Federation of Gay Games NEWS

Here you will find all the latest news from The Federation of Gay Games and on sport and culture in our community. 

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  • 23 Oct 2018 1:58 AM | Anonymous

    The Federation of Gay Games announces that one of its founders and organizers, Paul K. Mart, passed away peacefully in his sleep on Thursday October 18, 2018 at his home in Palm Springs. He was 100 years old. However, rather than announce this with sadness, we want to celebrate the life and legacy of this extraordinary and dynamic individual who was instrumental in fighting for the rights and recognition of his community, and the world, by being part of the Gay Games and a World War II resistance fighter.

    Paul founded the Gay Games with Dr. Tom Waddell and Mark Brown. An avid bodybuilder, his love of sport and passion for inclusion made him an integral part of the creation and direction of the Gay Games. In the Games’ infancy, Paul was a tireless ambassador, traveling throughout Australia, Europe, and North America to recruit participants and encouraging the founding of LGBT sports clubs. He was honored for this work with the Tom Waddell Award, the FGG’s highest honor, of which he was the first ever recipient at Gay Games III in Vancouver in 1990.

    San Francisco's Gene Dermody, winner of the Tom Waddell Award in 2014, began his friendship with Paul during preparations for the 1986 Gay Games. “When you talked with him, he had an incredibly active mind, a very astute business acumen, and a very realistic perspective on what Gay Games II could expect," Dermody said. "His international traveling had given him a sane perspective of the state of LGBT politics everywhere, and I always believed his statements were based upon real life experiences."

    Current Co-President, Joanie Evans recalls Paul fondly with the following story: “At the 2013 AGA in Paris, he told me a story of when he was part of a group of American soldiers stationed in London to learn about our code system and he met Winston Churchill, who told him he was doing a great job. Wherever you were from, Paul had a story and you were lucky if it was a short one.”

    Before all this, however, Paul was a Hollywood stuntman and horse handler (he managed the horses in a scene from "Doctor Zhivago" in which cavalry officers attack and break up a crowd of anti-czar protesters). He also fought for his country and the world during World War II. He served as an undercover agent for the Allied Forces against Field Marshall Rommel, for which he was awarded two purple hearts and the Silver Star.

    His love and determination has shaped the Gay Games into what it is today, a loving and embracing home for the disenfranchised, the marginalized and the unaccepted.

    Paul, an Honorary Life Member of the FGG, will be missed but his legacy in the Games lives on.

    A video tribute to Mart is available on YouTube. Click HERE

    Here are a few photos of Paul. See the link above for more photos.

    Gay Games founders: Mark Brown (far left), Tom Waddell (second from left), Paul Mart (far right).

    Paul Mart after receiving the inaugural Tom Waddell Award at Gay Games III in Vancouver in 1990.

    Military man Paul Mart.

    Stunt man Paul Mart in his Hollywood days.

  • 22 Oct 2018 8:29 AM | Anonymous

    At the 4 August VIP reception in Paris just prior to the Gay Games 10 Opening Ceremony, the small group of "loyalists" who had participated in every one of the Gay Games were honored. See the earlier post about this event.

    Two of these "loyalists" were in Paris but were unable to attend this reception. That wrong was made right on 7 October at the Castro Street Fair in San Francisco. FGG Officer of Marketing was honored to be able to present Legacy Medals to "loyalists" Rick Thoman (track & field) and Seth Shapiro (photographer), both from the San Francisco area. Rick was thoughtful enough to wear is Paris 2018 t-shirt for the occasion.

    Congratulations to Rick and Seth!

    Above: Gay Games loyalist Rick Thoman.

    Above: Gay Games loyalist Seth Shapiro.

  • 27 Aug 2018 4:06 AM | Anonymous

    On 25 August, Gay Games co-founder Paul Mart celebrated his 100th birthday.

    Left to right: Steve Pezzoli, Paul Mart, and Gene Dermody

    Attending a small party in Palm Springs, CA was Gay Games Honorary Life Member and participant in every Gay Games Gene Dermody. Gene was accompanied by fellow Wrestlers WithOut Borders member Steve Pezzoli. Gene and Paul are both former recipients of the prestigious Tom Waddell Award, the FGG's highest honor.

    Said Gene Dermody, "Paul was as chipper and zingy as ever. Steve Pezzoli and I filled Paul in on the great success of Paris 2018 and showed him our wrestling Gold medals. We discovered as part of the research for Michael Collins' film that Paul was awarded two Purple Hearts and a Silver Star for his World War II service North Africa as a spy."

