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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.

  • 22 Jun 2021 12:39 | Douglas Litwin (Administrator)

    Reprinted from the New York Times

    21 June 2021

    By Ken Belson

    On Monday, Raiders defensive lineman Carl Nassib became the first active N.F.L. (professional football) player to publicly declare that he is gay.

    Photo: New York Times

    “I just want to take a quick moment to say that I’m gay,” Nassib said in a video posted to his Instagram account. “I just think that representation and visibility are so important. I actually hope that like one day videos like this and the whole coming-out process are just not necessary, but until then I’m going to do my best and my part to cultivate a culture that’s accepting, that’s compassionate,” before adding that he would donate $100,000 to The Trevor Project, a nonprofit group that focuses on suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning youth.

    “Sadly, I have agonized over this moment for the last 15 years,” he wrote in the same post.

    Nassib, a five-year N.F.L. veteran who previously played with the Cleveland Browns and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, said he was finally “comfortable getting it off my chest.”

    Nassib, 28, thanked his coaches, teammates and the N.F.L. for their support.

    “I would not be able to do this without them,” he wrote in his Instagram post.

    In a statement Monday, Commissioner Roger Goodell said he was “proud of Carl for courageously sharing his truth today. Representation matters.”

    The Raiders quickly showed their support for Nassib’s announcement, writing “proud of you, Carl” in a post to the team’s Twitter account that also included his original statement. Two of his teammates, defensive lineman Darius Stills and edge rusher Maxx Crosby, voiced their support by commenting under Nassib’s post that they were proud of him. DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the N.F.L. Players Association also said in a Twitter post that he and the union supported Nassib.

    Nassib’s announcement, made during Pride Month, is a significant turning point for the N.F.L., and makes him the first openly gay active player in the league’s 101-year history.

    “Sports are, in many ways, one of the last bastions of a place where homophobia can thrive,” said Cathy Renna, a spokeswoman for the National L.G.B.T.Q. Task Force. “So to have a professional athlete of that caliber, particularly in one of the major sports leagues like the N.F.L., it really is historic.”

    A bevy of current and former athletes from around sports reacted positively to Nassib's announcement, including the retired tennis star Billie Jean King, who wrote, “the ability to live an authentic life is so important,” in a social media post Monday.

    Sarah Kate Ellis, chief executive of the L.G.B.T.Q. advocacy organization Glaad, called the announcement “a historic reflection of the growing state of L.G.B.T.Q. visibility and inclusion in the world of professional sports, which has been driven by a long list of brave L.G.B.T.Q. athletes who came before him.”

    Michael Sam, an all-American defensive lineman at Missouri, had been viewed as the most likely to acquire that distinction when he announced he is gay before he being chosen by the Rams in the seventh round of the 2014 N.F.L. draft, but he was cut at the end of that year’s training camp. The Dallas Cowboys signed Sam to their practice squad, but he never played in a regular season game.

    Michael Sam publicly came out as gay before he was selected in the seventh round of the 2014 N.F.L. draft but never played in a regular season game.

    Sam’s draft status was seen as a barometer of whether the climate of men’s pro sports was becoming more accepting of gay athletes, particularly because in February 2014 the N.B.A. had just become the first of the four traditional major American men’s sports leagues to have an openly gay active player when Jason Collins joined the Nets.

    But Sam left the N.F.L. without making an impact on the field.

    Nassib, by contrast, has already played with three teams over five seasons and is under contract through 2022. After a collegiate career at Penn State, he was chosen by the Browns in the third round of the 2016 draft. He played two seasons in Cleveland before playing two more seasons in Tampa. The Raiders signed him to a three-year, $25 million contract in March 2020. He has tallied 20½ sacks during his career.

    A handful of N.F.L. players had previously announced publicly that they were gay, but all after their playing careers were over. David Kopay became the first pro football player to publicly come out as gay in 1975, three years after he retired. He played for nine seasons with the San Francisco 49ers and four other teams in the 1960s and 1970s, and has since become an activist and an ambassador for the Gay Games, a quadrennial sporting event.

