun shines. “You must live,” said Toi. And he smiles.

Gay Games VIII in Project Q Atlanta: Jeremy Koziol blocks the score

We missed this series from Project Q Atlanta when it first appeared, but are pleased to share these stories of Atlantans in Cologne for Gay Games VIII:

Among the more than 9,000 LGBT athletes and artists competing in the Gay Games this week in Cologne are about two-dozen Atlantans, including water polo player S. Jeremy Koziol.

The 33-year-old plays with the Hotlanta Soccer Association and is on the roster of the Atlanta Rainbow Trout and its water polo team. We caught up with Koziol (photo) before he left for the Gay Games to discuss gay jocks and his plans to play goalie for the Trout’s water polo squad.

Project Q Atlanta: What’s the most challenging part of your sport?
Koziol: For any sport, the biggest challenge is staying focused for the entire length of the game/match/routine. The physical aspect can be trained for and prepared for, but with the mental aspect, the focus is so more complicated.

Keep reading HERE.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Out to Swim at opening ceremony

Members from Out to Swim performing in opening ceremony of the London Olympics. Nice show!

Sneaking in the gay at opening ceremony

From Gay Star News:

A brief lesbian kiss at the Olympic opening ceremony has sparked praise and fury after it was aired in some of the most homophobic countries in the world.

Devised by Oscar-winning British director Danny Boyle, the opening ceremony yesterday (27 July) featured the first ever televised lesbian kiss which originally aired in 1993.

The kiss was shown in countries such as Saudi Arabia, where it is illegal to be gay. No other gay kiss has ever been shown on television in the Middle Eastern country.

Keep reading HERE.

Derek Liecty Gay Games Scholarships announced on his 80th birthday

Derek addresses his 100 guests
UPDATE: As of 27 July, we have already received some generous donations from friends of Derek and the Gay Games. We're looking for more such donations, to, if possible, create a specific endowment that can fund these scholarships for Gay Games to come.

On 21 July 2012 in Walnut Creek, California, Derek Liecty celebrated his 80th birthday party surrounded by more than 100 friends and family members. Included were three members of the Federation of Gay Games Board of Directors: Gene Dermody, Roger Brigham, and Doug Litwin

Although Derek’s many years of service to the Gay Games movement have been honored before – he is an Honorary Life Member and the 2006 male winner of the Tom Waddell award – additional honors were bestowed upon him on the occasion of his 80th birthday.

Derek was presented with a certificate of congratulations as well as a Medal of Honor. In addition, to publicly acknowledge his 20 years of tireless service on behalf of the Gay Games Scholarship Program, the FGG announced the creation of “The Derek Liecty Gay Games Scholarships.” This will take the form of two scholarships for a male and female footballer, Derek’s favorite sport. The first of these scholarships will be awarded for the 2014 Gay Games 9 in Cleveland + Akron. As with all other Gay Games scholarships, these will be administered by the FGG.

Cutting the cake

If anyone would like to donate towards the funding of these two new scholarships, please visit HERE (indicate “Derek Liecty” in the comments section of your donation) or write to scholarships@gaygames.org

Watch the video of this presentation and the announcement of the scholarships:

Friday, July 27, 2012

Scout.com on gays in the Olympics

From Scout London:

The Olympics – a gay affair
LGBT Sport & Fitness
24 July 2012

Jack Cullen looks at what is being done to tackle homophobia in the modern Olympics


Today, major hurdles are stacked in front of gay athletes. Nearly 80 of the countries taking part in London 2012 criminalise homosexuality, which seems behind the times to us in London but would have been totally alien to the ancient Greek founders of the events.

Gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell is demanding the Olympics Committee ban these countries from competing, on the ground that their policies violate the Olympics Charter.

Although this is unlikely to happen, the fight is not lost. To battle homophobia in the Olympics, The Gay Games was set-up in the early 80s by 1968 decathlete Tom Waddell. It is now the biggest non-discriminating sports tournament in the world.

The organisation has several gay sporting heroes on its ambassadors board, including Winter Olympics star Blake Skjellerup (who admitted he didn’t come out before the Vancouver 2010 Games because he was concerned it might affect his sponsorship).

This summer it is running Pride House in Limehouse, which aims to provide a place to
“celebrate sport for all, while uniting members and friends of the worldwide LGBT community”.

The Limehouse base [at CA House] is a step down from the original ambition [of a commercial promoter] to have the second largest Olympic house at this year’s Games.

Organisers [of the original project] blamed a lack of sponsorship, but were undeterred by the set-back and [the new group organising Pride House] insist the downsized Pride House is ready to make a big noise from August 3-7. There will also be a Pride House Festival, running at the venue itself and throughout London from August 3-12.

Gay Games ambassador and world champion power-lifter Chris Morgan told Scout: “The Olympics has a bad track record with acceptance, so it’s important that we support the handful of gay athletes out there.”

Visitors to Pride House will be cheering on the three openly gay Team GB athletes competing in this year’s Games: equestrian Carl Hester, para-equestrian Lee Pearson and Paralympics volleyball player Clare Harvey.

But they’re not the only ones from the LGBT community who’ll be in the spotlight. Commentator Bob Ballard and TV top gun Claire Balding will be among the BBC’s gay anchors.


Read in full HERE.

A look at the three out US Olympic athletes

From Examiner.com, a look at out US Olympians, with a great quote from FGG co-president Kurt Dahl:

There will be three openly gay athletes representing the United States in the Olympic Games set to take place in London. With the opening ceremony just less than 20 hours away over 12,000 athletes are just moments away from a dream. For top-ranked doubles tennis player Lisa Raymond, WNBA champion Seimone Augustus, and women’s soccer star Megan Rapionoe there may be more at stake. The three LGBT athletes will not only be representing their countries and their sport they will also be representing pride and visions of equality and on a greater level they set out to prove that an athlete is an athlete no matter the ethnic background, gender or sexual orientation.


