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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  • 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

    BACK TO TOP

    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

    EPILOGUE

    by

    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.

  • 04 Sep 2022 09:55 | Douglas Litwin (Administrator)

    Gay Games I: Volleyball and Cycling


    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 39 of 40 - 4 September - Gay Games I: Volleyball and Cycling

    “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.

    * * *


    Los Angeles Volleyball team at Gay Games I

    * * *

    JACK GONZALES: The volleyball tournament started the day after the Opening Ceremony. All participants were provided with information as to where we played, what time we played, and how to get there. The facilities were all set and ready for us as we arrived. The tournament was well run. Nothing but compliments from me.

    There were no rankings, yet I believe LA was the team to beat. We played well throughout the week. It was the finals that finally ended our run. We were upset by a very good Seattle team. Gold would have been perfect, but Silver was good enough, considering how tough it was to get to the finals. I am not one to dive into a depression over losing, but it was a tiny bit sad.

    * * *


    Gay Games I cyclist celebrating at the Closing Ceremony

    JEAN TRETTER: Besides all my administrative duties, which included founding Team Minnesota, helping Tom Waddell and Mark Brown creating the Sports Governing Rules & Regulations handbook and launching the International Gay Olympic Association, I entered the Gay Games I cycling event. Training on the flat prairie terrain of Minnesota didn’t quite prepare me for the hilly terrain of San Francisco. I also hadn’t had a chance to practice on the course, but didn’t expect to be among the top finishers. Somewhere along the way, after the race got under way, I somehow got turned around.

    When I finally saw the finish line, I was a bit perplexed to see all the spectators lined up on the opposite side of the finish. As it turned out, when I got turned around, I ended up doing the course in reverse, crossing the finish line from the wrong direction! But that didn’t matter to the spectators and fellow competitors; I still received a massive cheer from those in attendance. I was there and participating in a sport as an openly gay man, and that was more important than capturing any medal.

    * * *


    The West Coast Gay Choral Festival at Nourse Auditorium

    CHARLIE CARSON: Slept in but get up for lunch. Head downtown to Nourse Auditorium for the West Coast Gay Choral Festival, arriving halfway through the set by the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles. Sit with swimmers Mauro and Dana. Impressed by Portland (The Rose is lovely.) and San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus (When I Heardst the Close of Day brings tears). I have a lot of thoughts.

    The choruses are a relatively new phenomenon themselves and joining the NYCGMC has changed my life. Seeing all these people onstage, identifying themselves publicly as members of the G&L community, is one of the first things a wider world is starting to see of us other than Pride marches in larger cities the last dozen years. The Gay Games adds sports as something the public can relate to – hey, we’re not so different.  Talk to members of several choruses about coming to New York next year. Stay until the end and head out to S.F. State for the Volleyball finals.

    Seattle vs. L.A. is the final match. Seattle wins in a tiebreaker. Take picture of my San Diego volleyball friend with his bronze; he says he’s proud of having a medal at all. Earlier today, S.F. Pendulum beat Milwaukee 5-4 in softball. Evening it’s back to the Trocadero Transfer with Jeff and others. Run into an acquaintance from Knoxville who’s sporting a Mid-South gay man’s uniform of preppy multi-colored pants instead of jeans and I can’t help rolling my eyes. Viola Wills is tonight’s entertainer with Stormy Weather, If You Could Read My Mind, Up on the Roof – and then her unfortunate Sound of Music Medley, which is the kind of thing that killed disco. D.J. is Tommy Williams. The bar closes at 2 – difficult to get used to for us New Yorkers – but people stay until 3 a.m. with soft drinks. Jeff and I cab home. One day to go!

    * * *

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

  • 03 Sep 2022 11:19 | Douglas Litwin (Administrator)

    Gay Games I: Swimming, Physique, and the Choral Event


    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 37 of 40 - 3 September - Gay Games I: Swimming, Physique, and the Choral Event

    “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.

    * * *

        
    Gay Games I swimmers celebrating

    CHRIS VAN SCOYK: The swim competition was well organized and hugely popular with those who attended. As I remember, when we received our medals, someone blew bubbles as recognition of our achievement. It didn’t matter if we got gold, silver, or bronze, or no medal at all. Everyone who competed was treated as a hero.

