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Latest news from the FGG, its members, and LGBT sport and culture

Video

Documentary about Gay Games Ambassador Greg Louganis to air on HBO

 

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Four-time Olympic gold medalist Greg Louganis is universally recognized as the greatest diver ever, but his greatest impact may ultimately come from being one of the first openly gay athletes in America. The intimate documentary BACK ON BOARD: GREG LOUGANIS looks at the public triumphs and private struggles of this LGBT trailblazer when it debuts TUESDAY, AUG. 4 (10:00-11:30 p.m. ET/PT), exclusively on HBO.

Other HBO playdates: Aug. 7 (3:30 p.m., 1:00 a.m.), 9 (10:30 a.m.), 12 (10:30 a.m., 2:00 a.m.), 13 (12:45 a.m.), 15 (7:30 a.m.) and 21 (5:30 p.m.)

HBO2 playdates: Aug. 6 (8:00 p.m.), 10 (8:15 a.m.), 16 (2:55 p.m.), 19 (3:30 p.m., 4:00 a.m.), 25 (11:30 p.m.) and 29 (1:00 p.m.)

 

BACK ON BOARD: GREG LOUGANIS traces his story from a difficult childhood, through his Olympic conquests, to a transformative post-Olympic life, outlining the discrimination and other obstacles he has faced throughout his remarkable journey.

 

“Greg Louganis is one of the most decorated and celebrated Olympians of any generation, and we are delighted to share his story – both personal and athletic – with the acquisition of this documentary,” says Ken Hershman, president, HBO Sports. “Greg allowed the filmmakers unrestricted access to his life story and viewers will benefit from this deeply personal portrait and gain a terrific perspective on his complicated and rewarding life.”

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“I think it is awesome that BACK ON BOARD has found a home with HBO Sports. At times, it’s awkward and a little bit embarrassing to reveal so much of myself – it’s a true documentary. I am honored and humbled to share my story,” says Louganis.

 

“I always wondered what happened to Greg Louganis,” says director Cheryl Furjanic. “When we first approached him, we had no idea that we would find him facing such difficulties. During the three years we spent making this film, one thing that became clear is Greg’s resilience. HBO is the perfect platform to reach both audiences who cheered Greg on during the Olympics and a younger generation who has never heard of him.”

 

“Greg’s story is connected to so many important moments in American history, including the Olympics, the AIDS epidemic, the gay rights movement and even the recent home-foreclosure crisis,” says writer-producer Will Sweeney. “Greg’s return to diving to mentor the Olympic team gave us a natural way to tell his unique story and explore his enduring legacy. We are thrilled to release the film with HBO Sports.”

Now 55, Greg Louganis was adopted before his first birthday and grew up in Southern California, taking up diving at age nine. Throughout a difficult childhood, he was forced to deal with depression, bullying and prejudice.

Louganis won the silver medal in the 10M Platform event at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal at age 16. In 1978, his diving skills earned him a scholarship to the University of Miami. Three years later, following the United States boycott of the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow, where Louganis would have been the favorite in two diving events, he returned to Southern California to finish his degree and diving career at the University of California, Irvine.

He became a full-fledged international diving star in 1984. At the Summer Games in Los Angeles, Louganis won gold medals in the 10M Platform and 3M Springboard events. Four years later in Seoul, he became the only male diver in history to win those events in back-to-back Olympic Games.

In one of the most notable moments of his storied career, Louganis suffered a cut on his head when he hit the diving board during a preliminary round of the Seoul Games, but went on to win his gold medals days later. Though the American public originally lauded Louganis for his competitive spirit, it was not known at the time that he had tested positive for HIV six months earlier. When Louganis later announced that he was HIV-positive, it sparked outrage over his original non-disclosure of the virus and sparked a nationwide conversation about HIV/AIDS and sports.

Greg Louganis announced to the world that he was gay in the mid-1990s, but it was a not a well-kept secret in the diving world before that. During his dominance in the 1980s, many sponsors knew of his sexual orientation, which limited his marketability – just one example of the homophobia and hateful rhetoric that followed him long before and after his official announcement that he was gay.

Ending a prolonged absence from the diving world, Louganis has returned to mentor the next generation of American divers. BACK ON BOARD: GREG LOUGANIS offers unprecedented access to the Olympian as he struggles with financial security and reunites with the sport that he once dominated, but did not feel accepted in. The film examines the good times and bad times, including the choices, relationships and missed opportunities Louganis has experienced throughout his career as a sports pioneer.