As the Nation gathers this weekend for the start of the 2012 Olympic Games in London there will be many stories on display including LGBT athletes making an impact on sports and most importantly doing what they love. Kurt Dahl, co-president of the Federation of Gay Games says:

“Being gay is just one part of being a human, and being able to be out in the sport that you really love and enjoy shows how complete a person you are. Coming out really allows a person to do what they love and put everything into it.”

Read in full HERE.

Blake Skjellerup featured in Sydney Star Observer article

Thanks to Blake for talking about his role as Gay Games Ambassador, and for Kate Rowe for speaking to the need for more out active elite athletes to provide visibility for young people. From the Sydney Star Observer:

In 2010, New Zealand’s Olympic speed ice skater Blake Skjellerup did what few elite athletes will ever risk: he publicly came out as a gay man.

What sets Skjellerup apart from other Olympic athletes who have come out though, is that he revealed his sexuality during his career.


Two years since Skjellerup came out in an interview, he admitted he had not received any backlash or negative feedback for the move.

“The one thing that has changed is that I have a greater support base behind me in terms of people who know about me and my career,” he said.

“I think its important for anybody to just take part and feel like they can do sport. The gay community is extremely under-represented still in sport and I must admit, when I was growing up I had trouble finding someone I could relate to, not just with my sexuality but also in my sport.

“The more people who are out there being open and honest and not afraid to share who it is they are, I think the better because it’s still hard for some people to come to terms with their sexuality. If they have someone to look up to and to relate with, then it makes that journey a whole lot easier.”

Outside of training and competitions, Skjellerup is a Federation of Gay Games ambassador.

Along with Australian Olympians, diver Matthew Mitcham and cyclist Michelle Ferris, the speed skater advocates for the games and encourages people to get involved.

Kate Rowe, Australian/New Zealand ambassador manager for the Federation of Gay Games, said more athletes like Skjellerup were needed.

“For me, it’s very important that we have some younger role models because they’re the future,” she said.

The Ambassadors are not paid for their work but meet community members at events like the Midsumma Festival to stir up interest.

It would have taken a lot of courage to come out as an Olympic athlete, Rowe said, because he has not retired yet.

“With people like Blake and Matthew, who are still elite athletes, they’re almost putting their careers at risk because they know it may affect the sponsorship dollars,” she said.

“I think it is brave and the more people like Matthew and Blake who are prepared to stand up and be themselves and still want to continue in their sport, that’s how the barriers will be broken down.”

The next Gay Games will be held in 2014 in Cleveland, Ohio, making the next two years a mighty effort.


Read in full HERE.

At least two friends of the Gay Games in tonight's Olympics opening ceremony

Jonathan Harbourne, chair of London 2018, and Hannah Quigley of London Cruisers basketball, will both be part of tonight's opening ceremony.

FGG co-president Emy Ritt is currently on staff of LOCOG, the host committee for London 2012, and as such was in the stands at a rehearsal earlier this week. Her report: "You will be wowed. Big wow!"

Will you be watching with friends from your club? Send you viewing party photos to blog@gaygames.org!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Pride House and Out for Sport clubs featured in QX Magazine

Thanks to Gay Games Ambassador Chris Morgan for this heads up!

View the sports pages HERE.

View the entire magazine HERE.

"Against the Rules" exhbition featured at Pride House 2012

European Union to support exhibition on gay sport at Pride House 2012
“’Against the Rules” features sport pioneers at the venue for LGBT people and friends at the London Olympics

Pride House 2012 is a project of Pride Sports UK, in collaboration with the European Gay and Lesbian Sport Federation (EGLSF), the Federation of Gay Games, the Gay and Lesbian International Sport Federation (GLISA), the LGBT Consortium, and Phoenix FC, and aims to offer a welcoming space for all athletes, staff, spectators and friends of London 2012. Pride House 2012 will be open from 3 to 7 August at CA House in Limehouse Basin on the river Thames, with the Pride House 2012 festival continuing in various venues through 12 August, the day of the closing ceremony of the Olympic Games.

Lou Englefield, Executive Director of lead partner Pride Sports, explains how the exhibition fits the mission of Pride House 2012: “We want to offer a place for LGBT people and friends to meet, relax, and enjoy the London Olympic experience. But we also want this to be a learning experience and a resource for local and international visitors. An exhibition like ‘Against the Rules’ offers a particularly engaging and inspirational way to contribute to this educational mission.”

“Against the Rules” is made up of 37 panels related to homophobia and LGBT sport, including biographies of athletes like Amelie Mauresmo, Billie Jean King, David Kopay, Greg Louganis, Imke Duplitzer, Judith Arndt, Justin Fashanu and Tom Waddell. The exhibition is presented by the EGLSF with the financial support of the European Commission (DG Education and Culture) as part of the project coordinated by the European Gay and Lesbian Sport Federation on "Preventing and Fighting Homophobic Violence in Sport".

Lou Manders, co-president of the EGLSF spoke of the impact of the exhibition: “The exhibition was created several years ago; in 2010 the EGLSF produced an English version, which has since been presented across Europe at a variety of competitions, conferences, and other venues, for both an LGBT and ‘mainstream’ audience.” His co-president Armelle Mazé added: “It’s an effective mix of background information on the history of LGBT sport and individual portraits that inspire and move viewers. We thank Pride Sports for making this display at Pride House 2012 happen, and the European Union for financing this event.”


