The Gay Games are a great event that brings joy to thousands by offering quality sport and cultural programming. These are indeed “the games that change the world.”The mission of the Federation of Gay Games is “to promote equality via the Gay Games, the premier international LGBT sport and culture event, under the guiding principles of ‘Participation, Inclusion, and Personal Best’.” Among the ways they do this is by empowering participants, encouraging a dialog between LGBT people and the broader community, and uniting local and international communities. This is the fundamental contribution to human rights made by the Gay Games.
And within the Federation, equality, gender parity, and non-discrimination are key values.
Why do we use “LGBT”?
There is always a great deal of debate on the best terminology to use when describing the community from which the Gay Games movement was born. This terminology has evolved over time: gay, gay and lesbian, GLBT, LGBT, LGBTQ, LGBTQI, LGBTQIQ… the list goes on (and on).
In our experience, we know that we already need to explain the meaning of “LGBT” to people from the mainstream community. Adding more categories simply makes the explanation more difficult, all the more so when the componenent terms are themselves not clear to many (“queer”, “questioning”…). People aren’t labels, and by attempting to find just the right label for everyone, we fail in our main task: the fight for equality, whatever their gender, their gender identity, their sexual orientation, or the way they define themselves.
In addtion, when we focus on labels, we forget that our movement is for everyone, and that includes “straight” people, in particular the allies without whom substantive change is not possible.
So while we continue to use “LGBT”, behind and beyond the letters, we speak of a community that comes together to fight for equality and to celebrate our principles of “participation, inclusion and personal best”.