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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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  • 18 Feb 2024 15:01 | Douglas Litwin (Administrator)

    In 1982, there was no internet, no cell phones, no email, no social media, no personal computers, and no cell phones. Yet, somehow planning for the first Gay Games happened. To build national awareness for the event and raise funds, the “Gay Olympic Games National Torch Run” took place, going from the famous Stonewall Inn in New York City between 13 June and 22 August, making 31 stops before arriving in San Francisco. Here are a few photos from that event.

    Publicity photo for the National Torch Run. Photo: FGG

    Map of the 1982 National Torch Run. Photo: Niv Ben-Yehuda

    The Torch arrives in San FranciscoRun. Photo: FGG

    The lighting of the flame at Gay Games I Opening Ceremony by Olympians George Frenn and Susan McGreivy. Photo: Lisa Kanemoto

    You can read more details about this event in post #29 from the 40-post “Passing The Torch” series that’s on the FGG website HERE

    Fast forward to January 2024. The FGG was contacted by Paula Bloodsaw of Madison, Wisconsin. She was at Gay Games I as a spectator, cheering on her brother and his partner, Richard Reginal Bloodsaw Hulsizer and Fred Allen Bloodsaw Hulsizer, both athletes at Gay Games I, II, and III (Fred earned the silver medal in his age group at Gay Games II in 1986). Richard and Fred are both deceased and Paula was slowly going through their affairs.

    Among other things, she found a large folded banner with signatures all over it. At first, Paula thought it was a panel from the NAMES Project. Upon contacting them, she learned that this was not part of the AIDS Quilt. She then reached out to the FGG. Here is a photo of the banner which is now safely in the FGG’s archives.

    The signed Olympic Gay Games banner now back in San Francisco in the FGG Arhcives. Photo: Paula Bloodsaw

    You can’t help but notice that the word “OLYMPIC” is marked out on the banner. Some readers may not remember that the original event name was “Gay Olympic Games.” But, on 9 August 1982, in the midst of the National Torch Run, the United States Olympic Committee obtained a restraining order against Tom Waddell and the other Gay Games I organizers preventing them from using the word “Olympics.” With just 19 days before the Opening Ceremony, the organizers had to manually cover over the “O” word on all kinds of printed materials, including medals and this banner.

    It was a very scary time, and the lawsuit eventually was brought to the US Supreme Court in 1987, after Tom Waddell had passed away from AIDS. You can read more details about this dark chapter of Gay Games history in post #13 from the 40-post “Passing The Torch” series that’s on the FGG website HERE.

    This unfortunate episode led directly to the event being renamed to what it still is today: the Gay Games. Here is a rare poster that survived all the attempts to remove the word "Olympics" from all printed materials.

    As Paula Bloodsaw continues to organize their affairs, she expects to find more photos and other artifacts from the early Gay Games. As the FGG’s Archivist, I look forward to seeing what additional treasures she unearths.

  • 09 Dec 2023 10:36 | Douglas Litwin (Administrator)

    A very positive article by Dale Roberts in QNews (Australia) honored the many athletes from Queensland who participated at Gay Games XI in Hong Kong and Guadalajara. The article is titled "QLD Athletes Share Their Inspiring Gay Games Experience" and includes some quotes from FGG Delegate Darryl Gould.

    Photo: Sam Baramee

    The author of this article would also like to call out and thank Kim Shephard from Sydney who ran the bowling tournament. He did a great job while bringing home a medal in the team event! Kim is at the far left in the photo below, helping to hold up the flag of Mexico.

    Doubles bowling medalists. Kim Shephard is at the far left. Photo; Doug Litwin

    Well done, Aussies!

    Read the entire article HERE.

  • 16 Nov 2023 10:20 | Douglas Litwin (Administrator)

    2023 Tom Waddell Award recipient Roger Brigham (along with Emy Ritt of Paris, France) is a retired journalist who authored a regular sports column ("Jock Talk") in the Bay Area Reporter newspaper for 15 years.

    Despite some serious health issues, Roger has just returned from Guadalajara with a new appreciation for the Gay Games, which was delayed a year due to COVID and was also simultaneously held in Hong Kong. Despite media reports leading up to the events that focused on low attendance and other issues, Brigham writes that once the Games actually started, volunteers who worked behind the scenes to make the athletic and cultural events happen were filled with pride.

