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.

  • 11 Nov 2019 23:34 | Anonymous

      

    Joint Statement from Federation of Gay Games Board and Gay Games Hong Kong Management Team

    Update on Gay Games 11 Hong Kong 2022

    San Francisco/Hong Kong, 11 November 2019

    130+ delegates, Honorary Life Members (HLMs), and observers of the international Federation of Gay Games (FGG) from 23 countries recently participated in the Annual General Assembly (AGA) in Guadalajara, Mexico from October 31 - November 2, 2019. The AGA was a great success!

    The Hong Kong Team delivered two sessions to update members on the current state of planning for Gay Games 11. One presentation on the current situation in Hong Kong and the other outlining the progress of the Hong Kong team for the 2022 Gay Games.

    While we fully recognize the troubles in Hong Kong continue, the FGG Board and the attending members are leaving Mexico committed to the Gay Games in Hong Kong which will be a spectacular sports and cultural event that will kickstart and foster LGBTQ+ connections among our communities in the city and region.

    This will be the largest LGBTQ+ sports and cultural event ever held in Asia. 12,000 participants, 36 sports, and 20+ cultural events will take place over 9 days in November, 2022.

    “Hong Kong is an opportunity to make a positive political statement by doing something that is fun and non-threatening and which can change peoples’ perspectives of what it means to be LGBTQ+,” said Gene Dermody, a participant in all ten previous Gay Games.

    We believe in the power of unity that comes from diversity. The Gay Games 11 tagline, Unity in Diversity, is an extremely relevant message not just for the Gay Games but for Hong Kong at this difficult time.

    For more information please reach out to:  hello@gaygameshk2022.com

  • 01 Nov 2019 20:29 | Anonymous

    The Federation of Gay Games is holding its Annual General Assembly in Guadalajara, Jalisco Mexico. Much more about this highly productive AGA will be shared in future posts.

    On 1 November, the FGG Board and Assembly were honored to welcome three local politician allies to the AGA. In the photo below, from left to right are: Monica Sanchez, Director of International Affairs for the state of Jalisco; Joanie Evans, FGG Co-President; German Ralis, Minister of Tourism for Jalisco; Sean Fitzgerald, FGG Co-President; and Gerardo Ballesteros de Leon, Sub-Secretary for Human Rights for Jalisco.


    It is worth noting that today (1 November) is also the birthday of Gay Games founder Dr. Tom Waddell. Had he lived beyond 1987, he would have been 82 years old.

  • 21 Oct 2019 12:25 | Anonymous

    In mid-October, the international Federation of Gay Games (FGG), announced the launch of Out Athlete Fund, a global grant giving organization for LGBTQ+ athletes.

    Out Athlete Fund (OutAF) provides grants to LGBTQ+ collegiate athletes and LGBTQ+ Olympic athletes around the world making it the premiere charity supporting out athletes in competitive amateur sports.

    Out Athlete Fund is being fiscally sponsored by the Federation of Gay Games, giving it IRS 501(c)(3) tax exempt status. FGG is incubating the new foundation to accelerate its fundraising capacity and allow it to connect with the broader ecosystems of organizations supporting the cause of equality in sports.

    “The mission of the FGG is built upon the core principles of Participation, Inclusion, and Personal Best™. " says Les Johnson, VP External Affairs for FGG, “LGBTQ+ people feel more able to be out today and, often, at an earlier age than when the FGG was founded. All ages of the LGBTQ+ communities have more access to avenues where they can be who they are. We recognize that today's LGBTQ+ athletes need the type of community support that the Gay Games provides. We are excited to be incubating a new organization that will extend our mission into collegiate and Olympic competition.”

    Out Athlete Fund Founder, Alex Soejarto, added “We are thrilled to be sponsored and mentored by the Federation of Gay Games. LGBTQ+ athletes are making a difference and creating change globally by competing as their authentic selves. We are equally excited to offer grants supporting athletes playing openly and making a difference with teammates, competitors, and fans in how LGBTQ+ people are perceived.”