    Paul Mart has lived a most amazing life. No single article can do justice to what Paul has achieved. But, to read an excellent retrospective about Paul. click HERE.

    In Gene Dermody's quote above, he refers to a short film about Paul that has been made by Michael Collins. To see this film, click HERE.

    Everyone within the Federation of Gay Games wishes Paul a very happy 100th birthday. You are a true hero to all of us!

  • 22 Jul 2018 10:07 PM | Anonymous

    Award-winning documentary, featuring spectacular Gay Games footage, opens 24 August in NYC; 14 September in Los Angeles

    Using the storytelling techniques of dramatic cinema, HOT TO TROT is an intimate account of a captivating, little-known phenomenon: same-sex competitive ballroom dance, a world where expressions of personal passion become a political statement. Away from their graceful turns on the dance floor, the characters’ backstories frame their struggles.

    The film chronicles charismatic Ernesto, a former meth addict from Costa Rica who strives for success and love; Emily, a lifelong type 1 diabetic, who has to wear an insulin pump 24/7 to manage her disease; Nikolai, a dazzling dance champ who came out only a few years ago and longs for his Russian family’s acceptance; and Kieren, who grew up in a conservative New Zealand military environment and wrestles with how to balance career and commitment to dance.

    The film follows these dancers over several years, as their relationships develop and deepen, and the spectacle of the Gay Games, the pinnacle of same-sex competitive ballroom dance, approaches. They are emblems of LGBTQ politics, writ small—but they are living the issues, rather than working them. As they evolve, they demonstrate, vividly and personally, the dimensions of the LGBTQ politics we all read about.

    HOT TO TROT opens in the following cities:

    New York, NY; Quad Cinema, Opens August 24, 2018
    Stamford, CT; Avon Theatre, September 6, 2018
    Los Angeles, CA; Laemmle Music Hall, Opens September 14, 2018
    Lafayette, LA; Cane Fire Film Series, September 17, 2018
    And select cities nationwide coming soon!

    Learn more about this 88-minute documentary at:



    See the HOT TO TROT trailer HERE

  • 30 Jun 2018 7:27 PM | Anonymous

    History was made Friday morning (29 June) when (pro soccer player) Minnesota United FC midfielder Collin Martin came out in a tweet on his personal Twitter account.

    Two articles reprinted from Outsports.com
    Articles by Jeremy Brener and Cyd Zeigler

    Russell Lansford-USA TODAY Sports

    By Jeremy Brener June 29, 2018 11:07am PDT

    The announcement comes just hours before Minnesota United hosts their Pride Night tonight against FC Dallas.

    Martin is the second openly gay player in Major League Soccer’s history with the first being Robbie Rogers back in 2013.

    Martin has been in Major League Soccer for the past six seasons and has spent the last two seasons with Minnesota United after spending his first four with D.C. United.

    Currently, Martin is now the only openly gay male active player in any major pro sports league in the United States. Hopefully his coming out will now inspire others to do the same. In 2018, the more visibility, the better.

    Congratulations to Collin on coming out and thank you for your visibility and courage to #BeTrue.



    MLS’ Collin Martin shows us all the true heart of sports: acceptance and love.

    By Cyd Zeigler  Jun 29, 2018, 9:55am PDT

    American men’s pro sports again have an openly gay athlete.

    Collin Martin, a midfielder with Minnesota United, has come out publicly as gay in celebration of his club’s Pride Night later today. In doing so, Martin has shone a very bright light on the reality of acceptance in men’s pro sports.

    Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

    When he takes the field tonight, Martin will be only the third publicly out gay man to play in a major pro sports regular season game in North America, following Jason Collins and Robbie Rogers.

    In the coming days and week’s we’ll get to know this young man better. We’ll get to know him in a way he’s never let the public — fans and the media — see him.

    Right now, what stands out about his statement, along with the beautiful photograph of him literally wrapping himself in a rainbow flag for Pride month, is what it says about the state of sports today and the courage of one man to step into the light.

    Martin’s coming out will both change the sports world and shine a light on just how far we’ve come.

    His age and place in his career are huge parts of the conversation. This isn’t a retired athlete, or someone at the end of his career. Like Rogers, and the NFL’s Michael Sam, Martin has potentially years of playing days left ahead of him. He started seven matches for the United last season and three so far this year.

    The young man’s courage is apparent, but just as newsworthy is his unwavering confidence in his club, teammates, coaches, fans and the league to absorb this news, celebrate it, and quickly move on.

