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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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  • 25 May 2023 12:01 | Douglas Litwin (Administrator)

    She gave the iconic performance at the Gay Games I Opening Ceremony in 1982.

    The entire global Gay Games community is saddened to hear of the passing of long time ally and iconic legend Tina Turner. We are grateful that Ms. Turner was the featured entertainer at Gay Games I (also called the “first Gay OLYMPIC Games") at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco on 28 August 1982.

    Tina Turner's performance was referenced numerous times in the 40-part "Passing The Torch" series published by the FGG in 2022 as part of the 40th Anniversary celebration. To read some of those comments from post #32, click HERE.

    Below are some photos of Tina on the stage in 1982 at Gay Games I.

    Rest in power. #GayGames #GamesThatChangeTheWorld

    #TinaTurner #SimplyTheBest

  • 25 Mar 2023 18:36 | Douglas Litwin (Administrator)



    FGG Reaction to the Unilateral Ban on Transwomen Competing in Athletics

    As with the decision by Swimming’s governing sport body FINA and then by World Rugby (WRU), the Federation of Gay Games (FGG) condemns in the strongest possible terms the decision by World Athletics that has chosen to ban transgender women from competing in the female category at international events.

    Even with the 17 studies cited by anti trans activists, like Sharron Davies MBE, that show that transwomen will always have some advantage over cisgender women because of having gone through male puberty, the previous rules had always allowed women to compete as long as they reached a certain level of testosterone in the body. For the past eight years, that rule has been successfully implemented with no issues at all.

    There have been so few transwomen, two in fact out of 88,000 women competing at that level in Athletics. That means the studies used are not able to determine whether that advantage is significant. Even it was, there would need to be such a large influx of trans women athletes to make any significant difference. This is simply a decision taken by World Athletics to discriminate and exclude transwomen, which the FGG wholly opposes.

    The FGG reinforces its message of inclusion for all trans and non-binary athletes and artists for cultural events at the Gay Games. They will be able to participate or attend in their chosen gender, and there will be support and encouragement based are our three key founding values of Participation, Personal Best and above all Inclusion for our trans and non-binary siblings.

    We look forward to trans and non-binary participation in November 2023 at our co-hosted Gay Games 11 in Guadalajara and Hong Kong. If you haven’t yet registered, please go to where you can click on either city’s logo to learn more and register today.

    Adrian Hyyrylainen-Trett

    FGG Vice President of External Relations


  • 04 Mar 2023 10:26 | Douglas Litwin (Administrator)

    If you're not familiar with myGwork, you may want to check them out and join this group. Find them at Here is a description of this organization:

    myGwork is the business community for LGBT+ professionals, students, inclusive employers and anyone who believes in workplace equality. They want to empower the LGBT+ community by offering our individual members a safe space where they can connect with inclusive employers, find jobs, mentors, professional events and news. myGwork is an Award Winning Company. Its founders won the Attitude Award Young LGBT+ Entrepreneur of the Year and the organisation was listed in the Top 5 startup with Pride by Geek Times.

    February was LGBTQ+ History Month in the UK. As part of the celebration, myGwork posted a very nice story about the 40th Anniversary of the Gay Games.

    Click HERE to read the entire post. Thank you, myGwork!

  • 17 Feb 2023 09:09 | Douglas Litwin (Administrator)

    Share your personal story and you might appear in a new film about the Gay Games!

    The Federation Of Gay Games is working with an award-winning British filmmaker who is planning to produce a documentary about the Gay Games. It will focus both on our 40+ year history AND the upcoming events in Hong Kong and Guadalajara.

    The film will feature a handful of individuals of all kinds and backgrounds. If you are interested in possibly being in this film and sharing your Gay Games story and 2023 preparation plans for Hong Kong or Guadalajara, please complete this short survey, and pass it along to others you know:

    Please complete this survey before the end of February.

    Link to survey HERE

  • 13 Feb 2023 11:35 | Douglas Litwin (Administrator)

    This article appeared on on 13 February. To read the entire article there with photos, click HERE.

    By Emma Smith

    Participation is first, personal best is second.

