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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.

  • 27 May 2019 19:55 | Anonymous

    If you participated in Gay Games 10 in Paris, you already know how amazing the Closing Ceremony was. Even if you weren't there, you have the opportunity to experience this amazing event that wrapped up the week of activity in August, 2018.

    Check out this wonderfully edited video from the Closing Ceremony in Paris. The link to the video is HERE.

    Here are three still images from the video... enjoy!

  • 24 May 2019 23:41 | Anonymous

    After showing in more than 10 festivals around the world to a powerful response (including San Luis Obisbo, CA, BFI London, and the Cleveland Film Festival) the amazing film LIGHT IN THE WATER will be screened in New York City on 24 June.

    The film will be screened at 7:30pm on Monday, 24 June at the Regal Battery Park Stadium 11 Theater, 102 North End Ave., New York, NY 10282 (between Tribeca and the World Trade Center).

    Several founding members of West Hollywood Aquatics (the subject of hte film) and Producer Nathan Santell will be in attendance, conducting a Q&A session following the film.

    To purchase tickets, click HERE.

    Tickets are priced at $16.45.

    This screening will take place coinciding with the 2019 IGLA Championships in New York City. Learn more about that event HERE.

    More about this film: 

    LIGHT IN THE WATER shares the empowering story of West Hollywood Aquatics, from their founding in 1982 for the first ever Gay Games in San Francisco, through the AIDS crisis, and up to the present day. A television version of the film premiered on Logo TV in June, 2018 and has now screened in over 10 film festivals around the world, including Paris, Glasgow, Sydney, Kansas and Palm Springs, where in January it was voted "Best of Fest" by audiences.

    The film’s trailer can be viewed HERE.

    If you are interested in organizing a screening of this film in your city, learn more at THIS LINK.

  • 13 May 2019 12:41 | Anonymous


    The Federation of Gay Games is in full support of Caster Semenya, including if she decides to appeal the recent discriminatory and shortsighted ruling by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

    With this ruling we are harkening back to outdated definitions of what it means to be male and female. The world and its people are changing and organizations, attitudes, and bodies that are designed to protect and support their constituents must adapt accordingly or we run the risk of encouraging segregation and hatred.

    The specific and selective targeting of people because they are in some way “different,” whether female or genetically gifted or LGBTI+ has no place in our world nor in sport and the FGG will not be supporting the implementation of such a discriminatory policy in the Gay Games. #supportcastersemenya

    To learn more, please read THIS ARTICLE.

  • 13 Apr 2019 15:24 | Anonymous

    Read the intensely personal story of a long-planned visit to Australia by Roger Brigham, journalist and Honorary Life Member of the Federation of Gay Games.

    Wrestlers in Sydney, including Roger Brigham, fifth from left, gather at a clinic. Photo: Courtesy Andrew Farrell

    Reprinted from the Bay Area Reporter

    Every sports person should get a chance at least once in life to coach Australians.

    Twenty years ago, I was a fragile remnant of a former athlete. My physicians' six-month deathwatch had stretched to two and a half years. In the worst of it, I summarized my experience by writing, "I have lain in bed staring at the face of Death, and worse, held the hands of his rotting minions."

    This year, as spring took hold in the Bay Area after the wettest of winters, I found myself resurrected thousands of miles away in a place I thought I'd never see, enjoying the first days of autumn making new friends, cooking a feast for 20 fellow athletes, and coaching them in the sport that saved my life.

    For a few years, Tony Galluzzo, then-president of Harbour City Wrestling Club in Sydney, had tried to get me to Australia to conduct a wrestling clinic. I'd met Galluzzo at the 2010 Gay Games in Cologne, Germany, when he was one of three Aussies there to wrestle. Over the years our friendship and respect grew. He let me coach his club at the 2014 Gay Games in Cleveland, Ohio, and the effort to bring me to Sydney began.

    To read the rest of this story, click HERE.

