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. 

If you have any news you would like to include or have any media enquiries please contact the relevant person on our contact page.

You can also check out the history of the Gay Games in photos and videos by visiting our massive online archives HERE.

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  • 28 Jul 2021 23:37 | Douglas Litwin (Administrator)

    Reprinted from the ABC News website

    By John Leicester

    July 27, 2021

    TOKYO -- When Olympic diver Tom Daley announced in 2013 that he was dating a man and “couldn't be happier,” his coming out was an act of courage that, with its rarity, also exposed how the top echelons of sport weren't seen as a safe space by the vast majority of LGBTQ athletes.

    Back then, the number of gay Olympians who felt able and willing to speak openly about their private lives could be counted on a few hands. There'd been just two dozen openly LGBTQ Olympians among the more than 10,000 who competed at the 2012 London Games, a reflection of how unrepresentative and anachronistic top-tier sports were just a decade ago and, to a large extent, still are.

    Still, at the Tokyo Games, the picture is changing.

    A wave of rainbow-colored pride, openness and acceptance is sweeping through Olympic pools, skateparks, halls and fields, with a record number of openly gay competitors in Tokyo. Whereas LGBTQ invisibility used to make Olympic sports seem out of step with the times, Tokyo is shaping up as a watershed for the community and for the Games — now, finally, starting to better reflect human diversity.

    “It's about time that everyone was able to be who they are and celebrated for it,” said U.S. skateboarder Alexis Sablone, one of at least five openly LGBTQ athletes in that sport making its Olympic debut in Tokyo.

    “It's really cool,” Sablone said. “What I hope that means is that even outside of sports, kids are raised not just under the assumption that they are heterosexual."

    The gay website Outsports.com has been tallying the number of publicly out gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer and nonbinary athletes in Tokyo. After several updates, its count is now up to 168, including some who petitioned to get on the list. That's three times the number that Outsports tallied at the last Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. At the London Games, it counted just 23.

    “The massive increase in the number of out athletes reflects the growing acceptance of LGBTQ people in sports and society,” Outsports says.

    Daley is also broadcasting that message from Tokyo, his fourth Olympics overall and second since he came out.

    After winning gold for Britain with Matty Lee in 10-meter synchronized diving, the 27-year-old reflected on his journey from young misfit who felt “alone and different" to Olympic champion who says he now feels less pressure to perform because he knows that his husband and their son love him regardless.

    “I hope that any young LGBT person out there can see that no matter how alone you feel right now you are not alone," Daley said. "You can achieve anything, and there is a whole lot of your chosen family out here."

    “I feel incredibly proud to say that I am a gay man and also an Olympic champion,” he added. “Because, you know, when I was younger I thought I was never going to be anything or achieve anything because of who I was.”

    Still, there's progress yet to be made.

    Among the more than 11,000 athletes competing in Tokyo, there will be others who still feel held back, unable to come out and be themselves. Outsports’ list has few men, reflecting their lack of representation that extends beyond Olympic sports. Finnish Olympian Ari-Pekka Liukkonen is one of the rare openly gay men in his sport, swimming.

    “Swimming, it’s still much harder to come out (for) some reason," he said. "If you need to hide what you are, it’s very hard.”

    Only this June did an active player in the NFL — Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib — come out as gay. And only last week did a first player signed to an NHL contract likewise make that milestone announcement. Luke Prokop, a 19-year-old Canadian with the Nashville Predators, now has 189,000 likes for his “I am proud to publicly tell everyone that I am gay" post on Twitter.

    The feeling that “there's still a lot of fight to be done” and that she needed to stand up and be counted in Tokyo is why Elissa Alarie, competing in rugby, contacted Outsports to get herself named on its list. With their permission, she also added three of her Canadian teammates.

    “It’s important to be on that list because we are in 2021 and there are still, like, firsts happening. We see them in the men’s professional sports, NFL, and a bunch of other sports," Alarie said. "Yes, we have come a long way. But the fact that we still have firsts happening means that we need to still work on this.”

    Tokyo's out Olympians are also almost exclusively from Europe, North and South America, and Australia/New Zealand. The only Asians on the Outsports list are Indian sprinter Dutee Chand and skateboarder Margielyn Didal from the Philippines.

    That loud silence resonates with Alarie. Growing up in a small town in Quebec, she had no gay role models and "just thought something was wrong with me.”

    "To this day, who we are is still illegal in many countries," she said. “So until it's safe for people in those countries to come out, I think we need to keep those voices loud and clear."