New music video features member of Out for Sport

The London Rollergirls are a member of FGG member Out for Sport. Via Gay Star News:

The Pet Shop Boys’ new video clip for their new single Winner tells the story of Dirty Diana, a transgender member of London Rollergirls

24 July 2012 | By Dan Littauer

The Pet Shop Boys’ new video clip for their new single Winner features the story of Dirty Diana, a transgender woman.

Gay British pop duo, The Pet Shop Boys have been making hits since the 1980s. They released the video for their brand new single Winner just in time for the Olympics, which starts in London on Friday (27 July).

The video features the Rollergirls, an all-women roller derby league, and in particular Dirty Diana.

She’s a transgender woman and new team member who is supported by her fellow skaters.

Keep reading HERE.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

More on blog stats: over 500,000 lifetime visits!

Last month (June 2012) saw a record number of visits: 37,700, as well as our first day with over 2000 visits.

We have now topped 500,000 visits since the creation of this blog in 2009.

We continue to try to make this blog a useful and interesting destination for news about the FGG, the LGBT sport and culture movement, and the issues that concern us.

We'll be moving soon to a new location, integrated in the FGG website, and would very much like to hear your suggestions and comments on this blog. Just write us at blog@gaygames.org.

Winner, a Gay Games anthem?

This is the moment, we’ll remember
Every day for the rest of out lives
Time may rush us, hurt or love us

but on this day we have arrived

It’s been a long time coming
We’ve been in the running for so long
but now we’re on our way
Let the ride just take us
side by side and make us
See the world through new eyes every day

You’re a winner
I’m a winner
This is all happening so fast
You’re a winner
I’m a winner
Let’s enjoy it all while it lasts

I’ve been a loser
I’ve paid my dues
I fought my way up from the ground
Now at this moment
the crowd acclaim us
Will you just listen to that song

It’s been a long time coming
We’ve been in the running for so long
but now we’re on our way
Let the ride just take us
side by side and make us
See the world through new eyes every day

You’re a winner
I’m a winner
This is all happening so fast
You’re a winner
I’m a winner
Let’s enjoy it all while it lasts

It took us so long
and we worked so hard
We came so far just to compete
But don’t forget all
the love and laughter
now the world is at our feet
Looking back on all the times
we felt downcast
Didn’t think we were going anywhere
just living in the past
But in that desperation
you get inspiration

You’re a winner
I’m a winner
This is all happening so fast
You’re a winner
I’m a winner
Let’s enjoy it all while it lasts
’cause you’re a winner
Took so long
We worked so hard
We came so far and just to compete
But don’t forget all the love and laughter
now the world is at our feet
You’re a winner
I’m a winner
This is hapṗening so fast
You’re a winner
I’m a winner
Enjoy it all while it lasts

’cause you’re a winner

Read more: http://www.lyricspremiere.com/pet-shop-boys-winner-lyrics.html#ixzz21di07dz5

Author of The Front Runner video message for Nike LGBT Sport Summit

Via Outsports, Patricia Nell Warren, author of 'The Front Runner' and longtime LGBT activist, talks about the gay sports movement in the 1960s and '70s, and her vision for the future of the movement.

Matthew Mitcham at Olympic village

You've seen it everywhere by now, but just in case... Matthew Mitcham does something perhaps dangerous, maybe silly, but certainly fun, at the London 2012 athletes village.

Sneak peek: Sin City Shootout 2013

Keep your eyes peeled for more news later!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Maine college professor learns to skate late in life and earns Gay Games bronze medal

The Portland Press Herald profiles a college professor who took up figure skating late in life, and earned a bronze medal at Gay Games VII:

When Erica Rand hit her 40s, she decided to do something that would probably make most adults recoil in horror.

She learned how to figure skate.

And she found that she loved it.

Rand, a professor of art and visual culture and of women and gender studies at Bates College in Lewiston, did more than just learn a few tricks on the ice. She immersed herself in the world of showy little skirts and professional blade sharpeners. She competed in the Gay Games and at the U.S. Adult National Figure Skating Championships.

In her new book, "Red Nails, Black Skates: Gender, Cash, and Pleasure On and Off the Ice" (Duke University Press, $23.95), Rand explores in short essays themes such as gender issues in sports, the economics of skating competitions, and the need to make figure skating more inclusive. There's even a chapter explaining in detail the complicated scoring system used by figure skating judges.

Rand, 53, lives in Portland and enjoys watching television and playing puzzle games in her free time.

But mostly, you'll find her out on the ice.

Q: Why did you want to learn to figure skate? Are you one of those people who can't miss watching the skating competitions on TV?

A: I love watching skating competitions on TV. I skated a little bit as a kid. Really, it was partly about moving to Portland. I had an idea that I was going to keep going to the Y in Auburn, where I had a nice community of people I exercised with.

One day something just made me think, "I want a pair of skates." I had my old childhood pair of skates, and when I moved to Portland I finally threw them out. And I don't know why, but one day I just thought maybe I'll buy skates. And I went and bought skates at Play It Again Sports. I said "Where's a rink?" and they told me about the Portland Ice Arena, which is four blocks from where I live.

I went, I skated around, I loved it. I started taking these adult classes, and it was just grown-ups. It wasn't like you were trying to learn how to skate with little kids. It was just a great environment, and I got completely hooked.

Q: Have you won any competitions over the years?

A: No (laughing). I've racked up very few awards. I came in third out of four at the Gay Games, in my age group and level. That was in 2006. I'm not the best competitor. I wanted to compete in the Gay Games, and then I kept competing partly for research. Some people thrive on competition. I do not thrive on competition, but there are things I really enjoy about it. So this year I competed at the U.S. Figure Skating Adult National Competition.

Keep reading HERE.

Absolutely Fabulous!

