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.

  • 07 Apr 2021 11:41 | Douglas Litwin (Administrator)

    Reprinted from The Springfield Student, a publication of Springfield College

    By Jack Margaros
    April 6, 2021

    Nearly six years ago on April 17, Springfield College instituted Tom Waddell Day.

    It is a celebration dedicated to one of the College’s greatest athletes ever. Waddell, before competing in the 1968 Olympics as a decathlete, was a three-sport powerhouse at Springfield. He was part of the football, gymnastics and track and field teams — excelling the most in track and field.

    He entered the 1968 Olympics as a decathlete and placed sixth. Aside from his athletic endeavors, Waddell became a physician, traveling around the globe to provide medical service to impoverished areas. He was a fierce social justice advocate, supporting his teammates Tommie Smith and John Carlos when they protested at the Olympics.

    Almost a decade after, in 1976, Waddell came out as gay and appeared in the “Couples” section of People magazine with his then partner, Charles Deaton. Waddell founded the “Gay Games” in 1982, an event similar to the Olympics that promotes equality for all, in particular athletes that identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community.

    Waddell was a humanitarian in the truest sense. He passed away in 1987, so he was unable to attend Springfield’s dedication day in 2015.

    Although, his daughter, Jessica Waddell-Lewinstein Kopp, was there — accompanied by her mother, Sara Lewinstein, and Jack Savoia – Waddell’s classmate in the late '50s. (editor's note: neither Jessica nor Sara were present at the inaugural Tom Waddell day in 2015. The Gay Games was represented by Honorary Life Member Jeffry Pike of Boston, MA).

    She was a young adult at the time, and was starting to understand the scope of her father’s legacy. More importantly, she learned of his affinity for Springfield College.

    “It really was a pivotal moment in his life where everything came together and made sense,” Waddell-Lewinstein Kopp said. “He knew what direction he wanted to go with his life and I think he can attribute that to Springfield College.”

    Jessica’s father passed away when she was three. She doesn’t remember much about him, but the memories she does have are rich: Tom teaching her words, asking her what color his new car should be and racing around the track. She likes to think Tom would let her win.

    “They’re short and small memories that I’ve held on to for all of these years,” she said.

    Growing up alongside his legacy, Jessica was exposed to the countless stories from her relatives and family friends. Tom’s life was also well documented by various media outlets, so she was able to learn more about her father through articles, interviews and videos.

    As she approached adulthood, Jessica came to the realization that she and her father shared many of the same traits. It became especially clear one day as she laid on her mother’s floor.

    When she was a teenager, Jessica and her mother moved out of her childhood home where Tom lived. She wasn’t aware, but there was a handful of cassette tapes buried in the house that Tom had recorded for his daughter. Audio diaries of daily occurrences in the years leading up to his passing.

    Tenants that lived in the house ended up taking the tapes for themselves, only to realize years later that they were meant for Jessica.

    It wasn’t until she reached her twenties that she had gotten her hands on the tapes, receiving an unexpected package in the mail. She didn’t own a cassette player, so she traveled to her mother’s house.

    Stretched out on the floor, listening to her father’s voice, she felt a stronger connection.

    “It was him talking directly to me about what he did that day, how he was feeling,” she said. “I realized that a lot of me is him…It’s just amazing that even though he wasn’t around, I still have many of his traits and I think that’s made me closer to him over the years.”

    Jessica is naturally drawn to continuing her father’s legacy. She’s been involved with the advancement of the Gay Games as an avid supporter and volunteer when she can. She stands for a lot of the same things her father did, such as equity for the LGBTQ+ community.

    “We still need to advocate for LGBTQ+ rights on a global scale,” she said, explaining that not all countries are as accepting of the community as America is. “I’ve had a number of conversations over the years where people don’t realize how hard it still is to be someone from the LGBTQ+ community in the world.”

    The Gay Games has continued to evolve over the years, with more countries, events and participants being involved. Gay Games 11 is slated for 2022 in Hong Kong (https://gghk2022.com/en/).

    “When my dad was alive, it was just this really small event that had a really global impact right off the bat,” Jessica said. “It’s only continued over the years to grow.”