    “I have received only kindness and acceptance from everyone in Major League Soccer,” Martin said in a statement, “and that has made the decision to come out publicly that much easier.”

    Pro sports teams and leagues across America are ready to accept gay athletes.

    He went on to thank his teammates for their support, and to encourage other professional athletes to see what he has found: Pro sports teams and leagues across America are ready to accept gay athletes.

    This part of his story, focusing on the broad acceptance in sports today, may be the most lasting part of his announcement.

    While many continue to falsely paint the sports world as unwelcoming to LGBTQ people, and in particular gay men, who come out, we know that acceptance across leagues and locker rooms is widespread.

    Martin’s coming out, and his very clear statement of league-wide support, shines a very bright light on that.

    While soccer around the world (and in patches here in the United States) deals with outward homophobia, particularly from fans, the sport has also given rise to a surprising number of trailblazers. Justin Fashanu stunned the sport when he came out publicly in 1990. Robbie Rogers was the first out man to play in one of America’s Big Five sports in 2013, after the LA Galaxy had traded the league’s leading scorer to get him. Others like Anton Hysen and Ryan Atkin have continued the conversation in men’s professional soccer.

    Now Martin adds another chapter to the sport’s legacy in advancing the conversation of acceptance in men’s pro sports.

    With Martin’s announcement, now two of the three men to publicly come out while on a regular-season roster in North America have been in Major League Soccer. The league is clearly doing something right in conveying to its clubs and players that the front office offers unwavering support to athletes who will come out. This is to the credit of people across the league.

    Every time an athlete comes out, people ask if “the dam has broken,” and if we’ll now see a flood of athletes come out. No, we won’t. Coming out is a personal decision, and no one moment will suddenly open the flood gates for gay athletes to come out.

    Yet Martin’s courage will inspire others, whether they are in high school or pro sports. His statement of support from across the sport will open people’s eyes. It’s no longer a question of “if” more gay athletes will come out, but “when.”

    Either way, we’re again at a place where no one can say it’s impossible to be out and gay in men’s pro sports. We have Martin to thank for that.

  • 29 Jun 2018 8:37 PM | Anonymous

    On 21 June, 2018, the San Francisco Giants professional baseball team held their 16th Annual LGBT Night Game. Three Gay Games loyalists were honored.

    Left to right: Faham Zakariaei (S.F. Giants), Jim Hahn (bowling), Seth Shapiro (swimming), Rick Thoman (track & field)

    In addition to the Giants winning the game, the evening featured several notable highlights:

    - A pre-game performance on the field by the San Francisco Lesbian/Gay Freedom Band.

    - The National Anthem sung beautifully by transgender opera singer Breanna Sinclaire.

    - An in-game scoreboard salute to the local artists and athletes going to Paris in August for Gay Games 10.

    One of the biggest highlights took place just before the game started. Three local members of an exclusive club were honored and given the chance to yell out "Play Ball" on the field. These three men are among a very small group of people who have participated in all 9 editions of the Gay Games since 1982 (and they're all going to Paris in August for Gay Games 10).

    Honored at this baseball game were:

    Jim Hahn (bowling)
    Seth Shapiro (swimming)
    Rick Thoman (track & field)

    It was a great moment. Check out the video HERE to see their performance:

  • 18 Jun 2018 8:35 PM | Anonymous

    Read about Jill’s journey past military and domestic foes on her way to the Paris Gay Games.

    Reprinted with permission from "My Life and Thymes" blog

    By Tom Hymes

    The first Gay Games were held in San Francisco in 1982, and Jill Waters competed in tennis and track. She’d already battled a U.S. Navy intent on expelling LGBT people. Waters, now 64, has attended all but one of the Games, and though her blonde ponytail is now silvered, she still strides on strong runner’s legs and cracks a hard serve. Gay Games 10 will be contested in Paris in August 2018, and Waters is preparing to battle new athletic opponents by facing past demons.

    The first Games introduced an LGBT-friendly sports and cultural event. But marching into the stadium with fellow athletes wasn’t entirely uplifting. Waters relates, “You were proclaiming to the world you were gay. And in the ’80s, that was still difficult. That was dangerous.”

    Waters had known similar fear in her Navy service. She was one of the first women to join a gender-integrated military and faced male superiors who tried to bully women out of the service on false charges.