    Welcome to the Gay Games, where anyone can become an athlete and represent their country, no matter their age, gender, athletic skill - or indeed sexuality.

    The quadrennial celebration of LGBTQ+ sport and culture returns for its 11th edition from 3-11 November after a 16-month delay caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

    And for the first time in its 41-year history, the event will take place in Asia and Latin America as Hong Kong and the Mexican city of Guadalajara will act as co-hosts.

    "Really, it is the LGBTQ+ Games - allies can participate, anyone can take part," Adrian Hyyrylainen-Trett, vice-president of external relations for the Federation of Gay Games, tells BBC Sport.

    Launched in San Francisco in 1982, the mission of the Gay Games is to promote equality through sport and culture. Anyone can join in.

    "It is a participatory games - participation is first, personal best is second," adds Hyyrylainen-Trett.

    "We do have records set, former Olympians who participate, but that is an exception to the rule."

    Instead, the Gay Games - initially termed the Gay Olympics before an injunction from the US Olympic Committee over the use of the word 'Olympic' forced a change of name - aims to provide a place for people to play sport in what is an increasingly hostile environment.

    The Gay Games features sports not seen in the Olympics, such as ballroom dancing

    We have to be realistic, there are a lot of world crises

    From the 2022 World Cup, where issues from the illegality of homosexuality in Qatar and the scrapping of the OneLove armband created a macabre sideshow to the football, to the scramble of sports governing bodies to bring in new rules or categories for transgender athletes, sport in 2023 is a difficult place to be for many LGBTQ+ people.

    In the Gay Games there are no qualifying categories and the sports have rankings in which a person can select the level at which they want to compete.

    In squash, for example, there are four skill levels: advanced and elite, good, recreational or beginner.

    For gendered competitions, those taking part can self-identify into whichever category they feel most comfortable.

    There are some competitive sports - swimming, for example, has world records available as it is a World Aquatics-recognised event - but it's mostly about taking part.

    And it's because of this that the Gay Games has grown to have more participants than even the Olympics, with more than 10,000 people taking part in the event in Paris 2018.

    Hyyrylainen-Trett anticipates lower numbers this time around, though, with sports split over the two host countries. Just six of the 32 events will take place in both Hong Kong and Guadalajara: badminton, swimming, marathon, road running, tennis and track and field.

    "There will be a mixture of some sports - hockey will be in Hong Kong for example, powerlifting in Guadalajara.

    "We are conscious numbers will be different, and probably lower. We have to be realistic, there are a lot of crises in the world. This is not a cheap adventure either, we are wary of cost as well."

    It's a feeling of nervousness and excitement

    But Hyyrylainen-Trett believes this could be the most diverse Gay Games yet, thanks to it being hosted in two new continents, along with initiatives such as a scholarship the Games run in Congo to enable more African athletes to compete.

    Hosting in Asia and Latin America for the first time will broaden what has for four decades been a largely US-centric event.

    Five of the 10 Games so far have been held in the United States, while the 1990 event was hosted by Vancouver, Canada. The only Gay Games to take place outside Europe or North America to date was in Sydney in 2002.

    "The point of the Games is to branch out. It is important that we strive to take the Games elsewhere," he says.

    Hyyrylainen-Trett knows the Games as well as anyone, having taken part in the event at Cologne 2010 and Paris 2018.

    These are the first Games he has helped organise.

    "It's a feeling of nervousness and excitement," he says, with the event now nine months away.

    "We are sad we couldn't have them for the 40th anniversary in 2022, due to extraordinary global circumstances. That's why we have a unique and significant co-hosting arrangement for 2023."

    The 2022 event was due to take place solely in Hong Kong, but because of the ongoing challenges of the pandemic and the political unrest with neighbouring China, a co-host was sought. Guadalajara - which came second to both Hong Kong in the 2022 bid and to Valencia for the 2026 event - was called in to help host the Games.

    "The Hong Kong Covid restrictions were still in place travel-wise up to December, and we have to plan 365 days ahead," explains Hyyrylainen-Trett.

    "Guadalajara have been up there, they have been ready. They have the facilities, they have the ability to pull this off in a much shorter time period.