  • 24 Mar 2019 21:39 | Anonymous
    • "My teammates are there for me no matter what," says Alessandro Calanca
    • Italian has no Cantonese language skills but forms bond with City RFC players thanks to their "unconditional" support

    Allesandro Calanca gets (back row, second from left) unconditional support from his teammates, despite the perception that Hong Kong has outdated views about LGBTQ community members.

    Reprinted from South China Morning Post

    By Mark Agnew

    When Alessandro Calanca moved to Hong Kong he had never player rugby before. So, it might seem like a bizarre decision to begin a brutal sport at the age of 27.

    But Calanca, originally from Italy, has found a level of “unconditional camaraderie” at City Rugby Club he never expected.

    The club attracts local Hongkongers, making Calanca the only non-Cantonese speaking player. He is forced to rely on his teammates for translations during huddles and coaching sessions.

    His decisions to start rugby and join a local team, rather than one filled with fellow expats, is not the only unique aspect to his story. Calanca is gay, and before coming to Hong Kong had heard that the city’s attitudes towards the LGBTQ+ community was not open.

    “I was expecting to have a few issues here and there with the teammates and people in sports, but it turned out to be a very smooth process,” Calanca said. “I was lucky to be in a very supportive club, I was very lucky to have understanding and open minded people around me.”

    Calanca has never come out to his teammates. They simply accepted him for who he is. In fact, even the idea of coming out is strange to Calanca, as straight people are not expected to declare their sexuality. “I think that is the direction we are going, that we don’t have to classify or label people,” he said.

    Ironically, the only prejudice Calanca has faced was when they were playing a team predominately filled with expats. One of the opposition was shouting at Calanca’s teammates and Calanca told him to stop it. “He is a person. You don’t have to shout at him or scream at him,” he said.

    Then the opposition rounded on Calanca and used a derogatory word for gay people.

    “That got me mad,” he said. “Because this has nothing to do with a person being gay or straight. This is just a matter of being respectful.

    “I don’t think it’s an exaggeration if I say it was a bit of traumatising moment.”

    But Calanca’s team came to his aid, and the other City players stood up for him even though many of them did not know what the word meant.

    “I had the ultimate realisation that my teammates will be there for me no matter what,” he said. “Regardless of whether they knew what had been said to me, they were by my side.”

    Calanca’s friends had to convince him to share his story. He thought there was nothing unique about being a non-Cantonese speaking, beginner rugby player and openly gay, in Hong Kong.

    “‘Inspire’ feels like a hard word and it comes with a lot of responsibility,” Calanca said. “But even if it just inspires one person to be open to their teammates in any team sport, or one person to join rugby even though they didn’t think they were tough enough to play, then I think it is a story worth being told.”

    Calanca has faith that the younger generation in Hong Kong is open to diversity, even if legislation lags behind changing attitudes.

    The Italian avoided joining rugby under the impression he was not tough enough but the nature of the brutal sport has filtered into the culture of standing up for each other, no matter your teammates backgrounds or values.

    “The way it is structured, you have to be physically there for your teammate and be available for your teammate,” he said. “But if you are not their to support, the game can’t go on. And I think that is pretty powerful.”

    He might still be developing his skills but he has found an environment where he feels safe, where he can play and be himself. “And that’s priceless,” he said. “If someone else can have that feeling, I will recommend with my whole heart. It makes you realise that no matter how difficult or hard it has been, there are always people who support you. Your teammates.”

  • 28 Feb 2019 11:53 | Anonymous

    Reprinted from

    Three men, in Ireland and England, have found love and support with gay soccer and rugby teams.

    By Cyd Zeigler   @CydZeigler

    There are no gay soccer teams in Morocco. The African nation on the Atlantic coast maintains a ban on homosexuality that stifles the organization of many groups that could bring together a local LGBTQ community.

    Yet in Ireland, asylum-seeker Hicham Lamchaali has found a home on a local gay soccer team, according to RTE, Ireland’s version of National Public Radio.

    In a new feature piece on the RTE’s website, Lamchaali talks about living in Morocco as a closeted gay man, and then arriving in Ireland and finding the Dublin Devils.