    After visiting Springfield for the first time in 2015, Jessica will return virtually on Friday, April 9. She will serve as the keynote speaker for Springfield College’s sixth Annual Sports and Social Justice Symposium, highlighting her father’s legacy, and continuing to push for support of the Gay Games.

    “I believe in everything that he stands for,” she said. “He was a remarkable human being. Even though I can never accomplish what he did in his lifetime, I still hope to bring some positivity in the world and continue his legacy.”

    Friday’s event is set to begin at 1 p.m. Following Jessica’s presentation, a current Springfield College student-athlete will be recognized with the Tom Waddell “Level the Playing Field” Award. This annual award goes to a student-athlete who has worked diligently to build a fairer and more just world.

    (Editor: virtually attend the Springfield College’s sixth Annual Sports and Social Justice Symposium on Friday, April 9 at 1pm EDT at THIS LINK.)

  • 26 Mar 2021 11:01 | Douglas Litwin (Administrator)

    On Thursday we hosted a webinar to welcome the first of our new Platinum Partners of Gay Games 11 Hong Kong 2022!

    They are Marriott Bonvoy and YouTube and we are delighted to welcome them to what will be a historic event - the first ever Gay Games in Asia.

    We were thrilled to hear directly from Julie Purser, Vice President, Marketing, Loyalty & Partnership, Asia Pacific, Marriott International, why Marriott Bonvoy is partnering with Gay Games 11 in Hong Kong 2022.

    The webinar event also included feature guest speakers Stephen Phillips (Director General, Invest HK) and Ming Wai Lau (GGHK Advisory Committee Member, Chairman Ocean Park).

    Watch the replay of the webinar on our YouTube channel HERE.

  • 22 Mar 2021 15:22 | Douglas Litwin (Administrator)

    You are invited!


    Please join the Gay Games 11 Hong Kong 2022 team, at this special event where they are excited to announce some of their first sponsoring Platinum Partners.

    Eager to be a part of the first Gay Games to take place in Asia, the renowned brands will share their perspectives on the significance of a partnership and the value of being part of the Games.

    The event will also feature guest speakers Stephen Phillips (Director General, Invest HK) and Ming Wai Lau (GGHK Advisory Committee Member, Chairman Ocean Park). 

    Date: Thursday 25 March 2021 
    Time: 7-8 pm Hong Kong Time; 11am-12 pm London Time; 7-8 am New York Time

    This webinar event will be presented on Zoom. To register, click HERE.

    We hope you can join for this important announcement!

    Together - Let’s Make History

  • 22 Feb 2021 23:48 | Douglas Litwin (Administrator)

    NOTE: This webinar has already happened. You may view a recording of it (plus other webinars) by clicking HERE.

    Happy Lunar New Year, wishing you a happy and safe year of the Ox!

    Join us in our second monthly webinar of 2021. This month, we will celebrate our volunteers and you can learn more about the benefits of volunteering. A passionate group of 130+ professional volunteers is generously giving up their time to help deliver the Gay Games Hong Kong.

    Our host Betty Grisoni will outline the GGHK volunteer program and you’ll also meet some volunteers, who will share their personal experiences and stories.

    Our guests include:

    • Joanie Evans - Co-President at the Federation of Gay Games
    • Greg Morley - Gay Games Hong Kong Director of People and Organisation
    • David Wong - Gay Games Hong Kong Chief of Staff 
    • Candice Lee - Gay Games Hong Kong Sport Coordinator Golf

    When: Thursday 25 February at 7pm Hong Kong time (6am - New York / 11am - London). 

    Please register here to join the online Zoom webinar

    Note: In English and a recording will be available on our YouTube channel.

  • 01 Feb 2021 10:04 | Douglas Litwin (Administrator)

    February 01, 2021, 10:45 GMT

    The 2026 Gay Games XII host city shortlist vote by the Federation of Gay Games (FGG) General Assembly took place 31 January 2021 whittling it down from eight to the final three. Twenty cities from around the world had initially expressed interest in hosting the 2026 Games.

    The shortlisted host cities are Guadalajara (MEX), Munich (GER), and Valencia (ESP).

    "The FGG wishes to thank all eight bid cities who truly put forth wonderful bids that illuminated the Federation's principles, and we look forward to continuing the process with these three finalists.”