 

BACK ON BOARD: GREG LOUGANIS has gained critical acclaim at prestigious film festivals around the United States. It won the audience award at the Outfest Los Angeles Film Festival and the Connecticut LGBT Film Festival, and was named best documentary feature film at the Annapolis Film Festival, in addition to capturing the award for best editing at the Salem Film Festival. The Los Angeles Examiner called the film “A perfect 10,” and “a master class in documentary filmmaking,” while the Hollywood Reporter wrote, “Anyone who doubts that documentaries can have the dramatic and emotional power of the best narrative films should see the Greg Louganis doc ‘Back on Board’,” describing it as a “rich, satisfying story, skillfully told.”

BACK ON BOARD: GREG LOUGANIS will be available on multiple platforms, including HBO NOW®, HBO On Demand® and HBO GO®.

Recognized as sports television’s best storyteller, HBO Sports has captured the Sports Emmy® for Outstanding Documentary five of the past eight years.

BACK ON BOARD: GREG LOUGANIS was directed by Cheryl Furjanic; produced by Will Sweeney and Cheryl Furjanic; written by Cheryl Furjanic, Karen K.H. Sim and Will Sweeney; edited by Karen K. H. Sim and Jessica M. Thompson; executive produced by David Kaplan & Joan Kaplan, Grey Sample and Diana Holtzberg.

 

Watch the BACK ON BOARD: GREG LOUGANIS promo on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lTmTPOQT5dA

 

National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame to induct class of 2015

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On 24 July at a major ceremony at the Center on Halsted Street in Chicago, the National Gay and Lesbian Sports Hall of Fame will induct 9 new members, and the Gay Games will be well represented. The inductees are: Kye Allums, … Continue reading

Video

Trans woman makes history singing national anthem at pro sports game

Reprinted from Gay Star News

 

A trans woman has made history by being the first to sing the national anthem at a professional sports game on 17 June.

Flyer promoting Pride Night in Oakland, CA

Flyer promoting Pride Night in Oakland, CA

Pride Night ticket holders received special rainbow-themed wristbands.

Pride Night ticket holders received special rainbow-themed wristbands.

Breanna Sinclairé, a 25-year-old classically trained soprano, sang at the Oakland Coliseum for the Oakland A’s LGBT Pride night. A major league baseball game between the Oakland Athletics and the San Diego Padres on 17 June 2015.

“I never thought I’d be here,’ she told the San Francisco Chronicle ahead of her performance. I’m trying to calm my nerves with meditation, but every time I see that jersey Michael [her boyfriend] got me to wear tonight, it reminds me I’m going to be singing for 30,000-whatever people. The biggest audience I’ve had before is 1,000, so you see where the nerves come from.”

Zak Basch, the Oakland A’s media relations coordinator, said: “We were looking for a member or ally of the LGBT community to sing the anthem, and Breanna Sinclairé was suggested by a friend of one of our front-office members. Breanna submitted a demo, and it sounded great. We wanted to promote the theme of inclusion throughout the night, and the anthem is an important part of that.”

Breanna is also the first trans graduate of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music’s classical voice program. She told the SF Chronicle that when she came out she faced rejection from her family, anti-trans violence, harassment and periods of homelessness.

Breanna Sinclaire at Pride Night, Oakland, CA

Breanna Sinclaire at Pride Night, Oakland, CA

Now, she said, she is beginning to gain acceptance from her family, and is working to help young people in similar positions.

“In my work at the (San Francisco LGBT) Center as a transgender employment specialist, a lot of what I do is help people find their confidence,” she said.

“When I work with kids that have dealt with life on the street, it breaks my heart. I was there. My mother has started to become more graceful and supportive,” she continued. “She made me a quilt to keep during my surgery because she couldn’t be there. She’s always been supportive of my career, but my lifestyle was very challenging for her.”

She said for many trans people, family acceptance “is a process.” She hopes that ‘in the next few years she’ll really think of me as her daughter. It’s a brand-new mother-daughter relationship.

“But I was probably most surprised when my gay uncle, who had told me when I came out that I was not part of the gay community as a trans person, sent me a message,” she said.

“He knew about the national anthem, and his message just said, ‘knock ’em dead’.”

Billy Bean, Gay Games Ambassador, Major League Baseball’s Ambassador for Inclusion, and an openly gay former player himself, told the San Jose Mercury News how happy he was to see a trans person singing at the game.

He said: “Today is a perfect win for this organization and for baseball.”

 

 

6/17/15: Transgender singer Breanna Sinclair performs the national anthem before the A’s game against the Padres at O.co Coliseum

 

You can also listen to Breanna’s entire performance at the Major League Baseball web site HERE.