  • 08 Jul 2021 23:44 | Douglas Litwin (Administrator)

    On 6 July, the Bloomberg news site featured an excellent segment about Gay Games Hong Kong. The online description reads as follows;

    Hong Kong is set to host the Gay Games in 2022. It's the first time the event has been held in Asia and organizers have called for solidarity from the city's government and businesses. But one local lawmaker has branded the Games "disgraceful" and a source of "dirty money." Dennis Philipse, founder and co-chair of the Hong Kong Gay Games 2022, and Queer Paralympian Theresa Goh, speak with Yvonne Man. (Source of video: Bloomberg)

    Click the image below to view the video segment.

  • 04 Jul 2021 18:32 | Douglas Litwin (Administrator)

    The FGG was contacted about assisting the producers of the Hearst TV weekly News show, MATTER OF FACT WITH SOLEDAD O'BRIEN. They were doing a pride month story about the origins of the Rainbow flag.

    It is well known that the late Gilbert Baker from San Francisco created this iconic flag in 1978. What is less well known is that Tom Waddell contacted Mr. Baker about decorating Kezar Stadium for the Opening Ceremony of Gay Games I in 1982. The FGG provided several photos for inclusion in this TV well-produced and accurate segment.

    You may see the TV segment HERE or HERE.

  • 03 Jul 2021 17:14 | Douglas Litwin (Administrator)

    One of the famous "Ding Ding" trams that traverses Hong Kong island from east to west is now bearing the custom colors of GGHK. See these colorful photos.
      

    This tram will be on the streets for the entire month of July. In September, the tram will be back on the streets with alternate graphics that promotes the opening of full registration.

    These colorful trams have been running through Hong Kong island since 1904. They are very inexpensive, old-fashioned, and slow as they cruise through the streets of the city. But each one now represents a mobile billboard, raising all kinds of local interest in Gay Games 11.

    These trams are among the most unique and best-loved symbols of Hong Kong.

    If you'd like to read more about the "Ding Ding" trams and their special place in Hong Kong history, click HERE.

  • 22 Jun 2021 12:39 | Douglas Litwin (Administrator)

    Reprinted from the New York Times

    21 June 2021

    By Ken Belson


    On Monday, Raiders defensive lineman Carl Nassib became the first active N.F.L. (professional football) player to publicly declare that he is gay.


    Photo: New York Times

    “I just want to take a quick moment to say that I’m gay,” Nassib said in a video posted to his Instagram account. “I just think that representation and visibility are so important. I actually hope that like one day videos like this and the whole coming-out process are just not necessary, but until then I’m going to do my best and my part to cultivate a culture that’s accepting, that’s compassionate,” before adding that he would donate $100,000 to The Trevor Project, a nonprofit group that focuses on suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning youth.

    “Sadly, I have agonized over this moment for the last 15 years,” he wrote in the same post.

    Nassib, a five-year N.F.L. veteran who previously played with the Cleveland Browns and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, said he was finally “comfortable getting it off my chest.”

    Nassib, 28, thanked his coaches, teammates and the N.F.L. for their support.

    “I would not be able to do this without them,” he wrote in his Instagram post.

    In a statement Monday, Commissioner Roger Goodell said he was “proud of Carl for courageously sharing his truth today. Representation matters.”

    The Raiders quickly showed their support for Nassib’s announcement, writing “proud of you, Carl” in a post to the team’s Twitter account that also included his original statement. Two of his teammates, defensive lineman Darius Stills and edge rusher Maxx Crosby, voiced their support by commenting under Nassib’s post that they were proud of him. DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the N.F.L. Players Association also said in a Twitter post that he and the union supported Nassib.

    Nassib’s announcement, made during Pride Month, is a significant turning point for the N.F.L., and makes him the first openly gay active player in the league’s 101-year history.

    “Sports are, in many ways, one of the last bastions of a place where homophobia can thrive,” said Cathy Renna, a spokeswoman for the National L.G.B.T.Q. Task Force. “So to have a professional athlete of that caliber, particularly in one of the major sports leagues like the N.F.L., it really is historic.”

    A bevy of current and former athletes from around sports reacted positively to Nassib's announcement, including the retired tennis star Billie Jean King, who wrote, “the ability to live an authentic life is so important,” in a social media post Monday.

    Sarah Kate Ellis, chief executive of the L.G.B.T.Q. advocacy organization Glaad, called the announcement “a historic reflection of the growing state of L.G.B.T.Q. visibility and inclusion in the world of professional sports, which has been driven by a long list of brave L.G.B.T.Q. athletes who came before him.”