We got a mention (sort of) in Ab Fab's Olympic special!

Saffy: “Will you be watching the Olympics, gran?”
Gran: “Oh yes, I shall be waving a flag for the BLTs.”
Saffy: “You mean Team GB?”
Gran: “The gays and bisexuals, dear? I thought they had their own Games?”

Why she's moving to Cleveland: part 9

Gail L Palmer held the title of Alaska Writer’s Guild Slam Champion (two years running) before moving back to the Lower 48 for the greatest reason of all… L-O-V-E

And where has she moved? To Cleveland! We'll be presenting her reasons for loving this choice over the next few days.

Reason 9:

Downtown Digs

One thing I’ve always wanted is to live in a city where it’s possible to park your car and forget you own it. A place where I can be more pedestrian. A place where artist lofts are created in run down warehouses. A place like Cleveland. More specifically, a place like the Bradley Building, located in the Warehouse District of Downtown Cleveland. A place where my girlfriend and I just signed the lease and will be moving the first of September.

Astute readers will have of course noted that the first letters of the things Gail loves about Cleveland form an acrostic... just what do they spell???

Monday, July 23, 2012

Greg Louganis documentary in the works, with filming at the Olympics

Now on Kickstarter, "Back on Board", a documentary in progress on Greg Louganis:

When Greg Louganis hit his head on the diving board at the 1988 Seoul Games, it was an unforgettable moment of the Olympics. But when, despite his injury, he earned the highest single score for his next dive and went on to win the Gold medal, it was among the most incredible feats in sports history.

Olympic Champion Greg Louganis is considered by many to be the greatest diver of all time. We are making a feature-length independent documentary about Louganis to highlight his heroic personal story. We're here on Kickstarter because we need your help to finish shooting our film! Our goal is to get our film finished and released by 2013 -- the 25th anniversary of Greg's incredible performance in the 1988 Olympic Games.

We will be shooting with Greg in London in August during the Olympic Games and for a few more months this fall. We need to raise $50,000 to finish shooting. We ultimately need to raise over $300,000 to finish the film, but raising $50,000 now will allow us to keep going towards the finish line! You can be a part of this exciting project by pledging whatever you can afford.

Learn more HERE.

Out for Sport taster week and Night Out

As Out for Sport's "Join In Local Sport" taster week concludes, enjoy the Out for Sport London Night Out

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Jeff Sheng's "Fearless" exhibition at Pride House 2012

Lou Englefield, Director, Pride Sports UK
+44 (0)7949 604610

Marc Naimark

London, 20 July 2012
Exhibition on out student athletes added to programme of Pride House 2012
Expanded electronic version of ‘Fearless’ will make its European debut
The Federation of Gay Games and Pride House 2012 are pleased to announce the addition of a new exhibition to its programme of events for the Olympics. In addition to the already-announced exhibition ‘Against the Rules’, photographer Jeff Sheng will be showing a newly expanded electronic version of his ground-breaking exhibition ‘Fearless’.

Pride House 2012 is a project of Pride Sports UK, in collaboration with the Federation of Gay Games, the European Gay and Lesbian Sport Federation (EGLSF), GLISA International, the LGBT Consortium, and the Pride House Foundation and aims to offer a welcoming space for all athletes, staff, spectators and friends of London 2012. Pride House 2012 will be open from 3 to 7 August at CA House in Limehouse Basin on the river Thames, with the Pride House 2012 festival continuing in various venues through 12 August, the day of the closing ceremony of the Olympic Games.

Lou Englefield, Executive Director of lead partner Pride Sports, presented her pleasure at rounding out the exhibition programme with ‘Fearless’: ‘While “Against the Rules” looks at out sports icons of the past and the present, “Fearless” presents role models for today and tomorrow. We know from experience the power this exhibition can have, both as works of art and as testimony of the courage of young people today. Whatever their future in sports, they are sports heroes.’

‘Fearless’ is a long-term project of noted American photographer Jeff Sheng, who travels to high school and university campuses in the US to capture portraits of young out student athletes. Olympic speed skater and Gay Games Ambassador Blake Skjellerup attributes his own public coming out to his encounter with the exhibition at the 2010 Pride House in Vancouver, taking the courage of these young people as a model to follow.

Jeff Sheng presents the project: ‘In 2003, I began “Fearless,” documenting high school and collegiate athletes who openly self-identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender and are “out” to their predominantly straight teammates and coaches.  Since then, I’ve photographed over 150 athletes across the United States and Canada for this series. In 2006, I began exhibiting the project at various high schools and colleges as part of what I named the “Fearless Campus Tour”. So far, the project has been seen at over fifty college and high school campuses around the United States, as well as ESPN headquarters, the 2009 International LGBT Human Rights conference at GLISA World Outgames in Copenhagen, the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics and at Nike World Headquarters. I’m very happy to now bring it in an electronic format to Pride House during the Olympics.’

Les Johnson, co-chair of the Federation of Gay Games’ External Affairs committee, spoke of his own encounter with Jeff Sheng at the recent Nike LGBT Sport Summit: ‘Jeff is both talented and motivated in using his art as a tool for social change. In parallel with “Fearless Campus Tour”, he undertook a new project to portray closeted US military personnel under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. With regard to athletes, we know the difficulties of young people, and in particular young athletes, in coming out. Those shown in the exhibition are truly “fearless”. I’m very pleased that despite time and budget constraints, Jeff responded to my request to participate in Pride House by offering an electronic version of the exhibition, which we hope will inspire others to come out.’

Sheng added: ‘Beyond the pleasure of being part of the experience of the Olympics, this exhibition coincides with the relaunch of my website in view of my new project to turn “Fearless” into a book, like those I produced for my “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” series.’