    Out Athlete Fund will deliver services to athletes with the support of FGG’s infrastructure. Over time, OutAF will scale up with committed resources so as to handle the operations of the fund itself while still in an engaged relationship with FGG.

    By supporting LGBTQ+ athletes financially and otherwise, to play in mainstream sports, OutAF enables these athletes to focus on excelling on the field of play, without their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression being an issue or point of discussion.

    Learn more about Out Athlete Fund HERE. Or, contact OutAF founder Alex Soejarto at 415-371-9480 or at info@outathletefund.org

  • 07 Oct 2019 23:44 | Anonymous

    The first Gay Games took place in San Francisco Aug. 28-Sept. 5, 1982, and the 11th edition is set for Hong Kong in 2022.

    All month long, Outsports is revisiting key moments in gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer sports history as part of LGBTQ history month.

    In June, Outsports deputy managing editor Daniel Villarreal wrote about the man who founded the Gay Games: Tom Waddell, one of the 30 out athletes with Stonewall Spirit we honored that month. Here’s his story, and how he came to launch the Gay Games in 1982.

    Read the entire article on Outsports.com HERE.


  • 31 Aug 2019 13:56 | Anonymous

    Did you know that the sports results from all 10 Gay Games events are posted on this very web site? It's true; you can compare results from Gay Games I (San Francisco in 1982) all the way to Gay Games X (Paris in 2018).

    Check out all these results by clicking HERE.

    If you have participated in the Gay Games, you can re-live the past.

    If you've never been to the Gay Games, these results will inspire you.

    In keeping with the Gay Games founding principles of "Participation, Inclusion, and Personal Best," you'll notice that many sports have divisions based on age, skill, weight, or some combination. Remember, everyone is welcome to participate in the Gay Games, as long as you're age 18 or older.

    - - --

    Special thanks to Gene Dermody, Charlie Carson, Rob Smitherman, and Doug Litwin for organizing these historical results.

  • 26 Aug 2019 11:22 | Anonymous

    Read this excellent article about Atlanta's LGBT-friendly aquatics club, Rainbow Trout. Included is a brief profile of Federation of Gay Games Co-President Sean Fitzgerald, one of the club's founding members.

    August 23, 2019
    By Sierra Webster - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

    Water lapped over the edges of the McAuley Aquatic Center dive pool – home of the swimming-and-diving competition at the 1996 Olympic Games. The sound of voices and splashing water echoed through the now-enclosed center in the wistful way sound carriers in indoor pools.

    “Atlanta ‘96” bins and 23-year-old Olympic flags and timers sat forgotten in a supply closet. On a Tuesday in July, Jon Valentine, carrying two ball bags and water-polo caps hanging from metal rings, tossed the equipment onto the pool deck. The bags, blue mesh with yellow varsity-style lettering, read “Trout Polo.”

    Valentine, 46, is tall and broad-shouldered. He’s sporting a dirty-blonde crew cut with a neon-orange whistle on a yellow cord hanging around his neck.

    At 7:30 p.m., he yelled to the 22 people standing on the pool deck, “400 warmup!”

    A diversity of swimsuits – training suits, water-polo suits, swim trunks, speedos – clung to the bodies of the swimmers, but the Speedos stand out the most: teal with hot-pink flamingos, camo, neon-colored pineapples against a black background, the Georgia flag plastered against the back end of one athlete.

    As they jumped into the pool, the displaced water spilled over Georgia Tech pool flags laying in the gutters of the 17-foot-deep infinity pool.


    Valentine, a gay man, is the director of the Rainbow Trout water-polo team, an LGBTQ-aligned and affirming masters’ USA Water Polo team in Atlanta. Founded in 1998 by the Rainbow Trout swim club, the team most recently returned from the International Gay and Lesbian Aquatic (IGLA) championships where they earned bronze in the recreational division.