    "Most cities have four years, Guadalajara has 15 months. It's a big ask, but we recognise their ability to pull this out the hat. From both sides, both cities, there is a big desire to make this work."

    A total of 1,350 people took part in the first Gay Games in 1982. Yet as the event's reach continues to grow, Hyyrylainen-Trett is focused on ensuring the ethos remains the same.

    "There is music, cheerleading, dancing - but sport is the fundamental part," he says.

    "I am hoping both cities are able to pull this unique arrangement off - it will be a challenge."

  • 11 Feb 2023 10:40 | Douglas Litwin (Administrator)
    Doug Mattis, who made history by coming out at the 1994 Gay Games in NYC has died.


    On Thursday, February 9, the figure skating world lost a beloved pioneer. Doug Mattis, a 56-year-old master PSA rated choreographer and athlete passed away. He was a beloved member of the figure skating community, known for his artistry on the ice and his groundbreaking work to bring visibility to LGBTQ+ athletes. 

    During his 26-year career in figure skating, Doug achieved numerous accolades. He was part of the United States International Figure Skating Team and won the U.S Open and American Open seven times. In 1994 he revealed his sexual orientation to the figure skating community by skating two exhibition pieces at the Gay Games in New York City. He made history as one of the first openly gay athletes in figure skating and used his platform to normalize LGBTQ+ visibility in this highly competitive sport. 

    Doug’s work didn’t stop there – he also hosted several seminars on choreography for coaches all over North America, wrote articles for national magazines, created programs for charity events, and produced shows. His passion for writing never stopped – during his last years he wrote short stories under a pseudonym that were soon to be published posthumously. 

    He was also an esteemed coach who helped many athletes reach their dreams on the ice. He taught them not only how to perform but also how to be strong advocates of their own artistry through movement on ice like him. He always pushed athletes to challenge themselves while staying true to themselves at the same time — something that will be remembered by those whose lives he touched throughout his journey in figure skating. 

    With sadness, Laura Moore

    To read a very nice profile of Doug Mattis from the 11 June 1996 issue of Advocate Magazine, click HERE.

    To see an amazing video of Doug's skating presentation at Gay Games IV in New York City in 1994, click HERE.

    Laura Moore was acquainted with Doug Mattis and submitted this post. An award-winning figure skater in her own right, Laura is an Honorary Life Member of the Federation of Gay Games.

  • 14 Sep 2022 14:04 | Douglas Litwin (Administrator)

    In the wake of the "Passing The Torch" series of articles about the 40 year history of the Gay Games, please consider reading (or re-reading) a great article first published in April 2011. It was published in the Bay Area Reporter newspaper in San Francisco and was authored by Honorary Life Member Roger Brigham, who is also a member of the LGBT Sports Hall of Fame.

    The article is titled "From the Closet to the Stadium" and may be read HERE. Or click the newspaper's masthead below.

    The article follows the path of several local early participants in the Gay Games, how they heard about the event, their experiences, and how the event changed their lives. It should be VERY interesting reading.

    Reprinted with permission by the author.

  • 08 Sep 2022 17:50 | Douglas Litwin (Administrator)

    Headliners, Politicians, and the GG9 Obama Welcome Video - Part B

    Produced and curated by Federation of Gay Games Archivist Doug Litwin and FGG Honourary Life Member Shamey Cramer
    with Ankush Gupta, FGG Officer of Communications

    Read the entire "Passing The Torch" series as it is posted daily HERE.

    Post 22b of 40 - 18 August - Headliners, Politicians, and the GG9 Obama Welcome Video

    “Passing The Torch: Ruby Anniversary Edition” is a factual timeline of the major events that have been part of the Gay Games evolution since its inception. The series will run from 28 July 2022 - one month before the 40th anniversary of the original Opening Ceremony at San Francisco’s Kezar Stadium - through 5 September, the anniversary of Gay Games I Closing Ceremony. All postings will remain online and available for viewing at the FGG website.