    “The Dublin Devils mean a lot to me,” Lamchaali told RTE. “I can’t even find the words to explain what they mean to me. They are more than family. They are my friends. You can be free to [say] who you are dating, to say who you are without fear.”

    The power of community in sports

    It’s the sentiment so many participants in LGBTQ sports leagues have expressed over the years. In a sports world that has a reputation of rejecting people in our community, finding “safe spaces” to kick a ball or shoot hoops can be powerfully affirming.

    For asylum seekers, we’re finding more and more the power of sports to unite people across cultures.

    Last year Kenneth Macharia faced deportation back to Kenya. He too had found a home in LGBTQ sports — this time rugby — and he saw his teammates rally around him, creating a petition and speaking out against his deportation. Macharia did get a reprieve from the deportation threat.

    Gay athletes support their teammate

    A third gay athlete — Raymond Mashamba — is also seeking asylum in the UK after being outed in Zimbabwe. Mashamba has equally found support among his teammates, with Titans FC.

    From Sky Sports:
    In a short space of time, Raymond has become a much-loved figure with his Titans club-mates; they have contributed letters of recommendation to support his claim to remain in the UK. There may also be an opportunity to convert his Zimbabwean refereeing qualification into an FA equivalent.

    While LGBTQ sports teams and leagues cannot provide legal asylum, it’s not surprising that they are offering emotional refuge for athletes who have never been in an environment that welcomes all of who they are.

  • 13 Feb 2019 19:36 | Anonymous

    Patricia Nell Warren was inducted as a lifetime member of the International Front Runners October, 2018.  

    By FGG Honorary Life Member Roger Brigham
    Bay Area Reporter

    Bestselling novelist, social activist, and longtime LGBT sports advocate Patricia Nell Warren died Saturday, February 9, at the age of 82. A cause of death was not immediately reported, but Ms. Warren had been battling various health issues for several years.

    Ms. Warren burst into international fame with her second novel, the best-seller "The Front Runner," in 1974, the same year she came out as lesbian.

    For the complete article, click HERE.


    For an even more personal article by Roger Brigham about the passing of Patricia Nell Warren, click HERE.


    Cyd Zeigler at Outsports has also written a wonderful obituary about Patricia Nell Warren. Read it HERE.


    In October, 2012, the 30th Anniversary of the Gay Games was celebrated during a weekend of activities in West Hollywood, CA. Among those who were honored and spoke at a panel session were Patricia Nell Warren and Gay Games Ambassador Dave Kopay. Here are some photos from that weekend.

    Patricia Nell Warren (left) with Gay Games founder Sara Waddell Lewinstein

    Gay Games Ambassador Dave Kopay (left) with Patricia Nell Warren

    (left to right) Dave Kopay, Roger Brigham, Patricia Nell Warren holding her anthology book "The Lavender Locker Room."


    Finally, Patricia Nell Warren prepared a very nice video greeting for all the participants at the 2014 Gay Games 9 in Cleveland + Akron. Check out the video HERE.

  • 13 Feb 2019 12:13 | Anonymous

    Reprinted from several sources on 12 and 13 February 2019

    England cricket captain Joe Root showed integrity and leadership in his response to a comment from West Indies fast bowler Shannon Gabriel, says former batter Ebony Rainford-Brent.

    Sky Sports published a clip of Root, 28, telling Gabriel: "Don't use it as an insult. There's nothing wrong with being gay."

    Gabriel, 30, was warned by the umpire for the language he used, though his original comment was not picked up.

    "Well done Root," said Rainford-Brent.

    "We don't know exactly what was said but what we can take from it is that whatever Joe thought he heard, his response was one of a leader.

    "It's one thing being an England captain, but having that awareness and presence in that moment to be prepared to stand up for something, that's what's interesting."

    Gabriel was subsequently charged by the International Cricket Council with breaching its code of conduct.

    Root refused to explain exactly what was said after play on day three of the final Test in St Lucia, during which the England captain hit a fine century to put his side in a commanding position.