    Valentine said that as a youngster from northern Ohio with aspirations to play sports, it was difficult to walk into a locker room and hear homophobic slurs.

    “You’re not going to be involved in that at all,” Valentine said.

    Where everyone has a home

    The Trout has created something different.

    During Trout practices, LGBTQ players can express their full selves as athletes, not splintering off pieces of their identity for the sake of athletic ability and competition as so many have. Think Greg Louganis or John Amaechi, who both waited to come out as gay post-retirement.

    And while, Valentine said things have changed for the better socially since he joined the Trout in its early years, the team continues to be a place of acceptance and inclusion for LGBTQ athletes.

    Athletes such as Sean, who said the Trout made him more comfortable with his identity, or Tristan, a transgender man who took his shirt off in public for the first-time post-top-surgery at a Trout practice.

    “And there stood Jon (Valentine), the only one knowing about my transition at this point, proudly nodding, with his thumb up, mouthing ‘You look great!’” said Tristan, who requested only his first name be referenced.

    At 7:50 p.m. at McAuley, Valentine started throwing yellow-and-blue-stripped water-polo balls into the dark water, as the team began warm-up passing and several swimmers pulled the water-polo cages – floating, netted goals that look like miniature soccer goals – into the pool to take practice shots.

    Tuesday nights are typically skill-building nights, where the team practices passing and shooting, while Friday nights are “blow-out-the-week” nights when the team scrimmages before heading out for pizza and beer.

    One of the Trout’s values is to be accessible and inclusive of people with all different skill sets and experience levels. They have only two requirements of beginners: that they be able to swim a length of the pool and tread water, for safety.

    Part of being accessible to beginners means having opportunities to learn the movements, rules and techniques of the regionally obscure sport, opportunities such as Trout 101 – an open house for people interested in learning more about the sport and club held.

    Inclusivity is central to the Trout’s identity.

    Achieving international success

    Sean Fitzgerald, one of nine founders of the Rainbow Trout swim club, started the water-polo team in 1998 ahead of the 1999 IGLA Championships, which the aquatic club was hosting in Atlanta. No host had ever not entered a water-polo team in the tournament. Fitzgerald leveraged that fact to start a LGBTQ-accepting team in Atlanta.

    “When we started the team, no one had ever played water polo before,” he said. “I was starting the team, and I had played in two tournaments at that point.”

    He recruited three or four of his swimmer friends. Through word-of-mouth, the budding club recruited friends and athletes with backgrounds in volleyball, softball and soccer.

    One of the people Fitzgerald recruited was Valentine.

    Valentine grew up in Mansfield, Ohio, where he swam in summer leagues. When Valentine graduated from Miami of Ohio, he knew he would have to leave the midwestern state. Small cities such as Mansfield didn’t lend themselves to the acceptance of young gay men.

    After visiting Atlanta on a business trip, Valentine decided that was where he wanted to be. He moved to the city and got involved in the LGBTQ community and the city’s nightlife. One night when he was out, he met Fitzgerald. After figuring out that Valentine swam in high school, Fitzgerald invited him to the team’s practice the next morning, and Valentine went.

    “He had this vision for what a water-polo team would look like – what a gay-inclusive water-polo team would look like,” Valentine said. “He created this team.”

    It took the motley crew of former swimmers and volleyball players years to win a game, but they stuck with it, eventually winning gold at the IGLA championships, nearly two decades after the club’s inception.

    The club continues to grow and change, giving way to a new generation of Trout players. When the team first started, it was almost entirely gay, white men. Now, the group is more diverse both racially and within (and outside of) the LGBTQ community and is more representative of an urban hub like Atlanta, Valentine said.

    That includes players such as Jamel Grooms, a gay swimmer who joined after college and had never been honest with his teammates about his sexuality before the Trout. Or Tristan. Or Blair and Phoebe, straight cisgender women with collegiate water polo experience who wanted post-college opportunities to continue playing.