    Being gay drew added persecution. Randy Shilts’s 1993 book “Conduct Unbecoming” documents interrogations of LGBT service members under threat of imprisonment and disgrace. Waters recalls that when she arrived at a new base without prior associations, her superior told her, “I know there’s lesbians. I want you to tell me who they are. I’ll give you special favors.”

    The witch hunt would later be turned on Waters despite her “walk on water” performance reviews. She feigns a deep voice to mimic Naval Investigative Service authorities who would summon her to face “stories we’ve been hearing about you.” She wasn’t dating so couldn’t be found out, nor was she selling drugs as accused. Still, she found it “very threatening” and traces ongoing PTSD to the mistreatment.

    Waters tempers her account in the belief that today’s U.S. military is far more accepting, and it’s now paying for her medical care and therapy.

    The Gay Games began to feel safer too and steadily flourished. By 2006, participants in Chicago numbered over 11,000 from 70 countries. Waters recalls that, “The opening ceremony was at Soldier Field — where the Chicago Bears play. That’s mainstream.”

    In 2018, her battleground has shifted home to Oceanside.

    During her childhood there, Title IX hadn’t yet mandated equal access for females to school sports, but her mother was proud of Waters’ athletic talent. As the only girl on the boys’ baseball team, she was praised for her strong pitching arm.

    The battle now is at the well-kept country club nearby, where Waters plays on a traditionally named “ladies’” team. Being asked why she’s never married echoes past inquisitions, so she’s still not ready to come out or have her girlfriend of three years come watch her play.

    The earlier military interrogations left Waters traumatized by threatening raised voices, and that fear of conflict is another issue in her relationship. Her own voice becomes urgent when she grasps her need to remain an outsider at the club.

    “I NEED the tennis.” Concentrated training is the path to her ninth Gay Games. Waters confides, “I cannot afford for someone to say, “‘I don’t want that gay woman on my team.’”

    After the Games, she can choose whether to remain a demure-sounding “lady” at the club. She’s a woman, an athlete, a veteran — and suddenly laughs with girlish glee that when she turns 65, she’ll become a young player in the next age division.

    But the prescribed tennis skirt irks Waters. She recently warned her team captain she wouldn’t wear one.

    “The other day, the captain came up to me and said, ‘Look what I did!’ And she had shorts on.”

    “She said, ‘I didn’t want you to feel alone.’”

  • 18 Jun 2018 10:31 AM | Anonymous

    After a long period of Injury and illness Chris Morgan has returned from the GPC European Powerlifting Championships in Nancy, France with a Gold Medal in the Masters 2, Unequipped Deadlift and has set a new British record at 235 kilos at a bodyweight of the 88.8 kilos class (90 Kilo Class). Chris will arrive at the Gay Games in Paris this summer as a current European and World Champion.

    Speaking about the recent European Championships, Chris said…

    "It's wonderful to be back in the Great Britain Team representing my country again, this time winning medals and setting records in Masters categories. Powerlifting as a sport has always helped with my own personal evolution, so to be back after a short career break, it feels wonderful."

    "What Powerlifting means to me has changed over this last few years, with me starting to enjoy the sport again thank to the members of GPC-GB,  I feel very grateful to have this  opportunity. After so many injuries over this last few years, it feels wonderful to be back in contention for medals and records."

    "I'm very much looking forward to representing the Federation of Gay Games in Paris as one of their Global Ambassadors, helping them to promote their Scholarship programme and assisting them to deliver the message of - Participation, Inclusion, Personal Best".

    The Gay Games are happening  in Paris on August 4 -12 and as of 16 June there are 9,500 participants already registered. Details about Gay Games can be found at www.paris2018.com  and www.gaygames.org Chris will be available to press and media from Friday 3rd to Wednesday 8 August in Paris.

    He may be contacted at chunky@chunkymuscle.com

    Forthcoming Competitions & Events 2018 - 2019
    July 2018 - LGBT International Powerlifting Championships (London, England) - Meet Director
    August 2018 - Federation of Gay Games (Paris, France) - Ambassador Duties
    Sept 2018 - GPC World Powerlifting Championships (Eger, Hungary) - Lifting and Refereeing
    May 2019 - GPC European Powerlifting Championships (Tiszakecske, Hungary) -Lifting and Refereeing
    July 2019 - LGBT International Powerlifting Championships (TBC - Bid Stage) - Meet Director
    October 2019 - GPC World Powerlifting Championships (Nove Zamky, Slovakia) - Lifting and Refereeing

  • 21 May 2018 7:19 AM | Anonymous

    "We have the right to choose love and to be loved," he says.