    Read the entire article HERE.

    Here is a video about this story, including a clip of Joe Root saying his now-famous words:

    Another article states...

    We’ve all experienced it. That moment someone cuts you down, in jest or in spite, and it’s only some time afterwards that you consider how better you might have handled your response. From the workplace to the sports field, it’s a challenge in any situation of heightened tension to have the right clarity of thought to respond appropriately.

    Joe Root’s actions in St Lucia demonstrated how to affect a brilliant, calm and direct response to Shannon Gabriel after it’s alleged, he used homophobic language to put the England cricket captain off his stride as he built towards his sixteenth Test century.

    Root responded to Gabriel, “Don’t use it as an insult. There’s nothing wrong with being gay.”

    Read the second article HERE.

    This story has reached global audiences. HERE is another article from South Africa praising the actions of Joe Root.

  • 11 Feb 2019 14:16 | Anonymous
    On Saturday 9 February, the Federation of Gay Games honored member and local sports organizations, heroes, and a local business with its annual Legacy Awards held at Fort Lauderdale's GYM Sports Bar. Congratulations to the following recipients: IGBO (FLIRT tournament and the seven LGBT leagues who all bowl in the area, SFSF (local Women’s softball)SFAAA (local Men’s softball), the Local Cultural Organization, South Florida Pride Wind Ensemble, and local hero Jason Shervinsky 

    Also, special thanks to GYM Sports Bar for hosting the awards event. "Whenever the FGG meets in a city, we love to celebrate the community's sports and cultural organizations, and local people who make a difference, and we always do it in a way that supports local business. We had a great turnout at GYM Bar and were able to bring together our community for a combined evening of fun. We all work hard to make a difference to the world and it's lovely to be able to recognize people who do this whenever we can," said Shiv Paul, FGG Officer of Communications. Eddie Young, the FGG Officer of Ceremonies added "Local artists and athletes are the heartbeat of the FGG. Their energy, time, and talent inspires me to keep giving back to my own community, and to our global family."

    Here are some photos of the award recipients with FGG Board members (photos: Shiv Paul):

    The Federation of Gay Games presented the Outstanding Cultural Organization award to the South Florida Pride Wind Ensemble. Pictured (left to right): Sean Fitzgerald (FGG Co-President), Eddie Young (Officer of Ceremonies), Adam DeRosa (President, SFPWE), Beth Barbuto (SFPWE), Joanie Evans (FGG Co-President).

  • 28 Jan 2019 15:13 | Anonymous

    Reprinted from the Bay Area Reporter, 23 January 2019

    By Roger Brigham

    Gay Games Sports Officers Reggie Snowden, left, and Kimberly Hadley.  

    At the annual membership meeting of the Federation of Gay Games last year, two longtime inclusive sports activists — track athlete Reggie Snowden of San Francisco and veteran soccer official Kimberly Hadley of Edmonton, Alberta — were elected male and female sports officers. I recently asked both of them via email about the importance of volunteering in LGBT-inclusive sports and their thoughts about the future of the Gay Games.

    "As a long-serving member of the International Gay and Lesbian Football Association board, I understood the importance of volunteering my time. I have a great belief that organizing sports events for LGBTQ+ individuals provides a opportunity for creating a catalyst for positive change," Hadley wrote. "I have been a professional soccer referee for 43 years and have served as the North American referee director for the International Gay and Lesbian Football Association since 2007. My first involvement with the Gay Games was as a referee during Gay Games VIII in Cologne, Germany in 2010. Since then, I was responsible for soccer referees during both Gay IX in 2014 and Gay Games X in 2018."

    Snowden said that he has been a strong supporter and participant of Gay Games since 1994.

    "When I was 29, I was excited to attend the Gay Games in New York City competing in track and field," he wrote. "I competed in the 110-m hurdles, 400-m hurdles, triple jump, long jump and 4x400 relay. As a hurdler, I have always enjoyed the mechanics of the event and was fortunate enough to have some top coaches help me out along the way. I was All American my senior year in high school.