    “It’s just a regular sports team,” Grooms said. “We just don’t tolerate any kind of discrimination in the group.”

    The influx of talent coming out of collegiate and high school club teams keeps the Trout young.

    “Twice a week, I have to put on a speedo and get in a pool and swim up-and-back against 20-somethings,” Valentine said, laughing. “I really want to do that and I really want to beat them.”


  • 17 Aug 2019 13:05 | Anonymous

    As reported in the Washington Blade

    15 August 2019 by Kevin Majoros

    In 1962, a space combat video game called Spacewar! was developed by Steve Russell to be installed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Its installation spread to other institutions making it the first known video game to be played at multiple computer locations.

    Ten years later at Stanford University, a selected list of the best Spacewar! players were invited to watch and participate in a video game competition.

    The combination of the competitive elements of gaming with a fan base laid the groundwork for what has become one of the most popular activities watched and played around the world.

    The 2019 Global Games Market report forecasts that 2.5 billion gamers across the world will spend $152.1 billion on games in 2019.

    The competitive side of gaming known as esports is expected to have a total audience of 454 million viewers and revenues that will top $1 billion. Online streaming platforms like Twitch and YouTube have served to launch esports into the stratosphere.

    But is it really a sport?

    Three things have to happen for a game to become a sport. There has to be competition, tournaments and spectators. The rise of esports has all that and more. Major spectator events in the form of streamed competitions with organized leagues, professional players that can be viewed anywhere, and live events in major offline sports venues.

    Adding to the credibility of esports last month was the awarding of an ESPY for best esports moment. At the conclusion of the voting, which included 231,465 votes on Twitter alone, oLarry picked up the win over Ninja / Marshmello.

    One esport player who was nominated in the best esports moment category was SonicFox aka Dominique McLean for winning EVO after switching sides.

    SonicFox is a black, openly gay furry who also happens to be one of the best fighting game players in the world. He is a combination of some of the least represented demographics of players in the sport today. At 21 years of age, he has already won 52 tournaments.

    Also taking note of the growing popularity of esports is the LGBT sports community. The Federation of Gay Games announced in June, the list of 36 sports that will be contested at Gay Games 11 Hong Kong in 2022.

    For the first time in the history of the Gay Games, esports and dodgeball were among the sports to be included in the final sports list.

    The host cities of the Gay Games follow a mandated list of core sports and can then add sports that are popular in their regions. Both esports and dodgeball are wildly popular in Hong Kong.

    “The appetite for specific sports changes over time and we have to open up our minds as to what that means for the future,” says Les Johnson, vice president of external affairs for the Federation of Gay Games. “Both sports will go through a ‘Red Book’ process where we establish the rules for play, age groups and medal counts.”

    Of note is that esports were a part of the sports list when D.C. made it to the final three cities of the 2022 Gay Games bid process.

    The competitive side of gaming known as esports is expected to have a total audience of 454 million viewers and revenues that will top $1 billion. (Photo from the esports event at the 2019 Sin City Classic)

    Earlier this year in January, esports debuted at the Sin City Classic Sports Festival in Las Vegas. Sin City is the largest annual LGBT sporting event in the world and draws more than 7,000 athletes participating in 24 sports.

    Stepping in on short notice to coordinate the addition of esports were Garrett Pattiani and Russ White. They are the co-founders/co-publishers of QLife Magazine,Federated Gaymers League, the International Drag Queen Database and UV Beach Club.

    The competition was hosted at The Wall Gaming Lounge inside the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino. Attendees from the other Sin City sports were invited to attend as spectators and experience virtual reality (VR) demonstrations.

    One of Pattiani and White’s many side gigs is producing virtual reality festivals which includes egaming through VR.

    “We brought along VR Oculus headsets for the gamers and spectators to experience in demo stations,” says Pattiani. “Most gamers haven’t experienced VR gaming and we believe that it will be the esport game of choice in the future.”