    * * *


    Mauro Bordovsky on the left in the above photo

    MAURO BORDOVSKY: The swim tournament was amazing. The fact that we had preliminary then final races resembled the Olympic Games. That, too, contributed to my feeling like an Olympic athlete. I also really liked the support that swimmers and spectators alike gave to all participants, especially to those who finished their race last. The participation medal honored all participants and the medal ceremonies were legitimized our being Olympic athletes.

    * * *


    Charlie Carson in the pool at Gay Games I

    CHARLIE CARSON: Billboards advertise Donald O’Connor in town with a pre-Broadway tour of Showboat. The Gay Softball World Series is part of the Games with the final tomorrow. It’s sunny and I spend time walking around the Castro, hanging out at Hibernia Beach. Go into record store but don’t buy – hear Shakatak’s Night Birds, Alan Parsons’ Time, The Spinners’ Games People Play, Laura Branigan’s Gloria, Eddy Grant’s California Style. Go downtown and run into several of New York’s Front Runners, including Marty King who was second in his age group in the marathon.


    West Coast Gay Choral Festival held during Gay Games I

    Attend the West Coast Gay Choral Festival dinner and show at California Hall and catered by Hal Herkenhoff, who gives me his business card to stay in contact after the Games. Sit with two members of New York’s Stonewall Chorale (a female/male chorus), in town as site-seers. Talk to Jeff and Frank of the Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus, also site-seeing here and not sure their group will make it to New York for COAST. Very funny Carol Roberts entertains with her routine about being a foodaholic.

    There’s a full moon tonight while heading to the I-Beam with Jeff and Frank. Take pictures inside and meet Glenn White of Australia, a track sprinter who finished fourth in the 100 meters and who will pass through New York with his mates on their way home. Order black and white photo prints of swimming and diving from Colston Young. Music of the night: Cat People, Outlaw, Deetour, Calling All Boys, Love is in Control, Do You Wanna Funk, Do I Do, Jump Shout, Situation, P.A.S.S.I.O.N., Stormy Weather, Right on Target, Babe We’re Gonna Love Tonight. Dance on stage. Head to Trocadero Transfer with J.P., his friend Alex, Allison, Charlotte from Tucson. We’re too late to see The Flirts perform, but we enjoy the beer and dancing.

    * * *

         
    The Gay Games I Physique event at the historic Castro Theater

    KEN WARD: The San Francisco Marching Band got to play for the Physique / Body Building competition at the Castro Theater a few days later. Foster-Hayden had the crazy idea to write an arrangement of the Star Spangled Banner with jazz chords: Star Spangled Banner a la Charley Parker/ Dizzy Gillespie! I thought it would be cool, but it was just weird, and there was dead silence after we played it. I don't think the Foster-Hayden person knew anything about jazz progressions.

    But I was having a hard time concentrating on the music at the body builders' event, anyway. Could that have anything to do with my level of stimulation and distraction regarding the body builders' bodies?

    * * *

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

  • 02 Sep 2022 11:23 | Douglas Litwin (Administrator)

    Gay Games I Opening Ceremony

    HAPPY 40TH ANNIVERSARY - GAY GAMES!!!


    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 32b of 40 - 28 August: 1982 - Gay Games I Opening Ceremony

    Continued from Post 32a

    * * *

      
    (L) Athletes from Sydney Australia at Gay Games I; (R) Tina Turner rocking out

    JAMES HAHN: I made my way to San Francisco on August 28, catching a ride from another bowler I knew from Sacramento (close to Davis). I arrived at the Opening Ceremony more than three hours ahead of time, just to make sure I would be able to take everything in.

    Many of the athletes were wandering about with their team uniforms on. Participants from nearly every major city and nearly every state could be found. Numerous international participants could also be spotted, including some from as far away as Australia. I still remember watching a group from Canada doing the “Bunny Hop” to pass the time.

    The City/State signs showed up shortly and I found my place between a billiards team from Daly City and a bowling team from East Palo Alto. We marched into the stadium, watching the audience in the stands rise to their feet and cheer us on as we marched around the perimeter of the grass, and then settled onto the grass to watch the program begin.

    First up, one of the board members of San Francisco Arts and Athletics welcomed us to the first ever Gay Games. Note that the name Gay Olympics had to be retired a few days prior due to the injunction brought by the United States Olympic Committee. The first speaker could not use the term. The next person who spoke was also limited by the terms of the lawsuit from using the word “Olympics.”