More about Pride House 2012 at http://pridehouse2012.org and http://www.facebook.com/pridehouse2012

Learn more about “Fearless” at http://www.fearlessproject.org

Our message of support to Matthew Mitcham, with an invitation to Pride House... and Gay Games 9

Join us at Pride House 2012!

Outsports' red carpet interviews: Rob Gronkowski and Cedrick Ceballos

Outsports' Cyd Zeigler Jr went to the ESPY's, the awards of cable sports network ESPN, where he did some great interviews. Here are snippets of two of them:

American football player Rob Gronkowski
I was taken aback a bit when Gronkowski stepped away from me upon hearing I was “with Outsports, we call it ESPN for homos.” The man who had quickly become one of my favorite athletes on my favorite team was about to be the first pro athlete to refuse an interview with me about gay issues in the NFL.


“How would you feel if one of your teammates on the Patriots came out of the closet this season?”

This time he didn’t pause.

“If that’s how they are, that’s how they are,” Gronkowski said. “I mean, we’re teammates so, as long as he’s being a good teammate and being respectful and everything, that’s cool.”

And with that, Gronkowski added his name to the growing list of professional athletes who would welcome a gay teammate. Because of the way we treat celebrities in our culture, it nearly didn’t happen. As a fan of the player and his team, I was proud he got past his fears of the potential backlash and gave me a minute of his time.


Former professional basketball player Cedric Ceballos
Former NBA All-Star Cedric Ceballos told Outsports he played with a gay teammate in college and looks forward to a day when homophobia is in our distant past. We caught up with Ceballos at the ESPY Awards on July 11, where the former Cal State Fullerton star told us about his gay former teammate and roommate.

There's lot more of each interview, so make sure you read them in full!

22 July 2012 / Olympic torchbearers: Tim Sullivan TODAY

We're looking again at LGBT Olympic torchbearers and their nomination stories:

Tim Sullivan of Billericay, age 51
Carrying the Flame through the London Borough of Havering
Carrying the Flame on 22 July 2012

Tim's nomination story

Tim is the Chairman of the Kings Cross Steelers, the world's first rugby club set up to allow gay and bisexual men to play rugby in an inclusive environment. With the club now in its sixteenth year Tim has gone the extra mile to ensure the continuing success of a team that was once thought of as impossible, with the team recently triumphing in the European gay rugby cup. In undertaking this role, Tim volunteers countless hours and often a lot of his own hard earned cash in not only running a successful rugby club but also in developing our links to the local community in West Ham (in the shadow of the Olympic Stadium) and to the wider gay rugby community on a national and international stage. Tim embodies the principles of fair play and sportmanship and treats each member of the club and our opposition with total respect and a personal touch that goes beyond the call of duty. What is all the more impressive is that Tim has undertaken this role in the midst of challenging personal circumstances, having to care for both his elderly mother and late father. Tim encourages every one of us to be the best we can, week in, week out and is one of London's unsung heroes. I would like to see him carry the olympic torch because he embodies exactly what the olympics is all about: sport for all regardless of our backgrounds, respect, fair play and bringing communities together. I know of know man better deserving to carry the flame.

Learn more HERE.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Who are the LGBT athletes in London? Marilyn Agliotti and Megan Rapinoe

The New Civil Rights Movement is producing a series of profiles of out LGBT athletes in the Olympics. Day 1 saw a profile of Marilyn Agliotti...

In the States it’s called “field hockey,” but in most of the world, it’s just “hockey.” It is a game that dates back to the Greeks who gave us the Olympics, and it was old even then. Even if you are not a sports fan, the game is easy enough to follow. Two teams of eleven players use curved sticks to try to guide a ball inside the other players’ goal, on a field very similar to a soccer field. One of the “out” athletes to look for in Field Hockey at the 2012 Olympic games is Marilyn Agliotti who plays “wing” for the Netherlands, and is known for her relentless offense.

(read in full HERE)

...and day 2 of Megan Rapinoe:

United States Olympic midfielder Megan Rapinoe (image, left) may be the most freshly out player at the London 2012 Olympics. Her plain-language announcement (“For the record: I am gay”) came in an interview with Out magazine that became public on July 2, effectively ending the speculation that had surrounded the soccer star–and taking her off the market. In the same article it was revealed that she’s been dating an Australian soccer player (forward Sarah Walsh) for three years.

(read in full HERE)

John Amaechi welcomes Olympic torch to London

Gay Games Ambassador John Amaechi was perhaps the last out LGBT person to carry the Olympic torch for the 2012 Olympics, which has seen a dozen LGBT people taking the flame.From the BBC:

The torch is on the first day of its week-long tour of London in the final countdown to the Games.

The relay travels through five of the six Olympic boroughs on Saturday as it passes from Greenwich to Waltham Forest, going through Newham, Tower Hamlets and Hackney on the way.

The flame's circuit of the capital will see it pass through each of the city's 33 local authority areas and finish at the opening ceremony on 27 July.

It spent Friday night at the Tower of London, having arrived in the capital in dramatic fashion at the tower that evening, where it was abseiled from a helicopter by a Royal Marine.


Shortly before 10:00 BST legendary gymnast Nadia Comaneci - winner of five Olympic gold medals and the first gymnast to score a perfect 10 - met ex-basketball star John Amaechi on the roof of the North Greenwich Arena, where they exchanged the flame.

Amaechi then stepped off the edge of the roof onto a walkway. The arena is the venue for the London 2012 gymnastics events and basketball finals.


The flame will be carried by a total of 8,000 people during its 8,000 mile, 70-day journey to the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in London on 27 July.

Read in full HERE.