    * * *

    Continued from Post 22a


    Gay Games I (L to R): Tina Turner, Rita Mae Brown, Mary Dunlap

    Gay Games I George Frenn & Susan McGrievy

    Gay Games II: Mayor Dianne Feinstein with Tom Waddell

    Gay Games III: Robin Tyler

    Gay Games IV (L to R): Patti LaBelle, Cyndi Lauper, Barbara Cook, Armistead Maupin

    Gay Games IV (L to R): Kathy Najimy, Sir Ian McKellan, Lillias White, Desmond Child

    Gay Gay Games IV (L to R): Dianne Reeves, Crystal Waters, Phyllis Hyman, Martina Navratilova & Billie Jean King

    Gay Games IV (L to R): Suzanne Westenhoefer, Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Greg Louganis

    Gay Games V (L to R): Weather Girls, Dana International

    Games VI (L to R): k. d. lang, Justice Michael Kirby

    Gay Games VII: (L to R) Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, Margaret Cho, Jessica Waddell Lewinstein, Erasure's Andy Bell 

    Gay Games VII: (L to R) Kate Clinton, Jorge Valencia, Jody Watley, Megan Mullally


    Gay Games VII: (L to R) Esera Tuaolo, Geiorge Takei, David Kopay, Broadway cast of Avenue Q


    Gay Games VII: (L to R) Matt Alber, Ari Gold, Leigh Ann Naidoo, Billy Bean

    Gay Games VII: (L to R) Poppy Champlin, Mayor Daley with Cologne Deputy Mayor Elfi Scho-Antwerpes, Cyndi Lauper, Sharon McKnight


    Gay Games VII: (L to R) Jason & deMarco, Leigh-Ann Naidoo with Billy Bean, Staceyann Chin, Shavonne Conroy


    Gay Games VII: (L to R) Levi Kreis & Eric Himan, Ant, Doria Roberts, Kristine W.
    Gay Games VII photos by: Beckermedia, Amy Moseley, Bob Olayas, Jay W, Ryan Kolodziej, Ron Favors, Rose Mary Mitchell

    GGVIII: (L to R) Cologne Deputy Mayor Elfi Scho-Antwerpes, Michelle Ferris & John Amaechi, Matthew Mitcham, German Vice Chancellor Guido Westerwell

    GGVIII: (L to R) Hillary Clinton, Matthew Micham & Michelle Ferris (Dave Kopay in background), Ambassador Phil Murphy, Taylor Dayne & FGG Officer of Communications Kelly Stevens

    GGIX: (L to R) Pointer Sisters, Alex Newell, Andrea McArdle, Greg Louganis


    GGIX: (L to R) President Barack H. Obama, Senator Sherrod Brown with wife Connie Schultz, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson & Akron Mayor Donald Plusquellic, Blake Skjellerup

    GGIX: (L to R) Lance Bass, Boy George

    GGX: (L to R) Mayor Anne Hidalgo, Laura Flessel, Offer Nissim, Jean-Paul Gaultier


    Read the entire "Passing The Torch" series as it is posted daily HERE.

  • 05 Sep 2022 14:14 | Douglas Litwin (Administrator)

    "Passing The Torch:" Epilogue

    Produced and curated by Federation of Gay Games Archivist Doug Litwin and FGG Honourary Life Member Shamey Cramer
    with Ankush Gupta, FGG Officer of Communications

    Read the entire "Passing The Torch" series as it is posted daily HERE.

    Post 40b of 40 - 5 September - Epilogue

    “Passing The Torch: Ruby Anniversary Edition” is a factual timeline of the major events that have been part of the Gay Games evolution since its inception. The series will run from 28 July 2022 - one month before the 40th anniversary of the original Opening Ceremony at San Francisco’s Kezar Stadium - through 5 September, the anniversary of Gay Games I Closing Ceremony. All postings will remain online and available for viewing at the FGG website.

    * * *

    “Find the present in the past to understand the world”

    - Shamey Cramer

    Today, as we complete our “Passing The Torch” series commemorating the 40th anniversary of the first Gay Games Closing Ceremony, and the joy and transformation it brought to the LGBTQ+ community and its allies, we also reflect on one of the most tragic events in sports history: the 50th anniversary of the targeted attack on 5 September of Israeli athletes and coaches at the Munich 1972 Summer Olympic Games.