    "These Gay Games were not numerical failures; they were successes built on shared values and commitments,” he writes. “They were testaments to the value and strength of the inclusive sports movement even in the face of overwhelming global challenges.”

    To read the entire excellent article, please click HERE.

  • 03 Nov 2023 22:11 | Douglas Litwin (Administrator)

    On the eve of the Opening of Gay Games XI, the venerable National Geographic magazine has published a very flattering article about Guadalajara, one of the two cities (along with Hong Kong) hosting the event.

    The article, by Charlotte Lytton, describes Guadalajara as "One of Mexico’s biggest and most historic cities, but Jalisco’s state capital is only just stepping into the international limelight."

    Read the entire article HERE.

  • 03 Nov 2023 21:50 | Douglas Litwin (Administrator)

    On Monday, October 16, West Hollywood City Councilmember John Heilman presented a City of West Hollywood flag to the athletes participating in the upcoming Gay Games XI in Guadalajara Mexico November 4-11. 

    Heilman is a Gay Games veteran himself, having played Volleyball at Gay Games III: Vancouver 1990, and served on the Advisory Board for Gay Games IX: Cleveland+Akron 2014.

    On hand to accept the flag was Shamey Cramer, founder of Team Los Angeles for the inaugural Gay Games in 1982, and a Gay Games XI finalist for the Tom Waddell Award. Joining him were representatives from CheerLA, LA Frontrunners, Los Angeles Tennis Association, Southern California Wrestling Club and West Hollywood Aquatics, including President Isaac Trumbo; and other non-affiliated participants.

    The Team LA / WH representatives are pictured with West Hollywood Mayor Sepi Shane (holding the left corner of the flag), Council members Chelsea Byers, and Lauren Meister,, Mayor Pro Temper John Erickson, and Council Member Heilman (on the far right).

    Below are the remarks Cramer delivered to the council:

    Thank you Councilmember Heilman, and Mayor Shyne, Mayor Pro Temp Erickson, Members Meister and Byers, as we gather on the ancestral lands of the Tongva and Kizh people.

    Before you stands representatives of the more than 120 athletes competing in 15 of 20 sports from West Hollywood and greater Los Angeles, under the banner of Team Los Angeles / West Hollywood.

    Guadalajara is incorporating the Día los Muertos theme throughout the Gay Games. As a way to respect that theme, we are asking our Team LA / WH athletes to carry a photo of a fallen team-mate or loved one whose spirit will be with us as we enter during Opening Ceremony.

    One of those photos will be of Ron Stone. I knew Ron through his leadership on the West Hollywood Cityhood Initiative in the early 1980s where he earned the moniker “The Father of West Hollywood.” Ron was also a member of West Hollywood Aquatics, so it is only fitting that we celebrate his life and contributions that led to the creation of this flag, which is a symbol for Freedom and Possibilities for so many, all across the globe.

    These will be the first Gay Games not held in Europe or an English-speaking country; and the first to take place in Asia and Latin America.

    The increase in participation from Latin American and Asian countries is already noticeable. Guadalajara aquatics event, for example, nearly forty percent of the registrants are from Mexico, Central and South America. Next year, both the International Gay & Lesbian Aquatics and International Gay & Lesbian Football (soccer) will hold their championship tournaments in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Collectively, this is a monumental step forward in building queer sports and culture communities in countries where identifying as a member of the LGBTIQA+ community often requires courage and defiance to come out, often at great personal risk.

    As the Gay Games slogan states: “Games Change the World.” In many ways, those participating at these Gay Games - especially those competing in their first Gay Games - will experience many of the same emotions that us Gay Games pioneers felt when we broke barriers participating in the inaugural Gay Games in San Francisco forty-one years ago.

    I couldn’t be more proud to lead this contingent of athletes and artists from West Hollywood and Los Angeles as we embark upon this Journey together, promoting the Gay Games motto of Participation, Inclusion, Personal Best.; Thank you for your recognition and continued support, best of success to our friends in Hong Kong, y Vamanos Guadalajara!

  • 26 Oct 2023 19:00 | Douglas Litwin (Administrator)

    The Federation of Gay Games has announced the two recipients of the 2023 Dr. Tom Waddell Award for significant service and commitment to LGBTQ+ sport and culture.

    Tom Waddell Award recipients Emy Ritt (left) and Roger Brigham (right)

    From six finalists, two people of different genders have been chosen to receive this prestigious award by the Tom Waddell Award Selection Committee and by the Board of Directors of the Federation of Gay Games.