    — David Killian, Officer of Site Selection, FGG

    The FGG expresses gratitude to the five (5) other cities for the bids: Auckland (NZ), Brisbane (AU), San Diego (USA), Taipei (TW), and Toronto (CAN).

    Site inspections are the next steps in the bid process, to begin tentatively in June/July 2021, ultimately depending on the status of COVID-19. The final vote determining the host of Gay Games XII will take place at the FGG's Annual General Assembly meeting in Hong Kong in November 2021.

    Hosting the Gay Games
    The positive financial impact to the host city of the Gay Games is clear, as evidenced by the official economic impact highlights from the 2018 Gay Games X in Paris:

    • Total economic impact: US $117.9 million.
    • Locals and non-locals contributed a total of US $72.7 million to the economy, in the areas of lodging, dining and entertainment, travel and other necessities, and tourism.
    • An additional US $45.8 million was generated in local incomes - roughly the equivalent of 1,429 full-time jobs.
    • 23% of participants were from France (12% from Paris).
    • 40% of local participants said they would have traveled outside Paris, France to participate in the Gay Games, taking their spend of US $9.2 million to another region.

    Gay Games 11 will take place in Hong Kong from 11-19 November 2022.

    About the Federation of Gay Games
    The Gay Games was conceived by Dr. Tom Waddell, an Olympic decathlete, as a way to empower thousands of LGBTQ+ athletes and artists through sport, culture, and fellowship. It was first held in San Francisco in 1982. Subsequent Gay Games were held in San Francisco (1986), Vancouver (1990), New York (1994), Amsterdam (1998), Sydney (2002), Chicago (2006), Cologne (2010), Cleveland+Akron (2014), and Paris (2018). Gay Games 11 will be held in Hong Kong in 2022. Visit www.gaygameshk2022.com for more information.

    “Gay Games,” “Federation of Gay Games,” the interlocking circles device, and the phrase “Participation, Inclusion, and Personal Best” are trademarks of the Federation of Gay Games, Inc. Trademarks are registered in the USA, Canada, Benelux, the UK, Germany, and Australia.

    Address: 584 Castro Street, Suite 343, San Francisco, CA 94114 USA. Phone: +1-866-459-1261

    Follow us on Social Media: Twitter Facebook IG

    All Media Enquiries Please contact Shiv Paul, FGG VP of External Relations. Shiv.Paul@GayGames.net. +44 7717 244097
    Logos: https://gaygames.org/wp/fgg-online-2/logos/
    Note: FGG is entirely staffed by passionate volunteers, please take this into account for response times to your media enquiry.

  • 19 Dec 2020 19:36 | Douglas Litwin (Administrator)

    GALA Choruses is a close supporter of the Federation of Gay Games and the choral program which takes place during each quadrennial Gay Games. Alas, due to COVID-19, they have been forced to cancel their own massive quadrennial event in 2020. Their attempts to reschedule it to 2021 have also fallen victim to the pandemic.

    According to their website, GALA Choruses is committed to continuing to serve the LGBTQIA+ Choral Movement during this unprecedented time, but the simple truth is that they cannot continue this work without your help. For GALA to survive until a 2024 Festival, they are in need of tax-deductible donations (to the extent allowable by U.S. law). You can help us continue to change the world through song; you can be the change! Visit their website for more information.

    Meanwhile, to add some virtual choral music to the holidays, please join GALA’s two -part FREE holiday concert featuring performances from more than 25 LGBTQ+ choruses. Check out the teaser video HERE

    The first concert took place on 17 December but may be viewed right now HERE 

    The second concert will be on 20 December at 5pm EST. Subscribe for the free show HERE .

    Happy musical holidays, everyone!

  • 29 Nov 2020 10:00 | Douglas Litwin (Administrator)

    Please join The American Run for the End of AIDS, Inc. (AREA) and its partners for the 29th “Out of the Darkness” event in observance of World AIDS Day on Tuesday, December 1, 2020. Due to the COVID pandemic, for the first time in 28 years, we will not be marching but rather presenting a video presentation on our Facebook page at 7 PM. The video will be able to be seen afterwards on YouTube.

    I’m so grateful to everyone who has contributed to our first virtual “Out of the Darkness” event and for all who’ve participated and supported us over the years, especially our primary benefactor, The Keith Haring Foundation, who has sponsored all of our efforts for World AIDS Day.