    Michael Sam, an all-American defensive lineman at Missouri, had been viewed as the most likely to acquire that distinction when he announced he is gay before he being chosen by the Rams in the seventh round of the 2014 N.F.L. draft, but he was cut at the end of that year’s training camp. The Dallas Cowboys signed Sam to their practice squad, but he never played in a regular season game.

    Michael Sam publicly came out as gay before he was selected in the seventh round of the 2014 N.F.L. draft but never played in a regular season game.

    Sam’s draft status was seen as a barometer of whether the climate of men’s pro sports was becoming more accepting of gay athletes, particularly because in February 2014 the N.B.A. had just become the first of the four traditional major American men’s sports leagues to have an openly gay active player when Jason Collins joined the Nets.

    But Sam left the N.F.L. without making an impact on the field.

    Nassib, by contrast, has already played with three teams over five seasons and is under contract through 2022. After a collegiate career at Penn State, he was chosen by the Browns in the third round of the 2016 draft. He played two seasons in Cleveland before playing two more seasons in Tampa. The Raiders signed him to a three-year, $25 million contract in March 2020. He has tallied 20½ sacks during his career.

    A handful of N.F.L. players had previously announced publicly that they were gay, but all after their playing careers were over. David Kopay became the first pro football player to publicly come out as gay in 1975, three years after he retired. He played for nine seasons with the San Francisco 49ers and four other teams in the 1960s and 1970s, and has since become an activist and an ambassador for the Gay Games, a quadrennial sporting event.

    Roy Simmons was the second former player to announce that he was gay, doing so in 1992 after his career with the Giants and Washington Football Team had ended. He later disclosed he was H.I.V. positive and died from pneumonia-related complications in 2014 at age 57.

    Some players like Simmons said they felt they had no choice but to hide their sexual identity while they were in the league. Simmons said he cultivated a reputation for being the life of the party, and had to compartmentalize his football life and his personal life.

    Simmons also said he never would have declared himself gay during the four seasons he played for the N.F.L. for fear of destroying his career.

    ‘’The N.F.L. has a reputation,” he said in 2003, “and it’s not even a verbal thing — it’s just known. You are gladiators; you are male; you kick butt.”

    In recent years, the league has publicly supported Pride Month through promotional efforts like changing official social media avatars to include rainbows and supporting the You Can Play Project, which provides resources to encourage inclusivity in youth sports, even as some players have made derogatory statements about gay people with little penalty or supported groups that oppose gay rights.

  • 16 Jun 2021 09:01 | Douglas Litwin (Administrator)

    Reprinted from Hong Kong Free Press.

    Official response from Gay Games Hong Kong is also below.

    by RHODA KWAN, 15 JUNE 2021

    Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam has said she “does not condone” divisive comments made by lawmakers in the legislature last week when they described the city’s 2022 Gay Games (GGHK) as “disgraceful.”

    “Our position on the Gay Games is we understand the purpose of these games is to promote inclusiveness and diversity, so we have no problem with that sort of spirit and purpose,” the chief executive told the press on Tuesday.

    Several pro-Beijing lawmakers objected to the government’s facilitation of the games during a legislative council meeting last Thursday, with Junius Ho calling them “disgraceful” and saying he did not want the “dirty money” the games will generate.

    “It was much regretted that in the course of discussing this topic in the Legislative Council, individual members have become a bit emotional in expressing their view,” Lam said.

    She also said the city’s lawmakers have certain standards of behaviour that should followed: “But after all, they are Legislative Council members and they have their own standards they should abide by.”

    Lam added that she did not accept any comments that would “unnecessarily divide society.”

    Read the rest of this article HERE.

    See Carrie Lam's comments delivered on video HERE.


    OFFICIAL RESPONSE FROM GAY GAMES HONG KONG:

    The organisers of the 11th International Gay Games in Hong Kong welcome the remarks by the Hong Kong Chief Executive, Mrs Carrie Lam, and we look forward to a collaborative and fruitful cooperation with the SAR government to achieve success for the Games in November 2022. As the first Games of its kind in Asia, this event will put Hong Kong on the map as a world-class city representing our values of Unity, Diversity and Inclusion. As the Games are only a year and a half away, we urgently ask the government to help us secure sports venues ahead of time, not subject to rules and regulations typically applied to one-off local events. 