    The tournament featured two traditional esport games – Fortnite and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. For the third game of the tournament, Pattiani and White added a VR element by introducing the competitors to Ping! (Pong).

    “There has been a cost barrier for VR because game development is expensive,” Pattiani says. “As the cost comes down and more people gain access to the technology, gamers will diversify, and new spaces will be created.”

    The attraction to esports for the LGBT community is that it creates a safe space where they can be themselves.

    “You can be anybody you want to be – you can create avatars to mimic how you identify, you can change your name and change your hair color,” says Pattiani. “These esports communities create a space where you can be your true self and offers the gamer the ability to explore identities.”

    Pattiani and White have a vision for the future that includes expanding esports at the Sin City Classic.

    “We have the technology to create an LGBT community database of gamers worldwide. Leagues where they would be playing esports against each other, city against city,” says White. “With sponsorships and prize money, we could draw the best players to Vegas to compete in future Sin City Classics.”

  • 31 Jul 2019 10:51 | Anonymous

    Please support this Kickstarter campaign on behalf of the Lotus Sports Club in Cambodia. There are just three more days left in this fundraising campaign. It will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Sun, August 4 2019 3:18 AM PDT. They are 88% of the way to achieving the funding mark.


    The Federation of Gay Games is thrilled to support an exciting film project from Document Our History Now and Destination Justice, and invite you to do the same! Please help see that this vanguard project gets completed. Thank you!
    #cambodia #lgbt #lgbtrights #lesbian #lgbtsports

  • 13 Jul 2019 20:43 | Anonymous

    "Pull me down, I will come back stronger!" Dutee Chand, who has faced a backlash since coming out as bisexual last month, wrote on Twitter.

    Reprinted from Gay Star News


    Sprinter Dutee Chand is officially the fastest woman in India. (Photo: Twitter)

    India’s first openly-LGBTI athlete, sprinter Dutee Chand, silenced critics on Wednesday (10 July).

    She became the first Indian ever to win gold in a 100-meter race at a global sports meet.

    "Pull me down, I will come back stronger!" the 23-year-old wrote on Twitter, sharing a photo of her medal.

    The bisexual sprinter made headlines last month when she revealed her relationship with another woman. She became the first Indian sports star to publicly admit being in a same-sex relationship.

    To read the entire article, click HERE.

    To watch this gold-medal race, click HERE.

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

    The Federation of Gay Games would also like to congratulate Dutee Chand for being featured on the cover of Cosmopolitan magazine in India in their July 2019 issue. Read about it HERE.


  • 12 Jul 2019 10:30 | Anonymous

    On 9 July 2019, Kile Ozier received one of the highest honors given by the Federation of Gay Games: Honorary Life Member status. This had been voted on by the FGG Board and Assembly at a recent annual meeting in Ireland. The award was presented to Kile by FGG Officer of Marketing Doug Litwin


    The presentation took place on Castro Street in San Francisco, not far from a sidewalk plaque that honors Gay Games founder Dr. Tom Waddell (learn more about the Rainbow Honor Walk HERE).

    See the entire list of Honorary Life Members HERE.

    Upon receiving this honor, here is what Kile had to say...

    "Way back in 1981-ish, shortly after I moved to San Francisco and came out, a new friend of mine introduced me to this guy, Tom, who was trying to create a “Gay Olympics.” My friend Russ thought we should know each other. I remember riding around town with Tom in his sports car (an MG, I think?) with flyers for a promotional event. I thought he was a great guy with a very cool idea and was happy to help out but despite having been a college athlete (swimming), I didn’t really consider myself a “sports guy.”

    What an idiot.

    I had no idea that what Tom envisioned would become a powerful reality; changing the lives of millions of men and women, worldwide… including mine.