    If you cannot join us on Tuesday evening, please light a candle in memory of all whom we have lost to AIDS and in support of all those infected or affected by HIV/AIDS, as well as all those impacted by the Coronavirus.

    See the attached flyer for this event.


    Brent Nicholson Earle,
    Founder and President
    The American Run for the End of AIDS, Inc. (AREA)


  • 21 Nov 2020 10:22 | Douglas Litwin (Administrator)

    The GGHK team are pleased to announce the appointment of Lisa Lam as co-chair of Gay Games 11 Hong Kong 2022 (GGHK). Lisa joined the GGHK management team in November 2018 as General Counsel. In addition to building up and managing the GGHK legal function working closely with internal team and external partners, Lisa has been working closely with Dennis Philipse, Co-Chair GGHK to engage with key government and community partners working hand in hand to produce a successful Gay Games in November 2022.

    Lisa Lam brings extensive leadership and legal experience to this role. She currently serves as Managing Consultant – Founder and Partner of Imagine 3 Consultants which provides bespoke legal solutions to innovative financial businesses. She has previously served in senior legal leadership roles in Alipay and Western Union. Lisa will continue to serve as General Counsel and as a member of the GGHK Management team.

    Lisa succeeds Sabrina Yang, who will step down for now from the management team to dedicate time to her new job. The GGHK team thanks Sabrina for her significant  contributions to the organization. Sabrina remains a member of the GGHK2022 team of volunteers.

    Please join us in welcoming Lisa in her new role!

  • 11 Oct 2020 12:08 | Douglas Litwin (Administrator)


    The Federation of Gay Games is both shocked and appalled by World Rugby’s decision to ban transgender women from competing in the sport. 

    According to the press release, World Rugby convened cross-functional experts from the trans, player, medical, social and legal communities to assess the impact of this inclusion from many angles, but unfortunately the ban has been brought in, despite huge push back from around the world after the policy documents were leaked. 

    The Federation of Gay Games firmly believes in the power of sport to unite and to change lives, and the continued marginalization of sections of society prevents them from experiencing true inclusion. This decision from World Rugby has set a precedent for other world level governing bodies, and for national rugby unions around the World. This policy could have a global impact at a participation level to ban trans women from playing rugby, and this has to be recognized and prevented.

    Moreover, World Rugby informed all their Member Unions that there would be a Council vote on this topic in November. A governing body is answerable to its members and this decision goes against the rules of adherence and collaboration that a true consultative process requires. 

    The Federation of Gay Games condemns this decision by World Rugby, and refuses to work with any organization that places any kind of restrictions of any member of the LGBTQ+ community to take part in any of their initiatives.

    The Gay Games is devoted to Participation, Inclusion and Personal Best™, and as a result, the FGG’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee has developed a gender inclusion policy to provide everyone a safe and inclusive space to participate in their sport or cultural event at the Gay Games in the gender with which they identify. 

    We take huge pride in being able to support the entire LGBTQ+ global community to take part in the Gay Games whatever their sex or gender identify might be, or any other characteristic.

    Other sports teams and organizations are showing progressive intention behind their belief to be fully inclusive. We applaud the San Diego Loyal soccer team for taking stands against racial and homophobic abuse directed against their players, and to the NFL for making a video for National Coming Out Day that features gay and bi former players with current players vocalizing their support.

    These organizations, as much as individuals, are role models that are driving positive growth, and world level governing bodies of sport should be doing the same, not banning groups of people from taking part. 

    There is no place for any kind of homophobia, biphobia, lesbophobia or transphobia in sport. 

    Request to show your support

    Rugby For All is running a campaign and we encourage all to support and contribute. The details of the campaign are below:

    There are two options to participate in the social media campaign. On October 15, post a photo of you holding a statement about a time you’ve felt unsafe as a woman in sport OR posting a video using the template. 

    Option 1 (PHOTO):

    Have someone take a picture of you holding your statement. Make sure the writing is large and legible. (See below for some sample reasons.) Tag us if you can: IG: @rugbyforall.co; Twitter: @RugbyForAll; TikTok: @rugbyforall.co 


    As a woman in sport, I’ve felt unsafe when:

    • My team was forced to use a rusty scrum sled because that’s all we had.

    • My team played a season without a coach because we couldn’t afford it.