    Attorney Mary Dunlap speaking forcefully at GGI about the USOC injunction

    The third person who spoke, representing the City and County of San Francisco, was Supervisor and acting Mayor Doris Ward. She was there because Mayor Dianne Feinstein had conveniently skipped town as did John Barbagelata, President of the Board of Supervisors. Doris was not bound by the terms of the lawsuit. She very proudly and very loudly welcomed us to the first Gay Olympic Games. Everyone in the stadium leapt to their feet, cheering wildly.

    A little while later, Meg Christian, the singer-songwriter who wrote the first Gay Games anthem, called “Reach for the Sky” performed. She stepped onto the stage and introduced herself to the crowd, before exclaiming “I never thought I would ever be the opening act for Tina Turner!” After the anthem was finished, out comes Tina Turner dressed in a silver flapper dress and treated us to about a half dozen of her hits, all from before “What’s Love Got To Do With It.”

    * * *

    Team San Francisco entering the Opening Ceremony


    Charlie Carson (at right in red tie) at GGI Opening Ceremony

    CHARLIE CARSON: Arrive at Kezar Stadium for the Opening ceremony. New York group of about a dozen has agreed to wear jeans and white dress shirts. George has brought red ties (decades ago, a red tie was a gay male identifier in NYC). Most are runners, but others are in tennis, wrestling and physique. We have one female, entered in Physique. The biggest city contingents are from California; most of the 1,300 or so participants are from the North American west coast. The large Minneapolis group stands out in pale blue warmups. Tom Waddell and Rita Mae Brown speak to the athletes on bullhorns while we wait, and the Sistah Boom female percussion group plays before heading inside.


    International teams at Gay Games I. Photo: Lisa Kanemoto

    Finally, the athletes march in and it is INCREDIBLE. The stadium is huge; not filled, but still there are several thousand spectators, cheering wildly. As NYC gets about halfway down the sideline the speakers fill Kezar with the “Chariots of Fire” theme and things get emotional. We’re under no illusion we’re at an Olympic Games, but we are at the first of this. More words from Tom Waddell and Rita Mae Brown. Congressman Phil Burton speaks. Defying the cease & desist order, acting mayor Doris Ward declares it the “first Gay OLYMPIC Games.” Tina Turner entertains; fierce. On cue, the sun comes out for the torch lighting, and they release hundreds of pastel-colored balloons. Everyone is happy and proud; everyone cries. Meg Christian sings “Reach for the Sky” and we leave for the pool again to loosen up. What a start!

    * * *

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

  • 02 Sep 2022 10:02 | Douglas Litwin (Administrator)

    Gay Games I: Swimming and Shades of Pink Flamingo


    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 36 of 40 - 2 September - Gay Games I Memories: Soccer and City Tales

    “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.

    * * *

      
    Gay Games I soccer action at Kezar Stadium

    DEREK LIECTY: The Gay Games catapulted me out of the closet. As a closeted high-level soccer referee in early 1982 , I responded to Dr. Tom Waddell’s request for referees for the first Gay Games. As a result, I referreed the first-ever Gay Games soccer match which took place in San Francisco’s Kezar Stadium. Three years later, retired and inching out of the closet, I took on the position of Facilities Coordinator for Gay Game II single-handedly arranging venues for thirty-two sporting activities and the cultural events. This public exposure gave me the confidence to be fully open about my sexuality and relieved the burden of the closet.

    * * *

    CHARLIE CARSON: Switch gears today to gay choral duties. NYCGMC’s music director Gary Miller and event producer Don Moschberger are also here. First thing I do is drop off papers at the GALA office to be reproduced for GALA’s annual meeting Sunday morning. At last year’s meeting, Gary said he was surprised when a San Francisco chorus rep stood up to declare there was only one place that was appropriate to hold GALA’s first National Choral Festival in 1983. Gary was sure he was going to say San Francisco – but instead he said New York. Well, we were all very flattered. And then we heard SFGMC decided to host the first West Coast Gay Choral Festival the same week as the Games. Draw your own conclusions (again, ha).