    Early in the morning of 5 September, Palestinian terrorists broke into the Olympic Village. During the following 21-hour siege, two members of the Israeli team were killed at the Olympic Village, with another nine hostages, five of their attackers and one German police officer killed in a failed attempt to free the hostages at the airport, only 20km/12 miles from Dachau, the site of a Nazi concentration camp during World War II.

    When Tom Waddell, Mark Brown and others launched San Francisco Arts & Athletics and the first Gay Games, ten years after the Munich Massacre, there were very few protections for the LGBTQ+ community anywhere in the world, and there were even fewer opportunities for the community to come together in such a public and celebratory manner.

    Forty years ago, the relationship between the Gay Games and Olympic Movement was extremely adversarial. Thanks to the concerted efforts of those from within the Federation of Gay Games, working with those from the United States and International Olympic Committees, progress and acceptance has been achieved.

    Since 1988, when U.S. Equestrian Robert Dover became the first “out” Olympian in competition, more and more Olympians now compete openly as members of the LGBTQ+ community, with several noteworthy moments at each subsequent Winter and Summer Olympic Games.

    The Gay Games family joins in solidarity with the Olympic Movement as we commemorate both of these events that transformed sport forever: one with joy, the other with sorrow.

    We are honoured to close out this series with words from one of those responsible for this transformation: Jochen Färber, the Head of Olympic Channel Services, based in Lausanne Switzerland. Jochen was a volunteer for Gay Games VIII: Köln 2010 and in 2013, as Head of the Executive Office of the IOC President, was instrumental in setting up the Paris meeting between IOC President Thomas Bach, FGG representatives Emy Ritt and Mark Naimark, and the Russian LGBT Sport Federation Co-Presidents, Elvina Yuvakaeva and Konstantin Yablotskiye.

    * * *

    The historic IOC meeting in Paris in 2013. Jochen Färber is second from right, alongside His Excellency, Thomas Bach, the ninth and current President of the International Olympic Committee.

    Jochen Färber

    JOCHEN FÄRBER: The November 2013 meeting in Paris between the IOC, FGG and Russian LGBT Sport Federation was important. The aftermath of this meeting led to more action and meetings during the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia that I found cool and made an impact.

    Konstantin Yablotskiye (far left) with Russian Sport Federation athletes at GGIX Opening Ceremony in 2014

    World Champion and Olympic figure skater Randy Gardner with Konstantin in Los Angeles - September 2013

    Konstantin Yablotskiye, the Male Co-President of the Russian LGBT Sport Federation, won a gold medal at Gay Games VIII: Köln 2010. He gained much attention in the Russian media after this, and lost his credentials to be a figure skating judge. But at Sochi, he had tickets to attend events and was allowed to move freely about, as were others. Konstantin attended the figure skating events with marketing materials promoting the Open Games, the LGBT sport festival held in Moscow in early 2014, and was not kicked out.

    We also had good discussions with the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Pride House representatives. Due to Russian laws against promoting anything LGBT, having a Pride House in a public area in Russia was a “no go”.

    When their delegation came to us in Sochi to complain that there was no official “Rainbow House” within the Olympic Village or its perimeters, we said it was not needed because the Olympic Village is for everyone, free of discrimination, and that is the magic of it. The IOC was not keen to create a list of examples or provide a space for who or what should not be discriminated against inside an Olympic-controlled area during the Games.

    We had another example in Sochi where a transgender person held up a sign against the Russian law inside the public area of the Olympic Park. And no one did anything. They were surrounded - on purpose - by many journalists. This was organised as a provocation to see that the authorities would act against them and nothing happened. The group was disappointed, so they decided to enter a sports venue. That was a scenario, as I stated before, was a no go in a public area.

    The consequence was that the authorities held this person for three hours to check their identity. Finally, the accompanying media had their story. Personally, I did not like the action of that group.

    I was approached many times by American journalists to comment on the homophobic Russian legislation. And the only thing I always said: it’s easy to scream about discrimination from thousands of kilometers across the ocean. Although I do not agree with the legislation, if you study some of the rights (or better, the non-rights) in some US states, some of them have legislation that is even worse than the ones in Russia at that time. And I am not sure if it has gotten better or worse since that time.