My Gay Games story: Jim Atkinson, London

Jim Atkinson at Gay Games VI, Sydney (photo Outsports)
At the age of 59, I can look back on a career as a coach in a variety of sports which goes back to my late 20s. The rewards and satisfactions are simply one of the most important aspects of my life. It has been an interesting and often inspiring journey — and it's not yet over! For many of those years, I combined coaching as a hobby with my 'real' job as an openly gay senior development manager in The Sports Council, the British organisation which oversees and funds the development of sport from community participation to Olympic medals.

I've known I was attracted to men since my very early teens growing up in Belfast, Northern Ireland. It was a household which took religion seriously, so the question of my sexuality was a continuing source of conflict and anxiety which I never shared with anyone. The idea of homosexuality was such an unsettling one that I simply had to find a way to diffuse the anxiety. Sport was my mechanism! My older sister was an international-level athlete who ran for Great Briatin, my parents played sport, and I had all the support I could have wanted in getting involved. I loved sport, I was quite good at it and, after all, homosexuals didn't play sport so no one could ever suspect me of being "queer," could they?

It was many years before I understood how absurd that idea was, but until my mid-twenties it was my defense mechanism of choice. The fact that I didn't have sex with anyone at all till I was 26 meant that the point was academic for many of these years!

To cut a long story short, I played field hockey at school and university, often captaining the side, and eventually became a national league player. I played tennis for my club, and squash at a good standard, but weightlifting became my passion.

I was always a small man, and weights allowed me to become a lot stronger and more powerful — even if not bigger! While completing my master's degree in Experimental Psychology, I "moonlighted" as an instructor in my gym, and the experience was crucial in making me want to coach sport. I loved the interaction with the trainees and I discovered the great rewards of helping people achieve their goals.

The gender of the trainees didn't matter. OK, I knew I was attracted to men (and eventually at 26 did something about it!) but it was the personal interaction which counted. It wasn't an excuse for being with cute men in workout gear!

It helps, of course, that my "take" on sport is almost entirely a "sex-free zone." I've never had much interest in the sort of "Locker Room" fantasy which many gay men enjoy. I've shared shower and locker rooms with literally thousands of naked men since I was 10 and never once felt the smallest hint of sexual arousal. I guess familiarity has completely defused and desensitised any erotic content!

Over a period of 30 years, I have qualified as a coach in field hockey, weightlifting, powerlifting and boxing, and in each of these sports I've been "out." Indeed, the most recent coaching in the Amateur Boxing Club was at their request. They had already made me secretary of the club, knowing I was gay, and they paid the fees for the 5-day course it took to become qualified. My partner Phil also boxes at the club and we simply couldn't have been made more welcome. Fitzroy Lodge is one of the biggest and longest established Amateur clubs in the United KingdomK and has produced many National Champions since it was founded in 1908.

Boxing also been the occasion of an amusing incident and one of the most interesting conversations I've had on the issue of gay sexuality. Two years ago I was with a party of Metropolitan Police and club boxers from London competing against the NYPD (we won!). While being driven round New York in an NYPD police truck, the London boxers and I discussed the issue of gay men parenting. I thought the NYPD officer driving the truck was going to crash! He seemed astonished at what we were discussing, very calmly and rationally, from my perspective as a gay man. Perhaps it's time to question easy assumptions about homophobia in a sport which is often referred to as a bastion of macho conservatism!

The journey from paranoid and closeted teen to openly gay man who played and coached sport on his own terms has been a truly liberating one, and the Gay Games has played its part in making the journey so rewarding. I owe the Federation of Gay Games a great deal — even though I had been "out" in sport for 15 years before I came to NYC in '94. Amsterdam in '98 and Sydney in 2002 just reinforced the positive feelings I have for the Gay Games — although two bronze, one silver and one gold medals obviously helped! To march into a packed Yankee Stadium in '94, together with a wonderful young wrestler from Philadelphia (who I had met that week and who is still a friend), me with my bronze medal, he with his silver, was such an overwhelming emotional experience that I can recall the tears I shed even now. Nothing in my sports experience over almost 50 years can match it!

But what of my experience as an 'out' gay sportsman, sports administrator and coach? Well, I have to report no great trauma, no confrontations, no rejection, no negative comments or overt homophobia. I know it exists. I've just never experienced it at first hand.

For me the rewards of coaching come not just from working with the very talented, but also those who came late to sport — like my long-time partner, Phil. He was even smaller than I as a boy and, as he now describes it at the age of 39, he hated sport with a passion. His physical education at school simply betrayed him. He wasn't good at ball games, hated team sports and was physically small.

Rugby was out of the question and cricket bored him witless. So he did nothing. It was only in his 30s, having hooked up with me, that he discovered that he is a talented runner, loves weightlifting (very strong for his weight) and has become an enthusiastic boxer. Where were the opportunities and the coaches to introduce him to these activities when he was in his teens and twenties? Nowhere to be seen.

My own regular sparring partner at the club, Minh, a Chinese guy in his mid-twenties, always wanted to box, never had the chance when he was younger and was physically small and a shy person. Now he is become a very talented boxer and his girl friend says he is a much happier and fulfilled personbecause of it.

I could go on and on. The thrill of helping people — especially those from unlikely backgrounds — to be the "best that they can be" in sport, is a huge motivation. I don't propose to give it up any time soon! I applaud the FGG and its dedicated volunteers for making a good experience of sport a reality for so many thousands. Long may it continue.