    • Members of our club made sexist/homophobic/racist comments during team events.

    • I was sexually harassed by another member of our club.

    • My right to play my sport was questioned because of the way I look.I found out my coach was sleeping with one of my teammates.

    • We had an inexperienced ref who lost control of the match. 

    Here is the updated post copy (please post this with your photo AND/OR video on October 15.


    @WorldRugby has banned trans women on the basis of “safety” without conclusive evidence. This makes the 2021@rugbyworldcup the first openly anti-trans world sporting event.

    This is not inclusivity. This is not solidarity. This is not rugby.

    As women in sport, there are many times we’ve felt unsafe, but sharing the pitch with trans women is not one of them. Join @rugbyforall.coand share a time you felt unsafe as a woman in sport to tell @worldrugby to focus on the things that undoubtedly harm women’s sport, let trans women play, and keep #RugbyForAll. #TackleTransphobia #LetUsPlay #RugbyParaTodeswww.rugbyforall.co


    @WorldRugby has banned trans women b/c of “safety” w/o conclusive evidence. As women in sport, there are times we’ve felt unsafe, but sharing the field w/ trans women is not one of them. Join @rugbyforall, share your story, and tell WR to keep #RugbyForAll. #TackleTransphobia

    Option 2 (VIDEO):

    Share a 30-second (or less) story of a time when you’ve been made to feel unsafe as a woman in sport.

    1. Use the video template below with your teammates or by yourself. Make it personal using your own experiences and words.

    2. Everyone who participates will be asked to post on October 15. 

    Script template:

    “As a women’s [insert sport] player, I’ve felt unsafe when [reason 1], when [reason 2], and when [reason 3]. I’ve felt unsafe when [reason 4]. 

    But I have never felt unsafe sharing the pitch with trans women. I/We call on World Rugby to focus on the things that undoubtedly harm women’s rugby and keep Rugby For All.”

    Shooting notes:

    Use vertical video, holding phone up and down

    Make sure light source is in front of you, natural light is best

    Minimize background noise

    Make it your own, put it into your own words

    Visuals: solo or group, video (speaking to camera or holding written reason)

    Use the following tags if you can: IG: @rugbyforall.co; Twitter: @RugbyForAll; TikTok: @rugbyforall.co

    It’s time World Rugby listened to the rugby community. Let’s be loud and proud for our trans teammates. Please plan to release your post on October 15. (If you can’t do the 15th, any time after would still work.)  Thank you for speaking up and helping to keep #RugbyForAll.


    About the Federation of Gay Games

    The Gay Games was conceived by Dr. Tom Waddell, an Olympic decathlete, as a way to empower thousands of LGBTQ+ athletes and artists through sport, culture, and fellowship. It was first held in San Francisco in 1982. Subsequent Gay Games were held in San Francisco (1986), Vancouver (1990), New York (1994), Amsterdam (1998), Sydney (2002), Chicago (2006), Cologne (2010), Cleveland+Akron (2014), and Paris (2018). Gay Games 11 will be held in Hong Kong in 2022. Visit www.gaygameshk2022.com for more information.

  • 10 Oct 2020 18:42 | Douglas Litwin (Administrator)

    The National Football League (USA professional football) is celebrating National Coming Out Month and Day as never before. On Sunday, 11 October (National Coming Out Day), the NFL will air an inspirational video showing star players such as Rob Gronkowski and DeAndre Hopkins voicing their support for any gay or bi teammate who comes out.

    In the video, which will initially air during Sunday’s early-game Fox telecasts, former players Ryan O’Callahan, Jeff Rohrer, RK Russell and Wade Davis, all of who came out as gay or bi after retiring, begin by saying: “To all current players who are thinking of coming out, when you are ready, so are we.”

    The video then cuts to a string of NFL players responding, “I support you, I got you, we got you, we support you, it takes all of us, and you deserve to be all you.”

    To read more about the story, visit Outsports.com.

    To see the primary video, click HERE. You will also see 11 other videos produced by the NFL for National Coming Out Month, including one that focuses on Gay Games Ambassador Esera Tuaolo.

    The Federation of Gay Games congratulates the NFL on taking these bold steps to stand in support of equality in sports.

© 2020 The Federation of Gay Games

The Newsletter of the FGG



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