    Jingsen, or ASam, is a surfer from China.

    Reprinted from Outsports.com
    By Jim Buzinski  May 18, 2018

    A professional surfer in China has come out publicly as gay, believed to be the first Chinese athlete who has come out as LGBT.

    The surfer, Xu Jingsen, or ASam in an Anglicized translation, will attend the August Gay Games in Paris.

    In a post on China’s popular messaging service Weibo, read by more than 360,000 people, ASam explained his decision (as translated by the Federation of Gay Games and Bing):

    “Hello everyone! I am ASam. I will attend the global Gay Games in Paris, France, in August this year and serve as an ambassador. Life is human, the ultimate measure of our inner courage. Yes, I am gay.

    We have the right to choose love and to be loved. Sex, age and skin color are not shackles. We are all the same, living in the sun. Today, I am brave to be my most true self, and I see it as the greatest gift I have ever given. If my bravery brings comfort to those who feel lonely, and encourages them to support equality, then everything I do will be more meaningful.

    Thanks everyone

    The post was accompanied by ASam surfing against a rainbow backdrop:

    While homosexuality is legal in China, LGBT people still face societal and legal pressure. We can’t find another example of a Chinese athlete who has come out as LGBT. We also don’t know how extensive ASam’s athletic background is, though the World Surf database lists a Xu Jingsen who competed professionally in 2013.

    Surfing is not a sport at the Gay Games, but a photo from the Federation of Gay Games indicated ASam will be swimming and playing basketball. Regardless, he is taking a brave step forward for LGBT athletes from China.

    The 2022 Gay Games will be held in the Chinese territory of Hong Kong.

  • 13 May 2018 6:12 AM | Anonymous

    LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland announced an official reunion of 2014 Gay Games participants as the closing event of Pride.

    Reprinted from Cleveland Patch
    May 11, 2018 10:59 am ET

    The Cleveland Foundation and the LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland (The Center) today announced an official reunion of 2014 Gay Games participants as the closing event of Pride in the CLE 2018. “Gay Games 9 Reunion Beach Brunch” is scheduled for Sunday, June 3 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Edgewater Beach.

    The 2014 Gay Games presented by the Cleveland Foundation (Gay Games 9) took place from August 9-16, 2014, in venues throughout Cleveland and Akron. More than 35 sports and cultural events were held, with more than 20,000 people from 50 countries participating and visiting. The event generated more than $52 million for the Northeast Ohio economy.

    “Before the world prepares to head to Paris, France in August to be part of Gay Games 10, we are thrilled to partner with The Center to celebrate the legacy and impact of Gay Games 9 in our community,” said Michael D. Murphy, Chief Marketing Officer, Cleveland Foundation. “Pride in the CLE is an amazing opportunity to reunite thousands of Gay Games 9 athletes, volunteers and supporters from around our region while supporting The Center as it continues its critical mission of empowering the LGBTQ+ community.”

    Gay Games 9 Reunion Beach Brunch will take place on Sunday, June 3 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Kite Field at Edgewater Beach (6500 Cleveland Memorial Shoreway), overlooking the shores of Lake Erie. Food, drinks, entertainment and a resource fair of Gay Games 9 community partners will be available during the event. Bronze, silver and gold medal ticket packages are available at http://bit.ly/GG9BeachBrunch with proceeds from the event to benefit The Center’s Facility Endowment Fund at the Cleveland Foundation, which will support the maintenance, upkeep and renovation of The Center's new facility. Tickets are required to attend the event.

    “We are honored to partner with the Cleveland Foundation to present the Gay Games 9 Reunion Beach Brunch. This event reminds us of the spirit of collaboration and partnership that made GG9 a success in Northeast Ohio,” said Phyllis Harris, Executive Director, LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland. “The team of individuals working to present Pride in the CLE have continued the legacy of inclusion and cooperation to create experiences that we can all be proud of.”

    Each June, communities all over the world celebrate Pride to commemorate the Stonewall Riots of 1969 that sparked the LGBTQ+ rights movement in America. Cleveland's traditions were among the very first of such celebrations started in the country. In March 2018, The Center and Cleveland Pride Inc. reached an agreement to consolidate Cleveland's two annual Pride events into a single annual event under the Pride in the CLE brand, which will include a series of fun, inclusive events throughout the community from Thursday, May 31 to Sunday, June 3. The Pride in the CLE march and festival will be held on Saturday, June 2 at Cleveland's Public Square. For more information on Pride in the CLE, visit www.prideinthecle.com.

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