    Emy Ritt has been nominated for her many years of service to the Gay Games movement, in particular serving on the FGG Board which included seven years as Co-President, VP of Diversity, VP of Host Relations, and service on many FGG committees.

    Roger Brigham was nominated  for his decades of service to the LGBTQ+ sports community as a professional journalist and directly for the FGG, where he created communications initiatives, served on the Strategic Planning Committee, and helped develop the FGG’s anti-doping policy.

    The other finalists were Annette Wachter, Kurt Dahl, Laura Moore, and Shamey Cramer.

    The FGG board and assembly would like to extend congratulations and heartfelt thanks for all that these recipients and other nominees have accomplished in support of the Gay Games movement.

    Read the complete announcement HERE.

    Learn more about the Tom Waddell Award HERE.

  • 23 Oct 2023 11:53 | Douglas Litwin (Administrator)

    The Federation of Gay Games congratulates long-time member and supporter Brent Minor for receiving the "Local Hero Award" by readers of the Washington Blade in their annual "Reader's Choice" poll.

    Photo: Michael Key, Washington Blade

    There were more than 4,000 nominations and 30,000 votes were cast in more than 60 categories for the 22nd annual Best Of awards.

    As the article notes, Brent Minor recently announced his retirement after serving as President and then Executive Director for Team DC, one of the largest LGBTQ+ sports organizations in any city. Team DC currently includes more than 40 LGBTQ or LGBTQ-supportive sports teams or sports leagues as affiliated members.

    The article mentions that Brent also served on the FGG Board from 2002 - 2008. It does not mention that among other posts, Brent served as the FGG's Co-President.

    Read the entire article HERE.

    Congratulations from your FGG friends, Brent.

  • 12 Oct 2023 11:41 | Douglas Litwin (Administrator)

    by Shamey Cramer

    Left: Mexico City Olympics Opening Ceremony 12 October 1968; Right: Tom Waddell at the Mexico City Olympics  

    The initial concept to have a sports and cultural festival open to all was born on Saturday 12 October 1968 (exactly 55 years ago today). That was the day when Dr. Thomas F. Waddell, a member of the U.S. Decathlon team, walked into the stadium for the Opening Ceremony of the Mexico City Summer Olympics. As he would later state, he felt as if his heart was going to burst; and that it was something everyone should experience. In the end, it wasn’t about where he finished, but the fact he had participated and did his best.

    Given that Tom was an active member of the U.S. military, he was unable to compete openly as a gay man at the 1968 Olympics. It would be more than a decade before he took his idea from Mexico City to create the global sports and cultural festival known as the Gay Games.

    Now, 55 years after that initial spark of an idea, the Gay Games will be held in Mexico for the first time. On 04 November, thousands of participants will march into the Metropolitan Sport Center to participate in the Gay Games XI Opening Ceremony. Interestingly, it was on 04 November, 1981, that San Francisco Arts & Athletics, the non-profit organization Dr. Waddell and others created to produce Gay Games I and II in 1982 and 86, was incorporated with the State of California.

    Making this occasion even more unique, there will also be a Gay Games sport and culture festival happening in Hong Kong the same week. Hong Kong had originally been chosen to be the sole host for Gay Games XI. However, given the delays and restrictions imposed by the recent global pandemic, the Federation of Gay Games (FGG), the governing body for the Gay Games, felt it best to expand its offerings. 

    In 2022, at the suggestion of, and approval by, the Hong Kong organizers, the FGG asked the Guadalajara bid team that had been a runner-up to Hong Kong to step in and assist. Thus, for the first time in history, the Gay Games will be held on two continents at the same time. And in both instances, it will be the first time the Gay Games are in either Asia or Latin America.

    Although registration numbers will be significantly lower for various reasons, the increase in participation from Latin American and Asian countries will be noticeable. In the Guadalajara aquatics event, for example, nearly forty percent of the registrants are from Mexico, Central and South America. Previous attendance by Latin American athletes at the quadrennial Gay Games, and the annual International Gay & Lesbian Aquatic Championships has been minimal. This will be a huge step forward in building queer sports and culture communities in countries where identifying as a member of the LGBTIQA+ community often requires courage and defiance to come out, often at great personal risk.

    In many ways, those participating at these Gay Games will experience many of the same emotions that us Gay Games pioneers felt when we broke barriers participating in the inaugural Gay Games in San Francisco forty-one years ago.