    Friends of Charlie Carson on Castro & 19th Street


    Charlie and his buddies at the Maritime Museum on Fisherman's Wharf

    Meet Ron, Jeff and Frank on Castro to tour and run into Rose de Castro. Castro Café – it’s a Castro fiesta! – and see Chris, J.P. and others. Tour the town. Shop at Headlines. Guy recognizes us and yells from his car about Esther Williams last night (!). Physique competition tonight at Castro Theater is sold out. MUNI to Powell and get cable car – it breaks down in Chinatown. Talk to Denver family with 3 polite blond boys in shorts (“Thank you, sir.”). Everyone, local or tourist, seems nonplused about the Gay Games taking place. Walk to Fisherman’s Wharf and Ghirardelli Square – touristville, including us. Maritime Museum and Frank finds a man’s wallet lost in the toilet (yech). Take pictures on pier and Jeff collapses on the lawn with a cigarette. Chilly; goosebumps make my shaved legs and chest hurt. Ron and Frank change their travel to Sunday evening so they can be at the closing ceremony. Eat at Marcello’s.

      
    Gay Games I Volleyball at SF State University

    Volleyball. San Jose beats San Diego, Seattle beats Phoenix. Good music – Jane Oliver, Don McLean’s Vincent, the Go-Go’s album with Our Lips are Sealed and We Got the Beat. Afterwards meet a San Diego volleyball player on the bus and make a date for later. Well that was easy. Call home and my roommate and his friends aren’t overly excited about my medals; good reminder that life goes on in the rest of the world.

    GALA Reception at one of the SFGMC member’s house on Page Street. Gary, Don and I do our PR work for the Lincoln Center festival which we’ve already titled Come Out And Sing Together (COAST). I make friends and realize my brain is working here but my heart is still focused on the Games. We’ll present our full choral program plans Sunday morning. Leave and find my way to the Castro to meet my new volleyball friend.

    * * *

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

  • 01 Sep 2022 10:31 | Douglas Litwin (Administrator)

    Gay Games I: Swimming and Shades of Pink Flamingo


    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 36 of 40 - 1 September - Gay Games I: Swimming and Shades of Pink Flamingo

    “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.

    * * *

    CHARLIE CARSON: Jeff to pool to work out before tonight’s diving prelims and finals. Meet Ron and J.P. for brunch at Patio on Castro. Shop at card store, then All-American Boy, and Ron and I get a Gay Olympic Games silkscreen poster of a torch at an art store on Market. Ron finished third in last night’s 50 Free and would like to medal in tonight’s 100 – he’s seeded ahead of me and just behind Richard Hunter. Back to respective places to nap. Don’t feel quite as strong as yesterday but don’t worry about it. Meet at the Castro MUNI – J.P. is there and has just gotten a ticket by a plainclothesman for lighting a match. Car is crowded but glad to get a seat and off my feet.

    The diving prelims are on when Frank and I arrive. Jeff has no problem qualifying. The stands are packed, and people are outside who can’t get in. After warm-up, the 100 Free is the first event. Once again, I finish 2nd to Richard Hunter all the way from Lane 6! Mark Wussler is third, bumping out Ron. I’m happy with that race but tell myself to relax because I want the 100 Fly. There’s really no time to think because the 100 Free awards come first. But then, I win it! Felt OK but wasn’t sure where I was at the end. I could see Edmonton’s Ross Armstrong take it out, but I just kept at a pace I was comfortable with and – I out-touched him by .06 seconds. Crowd is crazy over this race. Whew! Exhausted and happy on the awards stand. Seattle’s Dana Cox wins the 50 Breaststroke, denying Richard Hunter a gold medal sweep, because all of Richard’s relays have won gold as well. Finish third in the 100 I.M., and now I have a full set of medal colors. Happy, lucky guy. The crowd cheers for everyone, with some of the loudest applause for the last place finishers.

      
    Gay Games I diving action

    Diving Finals – Lynn Johnston dives very well and gets loud applause. Jeff and Dick Ferris have a tight competition with Ferris just enough better. Jeff is constantly smiling and popular with crowd, getting a big ovation for his silver. Rick Bohner is also diving and gets second in the Under 25 division. Jeff gives Lynn her bouquet during awards.  I decide to wear Blake’s medal around to keep mine in good shape - ha. Earlier in the meet Mark, Karen, and another woman and I hatched the idea of cross-dressing in the final event, the 200 yd. Mixed Freestyle Relay – Mark and I in women’s suits and the gals topless. But we finally decide the media would seize on that instead of the message we are trying to get out about taking sports seriously, so we nix it. Do an exhibition 100 Medley Relay with Andy, Mark and Pat and it’s fun to get back in the water one last time for a quick 25. L.A. guys sweep relay medals (Ron does earn another medal here), and everyone poses for pictures around the deck – we don’t want it to end! Never had and never will again go through an experience like it.