    "After competing in college, I stopped for a few years," he added. "When I moved to San Francisco in 1992 and I heard about Gay Games in 1993, I was thrilled to train again. I have also participated in the Gay Games in Sydney, Cologne, and Cleveland, but ended up nursing a knee injury prior to Paris. After being a delegate for International Front Runners to the FGG, the next natural step was to bring my experience as an avid athlete to the federation."

    The two were asked about Gay Games' greatest strengths.

    "Participation, inclusion, and personal best — that says it all," Hadley wrote.

    Snowden wrote, "I think the greatest strength is having the ability to bring the community together globally every four years. It's amazing how many friends I have made since 1994 due to attending Gay Games. Regardless of the levels that range from beginning runners to competitive runners, I have witnessed long-lasting relationships that have formed. Due to social media, a lot of us are able to keep connected. Also, I believe one of the strengths has been with communications from year to year in most sports."

    As for improvements, the two offered some ideas.

    "The FGG is the leader in the LGBTQ+ sports and cultural global community," wrote Hadley. "We are not a political organization — that isn't our role. Being able to continue to provide opportunities in new areas of the world where we haven't had a large visibility to date is vital to reaching those individuals who need our help. I have continued to encourage the FGG to create smaller versions of the event and hold them in underrepresented areas of the world where they may become an even greater impact than the current event itself. This hasn't come to fruition yet, but I have confidence that it will."

    Snowden said it would be great to see Gay Games in Africa or a Latin American country eventually.

    "The impact would be amazing. It was great to participate in Amsterdam in 1998 and to see the excitement on European soil for the first time," he wrote. "I met new athletes I would have not been able to have met before. The same can be said for Sydney and even Cleveland. It was foreign soil for me because I had never been to that region of my own country. Hong Kong will be amazing in 2022 and I'm honored to be on board to face the challenges with organizing this event with all the knowledge gained from previous years."

    Hadley and Snowden were asked what led them to volunteer for the sports officer positions.

    "This became a natural step for me to take with my extensive background with participation in various sports, as well as the organizing of single and multi-sports international events over the years," Hadley wrote.

    Snowden explained, "I have been organizing events since college as a resident adviser when I organized softball, volleyball, and basketball tournaments. After moving to San Francisco, I have always remained active with our community by volunteering for city officials and working with nonprofit organizations."

    He said that he's organized two San Francisco Pride Runs.

    "This has inspired me to give back to the community that has inspired me for many years," Snowden added. "The efforts of the federation to keep founder Dr. Tom Waddell's dream alive through sport has encouraged me to bring my efforts to keeping Gay Games alive."

    The two were asked about their greatest Gay Games memory.

    "Seeing the expressions on the faces of new participants — especially those who had received a scholarship in order to attend," Hadley wrote. "To speak with these individuals after they have experienced a life-changing opportunity and hear from them what it is that they will do to invigorate and share their experiences while keeping the momentum going once they return to their homelands."

    Snowden said it was closing ceremonies in New York.

    "After all the athletes gathered outside of the stadium in New York City, it was the closing of an amazing week of competition and great relief by competing at the top in the 18-29 age group and to walk away with four gold medals and a silver," he wrote. "As the SF Track and Field Club came around the corner, I had my training partner, Gwynn Villegas, on my shoulders. As we entered the stadium, almost every seat was filled as we heard a voice yell, 'Hey, SF Track & Field! Look this way — SF Chronicle!' The next day, the memory was in the San Francisco Chronicle for an unforgettable moment."

    As for World Outgames, Hadley said she wants people to know that FGG carefully considered the offer to have one event.

    "My hope is that the LGBTQ+ sporting world understands that the FGG did its due diligence when it came down to the talks for the opportunity to create a 'One World Event.' In the end, it was the lack of transparency and the lack of proper documentation when it came down to financial disclosure that determined that the FGG needed to continue onward and upward as the global LGBTQ+ event," she wrote.

