The Federation of Gay Games announces that one of its founders and organizers, Paul K. Mart, passed away peacefully in his sleep on Thursday October 18, 2018 at his home in Palm Springs. He was 100 years old. However, rather than announce this with sadness, we want to celebrate the life and legacy of this extraordinary and dynamic individual who was instrumental in fighting for the rights and recognition of his community, and the world, by being part of the Gay Games and a World War II resistance fighter.
Paul founded the Gay Games with Dr. Tom Waddell and Mark Brown. An avid bodybuilder, his love of sport and passion for inclusion made him an integral part of the creation and direction of the Gay Games. In the Games’ infancy, Paul was a tireless ambassador, traveling throughout Australia, Europe, and North America to recruit participants and encouraging the founding of LGBT sports clubs. He was honored for this work with the Tom Waddell Award, the FGG’s highest honor, of which he was the first ever recipient at Gay Games III in Vancouver in 1990.
San Francisco's Gene Dermody, winner of the Tom Waddell Award in 2014, began his friendship with Paul during preparations for the 1986 Gay Games. “When you talked with him, he had an incredibly active mind, a very astute business acumen, and a very realistic perspective on what Gay Games II could expect," Dermody said. "His international traveling had given him a sane perspective of the state of LGBT politics everywhere, and I always believed his statements were based upon real life experiences."
Current Co-President, Joanie Evans recalls Paul fondly with the following story: “At the 2013 AGA in Paris, he told me a story of when he was part of a group of American soldiers stationed in London to learn about our code system and he met Winston Churchill, who told him he was doing a great job. Wherever you were from, Paul had a story and you were lucky if it was a short one.”
Before all this, however, Paul was a Hollywood stuntman and horse handler (he managed the horses in a scene from "Doctor Zhivago" in which cavalry officers attack and break up a crowd of anti-czar protesters). He also fought for his country and the world during World War II. He served as an undercover agent for the Allied Forces against Field Marshall Rommel, for which he was awarded two purple hearts and the Silver Star.
His love and determination has shaped the Gay Games into what it is today, a loving and embracing home for the disenfranchised, the marginalized and the unaccepted.
Paul, an Honorary Life Member of the FGG, will be missed but his legacy in the Games lives on.
A video tribute to Mart is available on YouTube. Click HERE
Here are a few photos of Paul. See the link above for more photos.
Gay Games founders: Mark Brown (far left), Tom Waddell (second from left), Paul Mart (far right).
Paul Mart after receiving the inaugural Tom Waddell Award at Gay Games III in Vancouver in 1990.
Military man Paul Mart.
Stunt man Paul Mart in his Hollywood days.