    If I have one regret for these Gay Games, it is that my late colleague, Tom Waddell, is not here to welcome the Gay Games back to the country that provided the spark - “la chispa” - that has kept the Gay Games flame shining so brightly all these years.

    A tribute video to Dr. Waddell and the history of Mexico participating in the Gay Games has been prepared. To see it, click HERE.

    To read more about the history of the Gay Games from its inception to the present day, please click HERE to read the "Passing The Torch" series.

    * * *

    Shamey Cramer is the founder of Team Los Angeles | West Hollywood and a Gay Games XI Tom Waddell Award finalist. He will once again serve as General Manager for Team LA|WH at Gay Games XI: Guadalajara 2023 and compete in swimming as a member of West Hollywood Aquatics.

  • 17 Sep 2023 18:29 | Douglas Litwin (Administrator)

    The 2023 finalists for the prestigious Tom Waddell Award were announced on 15 September. They were chosen from a larger field of nominees who were considered by the Award Sub-Committee.

    The six individuals are:

    Award #1:

    Roger Brigham, Oakland USA

    Shamey Cramer, Los Angeles USA

    Kurt Dahl, Ft. Lauderdale USA

    Award #2:

    Laura Moore, New York City USA

    Emy Ritt, Paris France

    Annette Wachter, Cologne Germany

    Congratulations to all these finalists!

    The Tom Waddell Award Sub-Committee will make its final selection of the two Award recipients on 26 September. That decision will be confirmed at the FGG Board meeting on 8 October. At that time, all finalists will be informed of the results and the FGG will issue a press release. The results will also be posted here.

    The awards will be presented at Gay Games XI in November 2023 in both Guadalajara and Hong Kong.

    This is the second time Roger Brigham has been nominated. On the occasion of his 2018 nomination, he wrote an article in his sports column in the Bay Area Reporter newspaper. It profiles the other finalists and provides important background on the award. Read that article HERE.

    More information about the Tom Waddell Award may be found HERE.

  • 28 Aug 2023 14:18 | Douglas Litwin (Administrator)

    Today, 28 August is "Diversity In Sport Day."

    Their new podcast, "Matters of Inclusion," is now live! Tune in to hear World and Paralympic champion Candace Cable, the first woman to medal in both the Winter and Summer Paralympic Games, discussing her career, her inspirations and the topic of "ableism." At the very end of this podcast, Shamey Cramer includes a really nice reference to Gay Games XI, happening in November for the first time in Asia and in Latin America.

    World and Paralympic champion Candace Cable with DiS co-founder Shamey Cramer

    To see Candace Cable win her bronze medal in the 800m wheelchair race at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, click HERE or the photo below. To have this wheelchair event take place right in the middle of the Summer Olympics did for para athletes what the Gay Games has done for the LGBTQ+ community every four years since 1982.

    August 28 was chosen to be Diversity In Sport Day for several reasons. Primary among them is that the Opening Ceremony of Gay Games I took place exactly 41 years ago. In addition, exactly one year from today, the Paralympics in Paris will have their Opening Ceremony.

    Subscribe to our YouTube channel,  DiS Day, August 28 to listen in now.

    Diversity in Sport Day is YOUR day!

    CELEBRATE… your athletic achievements

    MOTIVATE… other athletes, coaches and administrators

    ADVOCATE… for universal equity in sport

    Commemorate the day by posting on social media, letting others know what Diversity in Sport means to you – and please use the hashtags #ThisIsYourDay #DiversityinSport #CelebrateMotivateAdvocate #dis28 #inclusionmatters

    Make sure to tag us and feel free to post on our social sites as well.

    Thank you all for allowing us to be part of your work, and  continued success to the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games staff and volunteers, and to the International Paralympic Committee - we are looking forward to seeing many of you one year from today at the Paris 2024 Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony!

    Happy Diversity in Sport Day, and #sharethosehashtags !

    Yours in Sport,

    Shamey Cramer and Tracey Savell Reavis

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

    About Diversity in Sport Day | August 28

    Diversity in Sport Day, August 28 is an annual event that celebrates trailblazers, triumphs and milestones in sport, motivates others to set new standards of inclusion, and advocates for universal equity in sport and society at large. Shared Diversity in Sport stories will inspire more participation from athletes, executives, teams, and communities. With greater awareness and connection, grassroots and local action will drive our global goal of diversity and inclusion in sport. #DiversityinSport

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