    2022年第11屆香港同樂運動會(下稱:同樂運動會)歡迎行政長官林鄭月娥的回應,並期望與香港特區政府緊密和愉快合作,讓即將於202211月舉行的同樂運動會取得成功。作為亞洲首辦如此性質的大型體育盛事,這場活動將能發揮香港作為世界級城市的潛力,展現團結、多元和共融的核心理念。如今距離同樂運動會僅餘一年半的時間,我們促請政府協助我們及早預訂所需的體育場地,毋須受一般適用於單次本地活動的規則及規例所規限

  • 06 Jun 2021 11:09 | Douglas Litwin (Administrator)

    Source: New York Times 5 June, 2021


    Legislation labeling discrimination “unacceptable” has been blocked by conservative lawmakers, showing how far the country has to go to fulfill the goal of equality enshrined in the Olympic charter.

    When Fumino Sugiyama, then a fencer for the Japan women’s national team, decided to come out to one of his coaches as a transgender man, he wasn’t sure what to expect.

    What followed shocked him in its brutality.

    “You’ve just never had sex with a real man,” the coach responded, and then offered to perform the deed himself, according to a letter that Mr. Sugiyama wrote last fall to Thomas Bach, the president of the International Olympic Committee.

    Mr. Sugiyama, 39, who is now an activist, wanted to give Mr. Bach an unvarnished picture of the deeply entrenched discrimination in Japan, particularly in the rigid world of sports. He also hoped Mr. Bach would lobby the Japanese government on a bill protecting gay and transgender rights. Doing so, Mr. Sugiyama wrote, could shield “the next generation of athletes from what I experienced.”

    But now, with the Tokyo Olympics less than two months away, hopes for the bill are running out. While a bipartisan committee advanced a draft of the measure, even its modest goal of labeling discrimination “unacceptable” has proved too much for conservative lawmakers, who have blocked consideration of the bill by the full Parliament.

    To read the rest of this article, click HERE.

  • 21 May 2021 11:31 | Douglas Litwin (Administrator)



    YOU ARE INVITED!

    Want to learn more about Gay Games' legacy? We'll be discussing just that in this month's English 'Coffee with GGHK' podcast

    Earlier this week on May 17, the world commemorated the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT). This is why, in this month's podcast we will discuss Gay Games' legacy of diversity and equality throughout the years.


    We will also talk about how we can expect to create unity and positive attitudes in Asia and beyond with Gay Games 11 Hong Kong 2022’s unique combination of sport, arts, culture, and fun.

    Our host, Betty Grisoni, will lead a panel with:
    • Jessica Waddell-Lewinstein Kopp – the daughter of Gay Games founder, Dr. Tom Waddell
    • Kimberly Hadley – Officer of Sport on the board of the Federation of Gay Games & Vice President Female - Diversity & North American Referee Director at IGLFA - International Gay and Lesbian Football Association
    Date: Thursday 27 May 2021
    Time: 7-8pm Hong Kong time (12pm British Summer Time; 7am Eastern Time)

    We hope you can join us!

    Register HERE.

    This podcast is in English and a recording will be available on our YouTube channel

  • 10 May 2021 10:09 | Douglas Litwin (Administrator)

    Applications are now being accepted for the Gay Games Hong Kong Funding Support program. See the details below in three languages...

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Welcome

    Welcome to the Gay Games 11 Hong Kong 2022 Funding Support ("the Program") application! To learn more about the Program before you apply, visit: https://gghk2022.com/en/funding-support/

    Please be sure to read the following information carefully before you proceed.

    You might be automatically eligible for a registration fee and participation fee waiver if you meet one of the following three criteria:

    ...

    Show details

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


    Te damos la bienvenida.

    ¡Te damos la bienvenida a la solicitud de apoyo financiero de los Gay Games 11 Hong Kong 2022 ("el Programa")! Para obtener más información sobre el programa antes de presentar la solicitud, visita: https://gghk2022.com/en/funding-support/

    Asegúrate de leer la siguiente información detenidamente antes de continuar.

    Es posible que puedas ser elegible automáticamente a una exención de la tarifa de inscripción y la tarifa de participación si cumples con alguno de los siguientes tres criterios:

    ...

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    访问2022年第11届香港同同场作乐资助计划 请页面!若想一步了解该计划,请查看:https://gghk2022.com/en/funding-support/

    行下一步之前,请务必仔细阅读以下信息。

    如果您符合以下三个条件的任意一个,您将有机会得参赛费目注册豁免:

    1. ...