-- Jim Atkinson, London, 21 April 2005

Olympic torchbearers: Kevin Bartlett

We're looking again at LGBT Olympic torchbearers and their nomination stories:

Kevin Bartlett of Ballymoney, age 51
Carrying the Flame through Ballycastle
Carrying the Flame on 3 June 2012

Kevin's nomination story
Kevin has been passionate about sport throughout his entire life: competing in athletics, badminton and rugby for over 40 years and he now devotes his time to coaching the future talent of the UK in all of these sports. He coaches men and women`s rugby, is a level 3 hurdles coach and also finds time to be a qualified referee for Ulster rugby. Kevin was also a pioneer for raising awareness of the gay games and as well as being involved in the British gay and lesbian sports federation, he competed for the UK in the Vancouver games in 1990; winning a Gold and Silver medal for athletics. In his working life, Kevin helps disabled people into employment and strives to give them the motivation to succeed. He has received many compliments from both employers and clients throughout Northern Ireland about the work he does and the feeling of `being someone` that he gives his clients is simply priceless. I think Kevin deserves his moment to shine and carry the Olympic torch for part of its journey throughout the UK as he gives every second of his time, both in and out of work to helping other people and giving them the encouragement and ability to push themselves further and achieve whatever goals they desire. I was a level 3 Hurdles coach (stopped coaching athletics actively in 2003)

Friday, July 20, 2012

Saudi fakeout on 2012 Olympics

While this is sure to be enough of a fig leaf for the IOC, Saudi Arabia and other Islamist countries continue to restrict women's access to sport. While this report from the AP via ESPN says nothing about the judoka, Attar does not live or train in Saudi Arabia. As we predicted, the woman or women the Saudis would allow to compete seem to be women who don't actually practice sport in the country... Let us hope that what appears to be a step forward is not allowed to hide the reality of the situation of women in these countries, and in particular, women athletes.

LONDON -- Every country competing at the London Games will include female athletes for the first time in Olympic history after Saudi Arabia agreed Thursday to send two women to compete in judo and track and field.

The move by the ultraconservative Muslim kingdom to break with its practice of fielding male-only teams followed decisions by Qatar and Brunei to send women athletes to the Olympics for the first time.
"With Saudi Arabian female athletes now joining their fellow female competitors from Qatar and Brunei, it means that by London 2012 every national Olympic committee will have sent women to the Olympic Games," IOC president Jacques Rogge said.

Saudi Arabia had been under intense pressure from the International Olympic Committee and human-rights groups to include female athletes. The announcement Thursday followed months of IOC negotiations with the Saudis to bring women to London.

The two female Saudi competitors are Wodjan Ali Seraj Abdulrahim Shahrkhani in judo and 800-meter runner Sarah Attar.

"A big inspiration for participating in the Olympic Games is being one of the first women for Saudi Arabia to be going," the 17-year-old Attar said in an IOC video from her U.S. training base in San Diego. "It's such a huge honor and I hope that it can really make some big strides for women over there to get more involved in sport."

Attar, who has spent most of her life outside of Saudi Arabia, said she hopes her inclusion will encourage women in the conservative kingdom that does not allow women to vote, drive or participate in sports.
"To any woman who wants to participate, I say 'go for it,' and don't let anybody hold you back," Attar said in the video after running a lap on the track wearing pants and a headscarf.

"We all have potential to get out there and get moving," she said, speaking with an American accent.

Women in Saudi Arabia bear the brunt of their nation's deeply conservative values. They are often the target of the unwanted attention of the kingdom's intrusive religious police, who enforce a rigid interpretation of Islamic law and make sure men and women do not mix in public.

Women cannot be admitted to the hospital or take a job without permission from a male guardian.

There are no written laws that prohibit women from participating in sports, but women are not allowed into stadiums and they cannot rent athletic venues. There is no physical education for girls in public schools, and no women-only hours at swimming pools [Note: of course the real problem is that women are not allowed to be with men... women-only hours would merely be a discriminatory palliative to a bit worse form of discrimination].

Women cannot register for sports clubs, league competitions and other female-only tournaments with the government. They are banned from entering [the] all-male national trials, which makes it impossible for them to qualify for international competitions, including the Olympics.

Attar and Shahrkhani were entered for the London Games by the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee by Monday's deadline. Neither qualified to compete in the Olympics, but received special invitations from the IOC "based on the quality of the athletes," Rogge said. "We've looked at the ones who are the closest to qualifying standards and these were these two athletes," he said. "That's always the bottom line in all these invitations."

Rights groups hailed the decision as a step forward for Saudi women in their quest for basic rights, but emphasized that the fundamental problem in the Gulf country -- the legal gender segregation -- remains firmly in place.

"The participation of two Saudi women in London is an important breakthrough, but will not hide the fact that millions of Saudi girls are effectively banned from sports in schools in Saudi Arabia," said Minky Worden of Human Rights Watch.

"Now is the time for the International Olympic Committee to use its leverage and lay down achievable conditions to jump-start sport in the kingdom."

Rogge said the IOC will continue to support female Saudi athletes with scholarships and other programs.
"This is not new, we have done it in the past," Roggue said. "We'll now do it with more athletes. That's the best way to improve the skills."

The Gulf kingdom also will include female officials in their Olympic delegation for the first time.
About 10,500 athletes are expected to compete in London, representing more than 200 national Olympic committees.

"The IOC has been working very closely with the Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee and I am pleased to see that our continued dialogue has come to fruition," Rogge said. "The IOC has been striving to ensure a greater gender balance at the Olympic Games, and today's news can be seen as an encouraging evolution."
The IOC said Brunei has entered one woman in track and field, Maziah Mahusin, while Qatar has entered four female athletes -- swimmer Nada Arkaji, track athlete Noor al-Malki, table tennis player Aya Magdy and shooter Bahiya al-Hamad.

Qatar announced on Wednesday that al-Hamad will be the country's flag-bearer at the opening ceremony on July 27.

"I'm overwhelmed to have been asked to carry the Qatari flag at the opening ceremony," she said. "It's a truly historic moment for all athletes."