      
    Charlie Carson with Ron  Kirchoff at the inspiration of the Pink Flamingo

    Charlie Carson with his "chariot dogs" having fun at the Oasks

    Church Street Station for dinner. Sit with Dennis, friend of Richard Hunter’s, and Jeff and I have a good time laughing with L.A.; we all head to The OASIS after for drinks.  Bartender says we can’t go in the pool – drat. Well, ham that I am, I have the women’s suit I possibly was going to wear earlier and go ahead and dress up so there’s something else going on besides our standing around drinking. Several of the swimmers are in on it, and while giggling ahead of time we hook up a bunch of medal ribbons as leashes and I drive Ron and Harry Starcevic as chariot dogs around the pool. People call out, “Esther!” – as in Williams. Do a bit on a deck chair I call Sea Animals of the World. The manager comes over and says I can go in! Crowd hoots as I do a starfish, alligator, the shark from Jaws, Susan Backlinie in Jaws (poor girl), and Flipper. A Sister of Perpetual Indulgence tries posing around the deck and gets frustrated being upstaged.

    Get back into boy drag and we take a group picture. No one is in the mood to stop at 2 a.m. closing, but nothing is open except the Ritch Street spa. At this point we’re all friends so it’s all very chaste. Some with boyfriends won’t even get into towels. Jacuzzi with Mauro and Steve. Bobby Goldsmith wears all his medals into the hot tub and we’re tickled. Do some weight machines and – well, they sell carrot cake at the spa so we eat carrot cake. John, coach of Berkeley, drives me and Jeff home at 4:45am. A BLAST.

    * * *


    Team L.A. swimmers sweeping the 4 x 100 Individual Medley relay


    Team L.A. swimmers Bill Swann, Jeff Shotwell, Richard Hunter and Steve Smetzer

    SHAMEY CRAMER: The highlight of the Aquatics tournament for our Team LA swimmers was their l-2-3 sweep in the Men's 4X100 Individual medley relay. Due to regulations, we had to list our swimmers from different municipalities. Team Los Angeles had swimmers representing Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, and Santa Monica (this was two years before West Hollywood became an incorporated city). Fortunately, that moment in time of the twelve of them on the podium with Coach Michael Roth was captured and appeared on the cover of many LGBT papers.

        
    The iconic photo of Richard Hunter in the pool and on the book cover

    But the moment that epitomized what those first Gay Games were all about belonged to Richard Hunter. There is an iconic shot of him leaping out of the pool, both fists pumped in the air, that killer smile of his opened as wide as can be, the look of pure joy and happiness spread across his ebullient face.

    That photo became the cover of the brochure for Gay Games II. It, more than any other photo, captured the essence of what each and every Gay Games pioneer felt being part of that revolutionary event: we were free, we were strong and no one was going to rain on our parade; not the USOC nor those who had just named a strange new virus Gay-Related Immune Deficiency (GRID, as it was first known) because it predominately affected gay men.

    Besides being the poster boy for Gay Games II, Richard was featured in many magazines and caused a stir with Dr. Waddell and others when he appeared in an ad for HIM Vitamins wearing his Gay Games medals.

    It was obvious from those first Gay Games that the West Hollywood aquatic athletes were a force to reckon with, in and out of the pool. As the Tournament Director Jill Ramsay wrote in her final report: "LA team especially strong. Shelley Farber got a Bronze in the Women's marathon in the morning, then swam two events in the afternoon - that's incredible. Cooperation from the LA team is overwhelming. They are close to setting statewide records. We're setting a precedent for future games. I think many Gay athletes didn't realize the standards of excellence we would be setting here."

    Four weeks later, the LA swimmers founded West Hollywood Swim Club - later known as West Hollywood Aquatics - the first openly gay Masters swim club.

    * * *

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

  • 31 Aug 2022 11:23 | Douglas Litwin (Administrator)

    Gay Games I: Swimming, Wrestling, and a Special Telegram


    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 35 of 40 - 31 August - Gay Games I: Swimming, Wrestling, and a Special Telegram

    “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.

    * * *


    Swim Coach Michael Roth

    DR. MICHAEL ROTH: I was very proud of how well our swimmers performed. Not only were we representing Los Angeles, which would be hosting the Olympics two years later, but this was the first time gay people were being recognized for something other than their sexual preference or identity.

    After each day’s competition, the team would often head into the Castro District. I remember telling them they were allowed thirty minutes before I made everyone go home and prepare for the next day’s competition.