    "Going forward, I would hope to see that those in the community that were split between Outgames and the Gay Games will understand that we will be here for the long haul," Hadley added. "We already have been an organization for 41 years now. We have shown complete transparency within our bid process, site selection, board member elections, etc. I feel that this portrays the professionalism that is within the organization. I hope that this will be recognized and acknowledged by those that may have been 'loyal' to Outgames and will open their eyes to the commitment of the FGG moving forward."

    Snowden said that the arguments over the competing organizations hurt the community "by casting doubt on LGBTQ events with participants who did not even realize there was a difference between the two organizations.

    "I know some participants who lost faith and didn't participate or even attend Gay Games in Paris," he wrote. "On the other hand, it has presented a challenge for the FGG to successfully communicate this to former and future participants. It will also serve as a reminder for folks to know the history."

    One of the biggest challenges facing previous Gay Games has been gender parity, with a large majority of participants being men. Hadley and Snowden were asked about that.

    "Steps are already being taken informally by organizing women-specific events," Hadley wrote. "I think there's great opportunity to partner with women's sports organizations and trying to create unique experiences for women. I also feel that it's important for conversation to be created with women to find out why they have had limited participation or haven't been participating at all. Is it too cost prohibitive? Does it feel like there's more attention at the events toward men's social activities versus women's?

    "Marketing is a huge component of that. There seems to be more dollars made available through sponsorship from men's bars and clubs then that of lesbian and transgender establishments," she added. "The Hong Kong host committee has already shown a very strong relationship with the women's/lesbian community so we hope that they can also share ideas of what has worked previous for them when organizing events. IGLFA has also seen limited participation at its women's tournaments over the years and I have started the IGLFA Women's, Transgender & Nonbinary Task Force. This group of people will be asked to identify any issues that they have while providing positive feedback to make change and support more participation."

    Snowden said that he saw a lot of women participating in a handful of sporting events at the recent Sin City Classic in Las Vegas.

    "The amount of gender parity was prevalent at the dodgeball event," he wrote. "I met with the organizer about this and look forward to a few more conversations about this. Visibility must be present and not forced or required to keep it organic. On the track, they added co-ed relays. We will plan to use social media to effectively attract more involvement."

    Gay Games, unlike other major sports events such as the Olympics, are controlled by organizations run entirely by the athletes themselves. Hadley and Snowden were asked about the impact that has had on Gay Games.

    "I think, for the most-part, having the athletes and artists themselves running the organization is a positive," wrote Hadley. "They're in closer contact with the overall 'feel' of the event. However, they are often limited with the appropriate amount of time because they are volunteers. Organizing an event takes an immense amount of work, energy, expertise, and time. It would be helpful to be able to afford to have a paid staff without it costing the organization a fortune."

    Snowden wrote, "To me, Gay Games is a unique event on various levels. Gay Games has remained a success due to celebration and liberation from the inception in 1982. One of the biggest benefits would be nurturing the relations built through sport and culture, on and off the field during Gay Games and, as time has passed and communications evolved, we, as athletes, participants, supporters and organizers are able to pass information on in between the years of Gay Games to keep the event moving in the right direction — from standards books with vital information, to our positions on the board with the federation."

    The next Gay Games are scheduled for Hong Kong. Hadley and Snowden talked about challenges and opportunities.

    "Every host city in every country has its challenges," Hadley wrote. "Hong Kong is definitely a new part of the world for the FGG to hold an event. Challenges foreseen may include actually being able to get the message out about the Gay Games coming to Hong Kong due to perceived censorship via the internet/social media channels. We hope that the reach is wide and far."

    Snowden cited communications and distance.

    "Gay Games have successfully taken place in other countries. Concerns were expressed based on language when we traveled to Amsterdam in 1998, Cologne in 2010, and even Paris last year, but we persevered," he wrote. "In regard to the actual sports, some sports such as volleyball, basketball, bowling, and swimming cannot be lost in translation. We will need to address practices or customs potentially in Hong Kong to make sure we aren't losing the mission of why Gay Games started with a focus on 'participation, inclusion and personal best.'"

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