    One thing the IOC tries to make clear - and not everyone in the LGBT community understands this - is that the Olympic Games are an event that promotes full inclusion: no discrimination at all for whatever reason.

    * * *

    To read more about the Munich 1972 Summer Olympics, and to see videos commemorating the events, please click HERE 

    * * *

    There have been many advancements for LGBTQ+ rights around the world, including the ability to marry in thirty-two countries. But there are still many places where laws exist to punish those who pronounce their true feelings to live openly, including capital punishment.

    According to the 2019 International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) report on state-sponsored homophobia, thirteen countries have legislation where being gay is legally punishable by death.

    In the United States, LGBTQ+ rights are under attack, from bans against transgender individuals, to those wishing to remove the rights and protections for the LGBTQ+ community that have come about in the past forty years. And many of the attacks we see today are the same ones we faced forty years ago.

    Taiwan is the only Asian country where marriage equality exists; and South Africa the only country on the African continent. Thus, when people ask “do we still need a Gay Games?”, the obvious answer is yes; yes we do.

    The FGG has faced much criticism, both externally and from within its own organization, following its selection of Hong Kong to host Gay Games 11. Due to Hong Kong’s relationship with the People’s Republic of China, as well as the global coronavirus pandemic, the Hong Kong Gay Games 11 organizers have faced unprecedented challenges - challenges unlike any other faced by a Gay Games Host organization.

    Given the lack of rights for the LGBTQ+ communities across Asia, hosting the first Gay Games in Asia will make an important, and much-needed statement.

    When it became necessary to postpone the Games until 2023, the FGG Board took the bold move to invite Guadalajara, a bid finalist for both Gay Games XI and XII, to serve as co-host, in order to quell the fears of those concerned about their well-being traveling to Hong Kong.

    But no matter the challenges, or the change in FGG personnel or host organizations, the Gay Games will continue to grow and thrive; and serve as a reminder to the LGBTQ+ community and the world at large the importance of the Gay Games motto of Participation, Inclusion and Personal Best™.

    * * *

     “Athletically speaking, the Games are not about competition alone, they never were. They are about participation and self-fulfillment. They are not just a one-week event, they are a continuous process. They're symbolic in the Gay movement in a way that is assertively free of discrimination. They're symbolic of friendship and fun and they are for everyone.”

    - Dr. Thomas F. Waddell

    April 1983



    Jessica Waddell-Lewinstein Kopp

    Growing up with the Gay Games over the last 40 years, I’ve had the opportunity to be raised in a community that values love, acceptance, and equality above all else. Values that are intrinsic for us to create a supportive culture that sees beyond our differences and gives people the freedom to live their authentic selves.

    Jessica, a true "Child of the Gay Games" through the years. Photos: Beckermedia & Kelly Stevens

    The Games started at a time when ignorance prevailed, and the LGBTQ community struggled to be understood in a dominant society. And while we’ve come a long way over the last 40 years and can take pride in the fact that the LGBTQ community has more visibility than ever before, we continue to have to fight against popular, but negative, stereotypes.

    There are still many doors that need to be opened, and a lot to fight for. Today, we still see prejudice prevail, and people being discriminated against due to their gender, sexuality, religion, culture, and more. And not just in countries or communities deep-rooted in tradition, but in what was once considered forward-looking populaces as well.

    Jessica in 2022 with husband 
    John J. Kopp III and son Logan Waddell Kopp. Not shown: daughter Mackenzie Waddell Kopp 

    In Florida, we see lawmakers trying to stop schools from teaching about the broad spectrum of sexuality. In Texas, we see them trying to penalize supporting parents of children going through gender dysphoria. Across America, we continue to see people claim a religious license to discriminate against the LGBTQ community. And in other countries, it is often worse. There are at least a dozen countries in the world that view same-sex relationships as a punishable offense, often resulting in death.

    This is not okay. The people who live in these places, under these conditions are not okay. My father once said, “…think of yourself as a person first, and of your gender, class (we do live in a class structure) and heritage as simply the colors of your character” - a mentality many are severely lacking.

    We are all different people, but that’s also what makes us beautiful and unique. It is what makes us, us. And it is these difference that should be celebrated, not used as ammunition to pit people against one another, and keep people complicit in a cis white male-dominated society.

