The Gay Games made its first journey to the Southern Hemisphere in the new millennium. Gay Games VI opened at Aussie Stadium on 2 November 2002, and the weeklong event used many venues from the 2000 Summer Olympic Games. More than 11,000 athletes and 1,100 cultural participants from more than 70 countries converged on Australia’s largest city, with the Sydney organisers having made special outreach efforts to the Asia/Pacific region.
The entire Australian AIDS Memorial Quilt along with quilts from ten other countries were displayed from 3-5 November 2002 at Gay Games VI at Darling Harbor Convention Centre. Countries who participated were: Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, Philippines, South Africa, and United States. Australian High Court judge Justice Michael Kirby opened the exhibition that day after he gave a moving speech at the opening ceremony of the Games. This three-day international display took place where thousands were able to view it, and was included in the cultural events of the Games. The Quilt Project-Sydney met with participants to share other countries’ education, prevention, fundraising, relevance issues, and display ideas.
The International Memorial Rainbow Run, organized by Brent Nicholson-Earle from America’s Run for the End of AIDS (AREA), took place during the Games. A special signature square was made by Gert McMullin from The NAMES Project Foundation and was displayed at the center of the venue. Three Quilt sections from the United States remembering Tom Waddell, founder of Gay Games, were provided by The NAMES Project Foundation.