      
    Elizabeth Taylor in 1982

    Halfway through the meet I received a telegram from a very special patient of mine. They read it over the loudspeaker, making sure to announce that the telegram was from none other than Elizabeth Taylor. The place went wild. That was a very special moment for me. For one of the most famous people on the planet to take the time to do such a simple gesture was very endearing. Elizabeth knew how much it meant to me, and how happy it would make me and everyone else feel. That’s the kind of person she was.

    Towards the end of the meet, we still needed another woman to fill one of our mixed medley relays. A woman from the stands stepped forward, even though she really wasn’t a swimmer. I told her “just do the doggie paddle if you have to.” When she finished, the entire natatorium gave her a rousing ovation for her efforts. But that’s what the Games were about - everyone feeling welcomed and included.

    Of course, this was the time when AIDS began ravaging the community. Many of the swimmers ended up becoming patients of mine, and I ended up losing over 500 friends to the disease. I had so many patients come to me by request. When I asked them why, they simply stated “because we heard you cared.”

    Whether it was my work as the coach for the swim team, or working with my patients, more than anything, I tried; I really tried to do my best. But it is still very painful to remember all the loss we experienced.

    * * *

     
    Gene Dermody on the Gay Games I wrestling mat

    GENE DERMODY: Don Jung’s Golden Gate Wrestling CLUB (GGWC), which was founded explicitly for Gay Games, was thrust into a leadership role as the excited wrestlers demanded more!

    CA USA-Wrestling Officers and Officials were present to sanction and run the tournament out of respect for Don. Future CA-USA-Wrestling sanctioning was a major political hurdle now removed, and every Gay Games since has been sanctioned. No other Gay Games sport received official sanctioning in 1982 or 1986.

         
    Gay Games I wrestling action

    The welcoming address by Holocaust Survivor Dr. Allen Abraham, a retired wrestling coach and Athletic Director at Columbia University and then UCSF, cut the butterflies and fears of the wrestlers sitting nervously on the mats, and brought them to hugs and tears with these words (paraphrased): “Look around the room. See the future and be proud. By competing here today, you are ‘Changing The World’”.

     

    The interpersonal connections created in 1982 were extraordinary because we were unknown to each other, and yet instantly we’re on the same egalitarian athletic/social page. These dynamic group connections within the sport competitions generated the powerful LGBTQ+ sport governing bodies that would proliferate local LGBTQ+ sports clubs. International Gay and Lesbian Aquatics (IGLA) was by far the most professional, successful, and the Role Model for other LGBTQ+ sports.

    * * *


    Gay Games I swimmers on the starting blocks

    CHARLIE CARSON: Take it easy all day and don’t join the L.A. guys to sightsee.  Shave arms in morning. Meet Steve Smetzer to go to the souvenir store to buy pins and a Gay Olympic Games t-shirt. Rather than destroy inventory, vendors can still sell product if the word “Olympic” is covered at the point of sale (masking tape on the t-shirts; white paint on the pins – of course we remove the tape or scratch off the paint once purchased). Steve and I laugh at a t-shirt with “E.T. – Elizabeth Taylor,” sold!  Back to Dom’s to shave legs and nap two hours. Marcello’s for pizza. MUNI to the pool and don’t do much warmup. Shaved down; you feel like a bullet in the water.


         
    Gay Games I swimming action and fabulous volunteers

    Finals start. Chat with Allison and Karen and Scott and Hal, and Pat Prince from Honolulu. And then I win the 100 Backstroke – completely unexpected. And then move up from sixth to finish 2nd in the 50 Free! Hoppin’ all over the place, and wear my E.T. t-shirt on the awards stand. Blake decided not to come back from the Russian River for the 50 Fly that I scratched…um, OK… I didn’t need another final anyway. Do an exhibition relay with Andy, Pat and Mark Wussler of Tucson and we would’ve finished second. Tom Waddell gives medals tonight. Competition chair Jill Ramsey blows soap bubbles around us on the awards stand. The crowd treats us like rock stars, and in reality it doesn’t matter that there are no big names here. With our general equal level of ability, we have some very close races which makes things exciting regardless.


    Swimmers out on the town on Castro Street

    To the Castro afterwards with Mauro, Frank, Rick and Richard. Richard has won all his races so far and is our little meet’s star. Most of L.A. is at the Sausage Factory. Back to Dominic’s and – well, won’t name which roommate doesn’t come home tonight…

    * * *

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

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