    From its inception, the Gay Games sought to celebrate and promote inclusion. To educate people through sport in a spirit of better understanding, eliminate stereotypes, and to provide everyone with an opportunity to engage with one another on an even playing field (literally).

    But now, for the Games to continue to grow, we need to continue to broaden our reach. We need to extend our hands to new generations, and those who continue to be oppressed. We need to join forces with others to educate and to build relationships. To strengthen our own influence via the channels we know our communities engage in and consume content through the most, so that we can go up against the patriarchy. To challenge tradition, and de-condition those who believe in it from what they’ve been taught, then opening their eyes to the positive impact of acceptance.

    We need to be present. We need to participate in conversation. We need to educate, to advocate and fight for what’s right. The Gay Games cannot afford to take a back seat on important topics pertaining to the world’s LGBTQ communities and their rights – but must unite and raise our voices so that we cannot be ignored. To move forward, we must work with and educate those that can help to influence stronger equal rights legislations, policies, and protections for our communities on a local and global scale.

    I was lucky enough to be brought into and raised in a welcoming and loving environment, much in thanks to the Gay Games. And it is the Gay Games that can provide us a platform to help achieve this for the future as well.

    Read the entire "Passing The Torch" series as it is posted daily HERE.

  • 05 Sep 2022 14:00 | Douglas Litwin (Administrator)

    Gay Games I: Closing Ceremony

    Produced and curated by Federation of Gay Games Archivist Doug Litwin and FGG Honourary Life Member Shamey Cramer
    with Ankush Gupta, FGG Officer of Communications

    Read the entire "Passing The Torch" series as it is posted daily HERE.

    Post 40a of 40 - 5 September - Gay Games I: Closing Ceremony

    “Passing The Torch: Ruby Anniversary Edition” is a factual timeline of the major events that have been part of the Gay Games evolution since its inception. The series will run from 28 July 2022 - one month before the 40th anniversary of the original Opening Ceremony at San Francisco’s Kezar Stadium - through 5 September, the anniversary of Gay Games I Closing Ceremony. All postings will remain online and available for viewing at the FGG website.

    * * *

    Jack Gonzales and Team LA at the Gay Games I Closing Ceremony

    JACK GONZALES: The last day of these Games took us all back to Kezar Stadium. Everyone was tired, but we all still had enough energy to celebrate these first Games. We all marched into the stadium as we did on Opening ceremony. Except this time, most of the athletes mingled with newfound friends, buddies & boyfriends. Since these 'first Games', I had been to six additional Gay Games. They still pale in comparison to 1982.

    * * *

    Chris Van Scoyk at the Closing Ceremony

    Richard Hunter (L) and Ric Bohner (R) carrying the Los Angeles banner

    SHAMEY CRAMER: As we lined up to walk into Kezar Stadium for Closing Ceremonies in 1982, I was at the head of the contingent, directly behind Frank Medrano carrying the City of Los Angeles flag, and swimmers Richard Hunter and Ric Bohner carrying the Team Los Angeles banner. Of course, both of them were bare-chested, with Richard's 12 Gold medals shining brightly against his bronzed bare chest, perfectly set above his rippled 8-pack abs. He truly was the star of those Games, and the focus of many the camera, deservedly so.

    In 2012, L to R, Tretter Collection Advisory Board members: Adam Robbins, Jesse Field, Jean-Nickolaus Tretter, Shamey Cramer

    During the final entertainment portion of the Closing Ceremony, my Team LA Co-chair Rand Wiseman-Curtright introduced me to Jean-Nickolaus Tretter, a competitor in cycling. Jean, who was in his mid-thirties at the time, was the Founder/Co-Chair for Team Minnesota, along with Robin Karas (I would later discover many things about Jean’s contributions to the LGBTQ+ community, including having been a founder of Twin Cities Pride; handling an extraordinary amount of pre-production and logistical work for the Gay Olympics at Tom Waddell’s behest; and is one of our global queer community’s chief archivists. He is also the namesake for the Jean-Nickolaus Tretter Collection for GLBT Studies at the University of Minnesota).