    A few years later, in Kezar Stadium for the Opening Ceremony; the fog cleared and I Got It. Watching the event grow, exponentially, in the following years was thrilling to witness. As the Games grew in magnitude to surpass the numbers of the Other Olympics and become the largest sports event in the world, and as the run-up to Gay Games IV in NYC began, I saw an opportunity for me to possibly support this sports phenomenon with Ceremony to match Tom’s Olympic Vision.

    Fortunately, Willa Taylor agreed that I was The Guy, and hired me.

    I was very lucky to be the right guy at the right place and the right time. The production team that gathered in NYC was an inspired, committed, generous collection of accomplished and experienced, world-class talent. Michael Graziano, Steve Gallagher, Alan Hatton, Jana Panarites, Jerry Mitchell, Jonathan Sheffer, Eric Schorr, Larry Baker, Rich Quigley, Steve Boyd, Dave Brunetti and scores of kickass production and creative talent from Broadway and off-Broadway theatre — all these men and women gave their all to make the Ceremonies world-class and raise the profile and athlete’s experience of the Games to the level they deserved… to create the Olympic Experience that Tom envisioned; for LGBT+ athletes to stride into a stadium in the bright light of day as Who They Are - brilliantly lit and enthusiastically celebrated.

    We did that. None of us could have done that alone; none of us could have done that without the hard work done by teams and talent who set precedent in the previous quadrennials. I was lucky to have been given this opportunity and to continue beyond 1994 on and off the FGG Board and again with the 2006 Ceremonies in Chicago.

    Through all of this, I’ve been privileged to meet, collaborate, debate, and work alongside men and women from across the globe who share commitment to the vision and dream.

    To be recognized and acknowledged by the FGG in this way is both thrilling and humbling (that “humbling” may cause laughter in some quarters). Thank you to the Board and Members of the Federation of Gay Games for this Honor. I was and am honored to have been able to contribute to an unequaled legacy."


    KILE OZIER GAY GAMES EXPERIENCE

    1993 - 1994

    Produced and Directed the Opening Ceremony (Wien Stadium @ Columbia University) and Closing Ceremony (Yankee Stadium) for Gay Games IV.

    As a part of which commissioned and recorded

    The FGG's own "Fanfare and Processional” - written by Eric Schorr

    FGG anthem, “Take the Flame” - written by Henry Krieger (“Dream Girls,” “Kinky Boots”) and performed by Lillias White, and “Coming of Age” - written by Jonathan Sheffer

    also Greg Louganis’ “coming out / welcome video” and

    Tom Waddell Tribute video.

    Talent: Judith Light, Bill T. Jones, Jerry Mitchell choreographer (“Legally Blond,” “Full Monty,” Director: “La Cage Aux Folles,” “Kinky Boots”) Cyndi Lauper, Patti LaBelle, Aprile Millo, Sir Ian McKellen, Armistead Maupin, Kathy Najimi, Harvey Fierstein, Crystal Waters, Phyllis Hyman, Desmond Child, Marga Gomez, Suzanne Westenhoefer, David Kopay, Lillias White, Aaron Lee Battle.

    1998 - Amsterdam for Gay Games V

    Participated in Swimming

    1999 - Berlin for FGG annual meeting

    Created the "Guidelines for Protocol & Ceremonies” as chair of a committee I can’t remember the name of for the FGG.

    2002 - Sydney for Gay Games VI

    Board member

    Participated in Swimming

    2006 - Chicago for Gay Games VII

    Produced & Directed Opening Ceremonies for Gay Games VIII at Soldier Field,

    Produced & Directed Closing Ceremonies at Wrigley Field

    Bronze medal in Physique

    Talent: Suzanne Westenhoefer, George Takei, Andy Bell (Erasure), Heather Small, Esera Tuaolo, Cyndi Lauper, Levi Kreis, Eric Himan, Kate Clinton, Margaret Cho, Megan Mullally, Kristine W., Shavonne Conroy, Keith Boykin,

    2010 - Cologne for Gay Games VIII

    Participated in Physique

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