The goal of gender equity is enshrined in the IOC's charter, but has proved difficult to achieve.

At the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, 26 national teams had no women. The figure dropped to three in Beijing four years ago.

In Beijing, women represented 42 percent of the athletes, and the figure is expected to increase in London. Women's boxing is included on the Olympic program in London for the first time.

Local business welcomes HomoClimbtastic

Thanks to Towleroad, who said it so well we're just copying him. It's a commercial, but it's great fun and wonderful to see a business welcome LGBT athletes in such an over-the-top way:

Next week is the annual Homoclimbtastic convention in Fayetteville, West Virginia which has grown to 120 registered attendees.

You might not think that West Virginia would be such a welcoming place for a big group of gay climbers, but Waterstone Outdoors, a local rock-climbing and outdoor gear business, has gone all out (and taken it almost all off) to welcome the group. Straight-to-gay marketing at its most relaxed.

Our best wishes to HomoClimbatic for a great convention!

22 July 2012 / Protest against discrimination in Olympics

A message from the Peter Tatchell Foundation.

You are invited. Join our protest:

Sunday 22 July
11.30am to 1pm
Outside IOC executive meeting
Hilton Hotel, 22 Park Lane, London W1K 1BE
Map: http://goo.gl/0FSPf
Nearest tube: Hyde Park Corner

Our protest coincides with a meeting of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) executive, which takes place at the Hilton Hotel this Sunday.

READ about our demands for Olympic equality for women & minorities: http://goo.gl/qHHdJ

Please alert you friends & encourage them to attend.

If you plan to attend on Sunday, please email James Counsell at the Peter Tatchell Foundation: james.counsell@petertatchellfoundation.org

“The IOC should disqualify from the Olympics countries that discriminate against athletes on the grounds of gender, ethnicity, religion/belief, sexual orientation or gender identity. The Olympic Charter prohibits discrimination in sport but it is not being enforced by the IOC,” said human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, Director of the Peter Tatchell Foundation.

Peter Tatchell’s Open Letter to Lord Coe and Jacques Rogge sets out examples of such discrimination and his appeal for action. See below and here: http://goo.gl/qHHdJ

“The IOC and LOCOG have a duty to uphold the Olympic Charter’s commitment to equality for all in sport. They are failing to do so.

“Our protest calls on the IOC to enforce the Olympic Charter:

Require all competing nations to sign a pledge that they do not discriminate in sport on the grounds of gender, ethnicity, religion/belief, sexual orientation or gender identity. If they refuse to sign, they should be denied participation in the games.
Make a public statement that LGBT athletes are welcome at London 2012 and that participating nations must not discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity,” said Mr Tatchell.

For further information:

Peter Tatchell, Director, Peter Tatchell Foundation
0207 403 1790
Email: Peter@PeterTatchellFoundation.org
Web: www.PeterTatchellFoundation.org

Olympics: Open Letter to Lord Coe & IOC

Call for all nations to sign equality in sport pledge - or face ban

Olympic Charter prohibits discrimination in sport. Not enforced

President of the International Olympic Committee
Chair of the London Organising Committee for the Olympic & Paralympic Games

18 July 2012

Dear Lord Coe and Jacques Rogge,

IOC & LOCOG urged to enforce Olympic Charter

The Olympic Charter prohibits discrimination in sport. It states:

“Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement”

Despite this laudable commitment, many nations deny equal opportunities to women athletes and to those from ethnic, religious and sexual minorities. They violate the Olympic spirit of equality. This discrimination takes the form of a lack of equal access to sports facilities, competitions and the Olympic selection process.

Some examples include:

The government of Saudi Arabia provides almost no sports facilities for women. It has selected only two token women athletes to compete in the London Olympics - and neither woman actually lives in Saudi Arabia.

Iran practices systematic discrimination against its Kurdish, Arab and Baluch citizens. It holds gender segregated sports competitions and forces female competitors to cover themselves head-to-toe, even if they do not want to. Women athletes are forbidden to have male coaches or to participate in sports that involve physical contact with male sports officials.

India’s dalits (so-called ‘untouchables’) suffer economic and social marginalisation, which means they have little or no hope of developing their sporting talents and securing 2012 selection. They are, in effect, Olympic outcasts.

In over 150 countries, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) athletes are forced to hide their sexuality in order to get selected and compete; otherwise they would be rejected and possibly face imprisonment. In the absence of laws against homophobic discrimination, victimisation and bias against LGBT athletes is endemic in most competing nations.

This social marginalisation and exclusion means that in many countries women and minorities have almost no chance of representing their country at London 2012, no matter how talented they are.

I call on the IOC and LOCOG to enforce the Olympic Charter by:

Requiring all competing nations to sign a pledge that they do not discriminate in sport on the grounds of gender, ethnicity, religion/belief, sexual orientation or gender identity. If they refuse to sign, they should be denied participation in the games.
Making a public statement that LGBT athletes are welcome at London 2012 and that participating nations must not discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity.

The Olympics should be open to everyone, based solely on merit and without discrimination.

Sport should have no boundaries or exclusions. There should be a level-playing field for all competitors, regardless of their background.

Any country that discriminates in sport against women or ethnic, religious or sexual minorities should be disqualified from the 2012 Olympics

The Olympic Charter states:


Fundamental principles of Olympism

4. The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practising sport, without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.

6. Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement.

7. Belonging to the Olympic Movement requires compliance with the Olympic Charter

Please advise me what action the IOC and LOCOG is taking to ensure compliance with the non-discrimination provisions of the Olympic Charter.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Tatchell
Director of the human rights advocacy organisation, the Peter Tatchell Foundation.