    As Stephanie Mills sang her heart out on stage, Jean and I stood in the middle of the field having an in-depth discussion on what was needed in order to form a coalition of team leaders and develop an international governing body, completely oblivious to the fact we were surrounded by all these exuberant, bronzed beauties celebrating with wild abandon.

    Once a policy wonk, always a policy wonk, I guess!

    * * *

    Doug Orloff in 2022 with his framed medals from Gay Games I and the 1983 Los Angeles Festival Games

    DOUG ORLOFF: All those “first” sports events were so important to me and the Pride Movement. We showed that gay athletes could compete at the highest levels and it gave society a different lens to see us through. We weren’t just party people; we were jocks, too. The whole experience gave me confidence to be myself and be out and proud. It also gave me a lifelong and dear friend in Jeff Shotwell. We remain very close after 40 years and that was all possible because of Gay Games I.

    * * *

    Charlie Carson at the Gay Games I Closing Ceremony

    CHARLIE CARSON: Up early and will survive although I have the GALA/COAST meeting. Seattle’s Tom Mann makes a speech to support COAST, saying it’s well organized so far. They approve constitution and by-laws. Don talks of the halls and Gary of the festival chorus. I talk about the budget, as it’s too late to fundraise and the choruses will have to pay for it. It’s a good meeting and nice to get a final GALA commitment. Walk to Kezar and grab fast food for lunch as time is short before…

    Gay Games Closing Ceremony. Athletes hanging around outside can’t hear what goes on and it takes a long time – I could’ve gotten slow food. The sun is shining brightly and we New Yorkers in our long-sleeved shirts, red ties and jeans are getting warm. Finally start the march at 2:30 and balloons are in an arc over a dance floor! Armistead Maupin emcees; Congressman Phil Burton speaks again; the choral festival sings with an orchestra and several of us athlete/choristers run over to join for the finale of The Testament of Freedom and Torches in the Wind. Lawyer Mary Dunlap says they will fight the USOC. There will be another Gay Games in 1986, probably in S.F.!! For a good hour and a half, we celebrate with a tea dance. Stephanie Mills entertains with Sweet Sensation, Never Knew Love Like This Before, and some Vegas-y ballads. Shirts and tops are off, dancing until 6 or so with: Walk Right Now; Trippin’ on the Moon; Don’t You Want Me; Tainted Love; You Can Get Over; Designer Music; Fire in My Heart. The songs were played three times in different sequence, and we figure the D.J. didn’t bring enough music, not expecting people would stay on the stadium floor so long. Take pictures with Steve, Jeff and Frank of Atlanta, Terry of Chicago, Dana. Walk up in the stands to savor it all. Big conga line snakes all over the stadium floor. Bye to Ron and Frank and New Yorkers – surely we’ll have more athletes from NYC next time when others find out how much fun we’ve had. Keep telling myself, “I was here!” MUNI bus back to Dominic’s and nap.

    Café Sacramento – suddenly, it’s clear the Californians are heading home tonight because I don’t see any of the L.A. guys. The Midnight Sun does have a crowd, including Sacramento’s Scott and Andy, and we say goodbye. Head out with S.F. swimmers and Dana to dive bars in the Polk Street district. Cab back to the Castro with Dana and walk through the streets one last time. The Gay Games feels solidly over.

    On Monday, Jeff and I leave at separate times. Newspaper – the Gay Games’ closing is kept out of the headlines because last night in San Francisco Mary Martin and Janet Gaynor were hurt in a car accident. We do hear good news that the Gay Games broke about even! Dominic takes me to the airport – nice of him. Big Denver group is leaving same time, many in their chorus. Take a group picture. This has turned out to be far more than I expected. Back to NYC mid-evening and early enough to get good sleep. After a week in heaven, it’s back to earth and a normal workday tomorrow.

    * * *

    Mauro Bordovsky at Gay Games I

    MAURO BORDOVSKY: Great friendships and bonding were formed during training for and participation in the Gay Games I. I’m still friends with some of the swimmers who swam at those Games. We look forward to seeing one another and taking photos together at subsequent Gay Games.

    * * *

    Read the entire "Passing The Torch" series as it is posted daily HERE.

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