  • 22 Apr 2021 18:00 | Douglas Litwin (Administrator)

    SAN FRANCISCO, CA, USA, April 21, 2021 /EINPresswire.com/ - The Federation of Gay Games (FGG) is pleased to announce the Site Inspectors for the 2026 Games Host City selection process. Martha Ehrenfeld, Joan Miró, R. Tony Smith and Annette Wachter were carefully chosen from over 50 worldwide applications. The team, led by FGG Officer of Site Selection, David Killian, will play a vital role in this final part of the bidding process.

    Key responsibilities of site inspectors include traveling to the three finalist cities bidding for the 2026 Gay Games XII, Guadalajara (MEX), Munich (DEU) and Valencia (ESP) to review the venues, infrastructure and all other aspects of the bid organization, having a rounded understanding of FGG history, processes and quality standards, understanding the complexities of producing sports and cultural events, and assisting with the final report once inspections are complete.

    Site Inspections take place in August 2021 and will feature live social media reporting from the bid cities. The team will present its official reports at the FGG General Assembly November 2021 in Hong Kong, where final voting will take place.

    Martha Ehrenfeld, a native New Yorker, first volunteered with the Gay Games in 1994 and has attended 5 Gay Games. Currently an avid tennis player and occasional runner, she has dabbled in many sports including volleyball, basketball, squash, pickleball, triathlon, ice hockey, Nordic skiing and one unsuccessful curling adventure. Her FGG and Gay Games career since 1994 has included being a representative for Team SF to the FGG, part of the Cleveland GG9 Steering Committee, and co-chair of the FGG’s Sports Committee from 2012-2018. At the Paris Gay Games, she was involved in the scholarship recipients’ end of week workshop, helping them plan how to take what they had experienced back to their country and create their own change through sport and culture. Martha and her wife Carla live in San Francisco.

    Joan Miró was born and raised in Barcelona but has lived in several cities in Europe and the USA. He has participated in several Gay Games since Amsterdam 1998, an experience that inspired him to create the LGBTI+ sports club Panteres Grogues in Barcelona in 2000 of which he was President until 2009. The club organized the 2008 EuroGames 2008 and Joan served as President of the Organizing Committee. Joan has also served as President of the IGLFA (International Gay and Lesbian Association) from 2002 to 2005. His current sports are running, soccer and padel tennis.

    R. Tony Smith has been civically involved with boards, commissions, festivals, non-profit organizations and LGBTQ+ sports for 20 years and served the FGG Board as the International Champions Coordinator working to recruit worldwide athletes to the 2014 Gay Games, and then on the Board as the Officer of Communications from 2014-2018. Tony continues to play competitive volleyball and produce large scale sports events with the North American and Colorado Gay Volleyball Associations and serves on the Team Colorado Board of Directors. He has been married to his husband for 19 years.

    Annette Wachter ran a strategy and organization consultancy in the Media sector for more than 20 years prior to retirement. Annette has been involved in LGBTQ+ causes for more than four decades, starting as the organizer for women's studies at the University of Cologne and Rhiannon, a cultural group for women. In the 1990s, Annette became treasurer of Sports Club Janus, the largest multisport club in Europe which led to her becoming Co-President of the Cologne Gay Games 2010. Annette became General Secretary and President of EGLSF from 2013-2021. She lives in Germany with her wife.

    Gay Games 11 Hong Kong 2022 will take place 11th-19th November 2022. This will be the first time a Gay Games has taken place in Asia, and it will feature 36 sports, 14 cultural events and a rich calendar of cultural events for 12,000 participants and 75,000 spectators. Pre-registration is now open; for more information go to https://gghk2022.com/en/

    The Gay Games has enormous impact on host cities in terms of culture, sport, economic impact, history, and most importantly furthering all matters of LGBTQ+ equality. The site selection process is one of the Federation’s most vital tasks, and the FGG takes great pride in the lengthy and thorough process.

    Hosting the Gay Games: The positive financial impact to the host city of the Gay Games is clear, as evidenced by the official economic impact highlights from the 2018 Gay Games X in Paris: Total economic impact: US $117.9 million. Locals and non-locals contributed a total of US $72.7 million to the economy, in the areas of lodging, dining and entertainment, travel and other necessities, and tourism. An additional US $45.8 million was generated in local incomes – roughly the equivalent of 1,429 full-time jobs. 23% of participants were from France (12% from Paris). 40% of local participants said they would have traveled outside Paris, France to participate in the Gay Games, taking their spend of US $9.2 million to another region.

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