    Roy Simmons was the second former player to announce that he was gay, doing so in 1992 after his career with the Giants and Washington Football Team had ended. He later disclosed he was H.I.V. positive and died from pneumonia-related complications in 2014 at age 57.

    Some players like Simmons said they felt they had no choice but to hide their sexual identity while they were in the league. Simmons said he cultivated a reputation for being the life of the party, and had to compartmentalize his football life and his personal life.

    Simmons also said he never would have declared himself gay during the four seasons he played for the N.F.L. for fear of destroying his career.

    ‘’The N.F.L. has a reputation,” he said in 2003, “and it’s not even a verbal thing — it’s just known. You are gladiators; you are male; you kick butt.”

    In recent years, the league has publicly supported Pride Month through promotional efforts like changing official social media avatars to include rainbows and supporting the You Can Play Project, which provides resources to encourage inclusivity in youth sports, even as some players have made derogatory statements about gay people with little penalty or supported groups that oppose gay rights.

  • 16 Jun 2021 09:01 | Douglas Litwin (Administrator)

    Reprinted from Hong Kong Free Press.

    Official response from Gay Games Hong Kong is also below.

    by RHODA KWAN, 15 JUNE 2021

    Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam has said she “does not condone” divisive comments made by lawmakers in the legislature last week when they described the city’s 2022 Gay Games (GGHK) as “disgraceful.”

    “Our position on the Gay Games is we understand the purpose of these games is to promote inclusiveness and diversity, so we have no problem with that sort of spirit and purpose,” the chief executive told the press on Tuesday.

    Several pro-Beijing lawmakers objected to the government’s facilitation of the games during a legislative council meeting last Thursday, with Junius Ho calling them “disgraceful” and saying he did not want the “dirty money” the games will generate.

    “It was much regretted that in the course of discussing this topic in the Legislative Council, individual members have become a bit emotional in expressing their view,” Lam said.

    She also said the city’s lawmakers have certain standards of behaviour that should followed: “But after all, they are Legislative Council members and they have their own standards they should abide by.”

    Lam added that she did not accept any comments that would “unnecessarily divide society.”

    Read the rest of this article HERE.

    See Carrie Lam's comments delivered on video HERE.


    The organisers of the 11th International Gay Games in Hong Kong welcome the remarks by the Hong Kong Chief Executive, Mrs Carrie Lam, and we look forward to a collaborative and fruitful cooperation with the SAR government to achieve success for the Games in November 2022. As the first Games of its kind in Asia, this event will put Hong Kong on the map as a world-class city representing our values of Unity, Diversity and Inclusion. As the Games are only a year and a half away, we urgently ask the government to help us secure sports venues ahead of time, not subject to rules and regulations typically applied to one-off local events. 


  • 06 Jun 2021 11:09 | Douglas Litwin (Administrator)

    Source: New York Times 5 June, 2021

    Legislation labeling discrimination “unacceptable” has been blocked by conservative lawmakers, showing how far the country has to go to fulfill the goal of equality enshrined in the Olympic charter.

    When Fumino Sugiyama, then a fencer for the Japan women’s national team, decided to come out to one of his coaches as a transgender man, he wasn’t sure what to expect.

    What followed shocked him in its brutality.

    “You’ve just never had sex with a real man,” the coach responded, and then offered to perform the deed himself, according to a letter that Mr. Sugiyama wrote last fall to Thomas Bach, the president of the International Olympic Committee.

    Mr. Sugiyama, 39, who is now an activist, wanted to give Mr. Bach an unvarnished picture of the deeply entrenched discrimination in Japan, particularly in the rigid world of sports. He also hoped Mr. Bach would lobby the Japanese government on a bill protecting gay and transgender rights. Doing so, Mr. Sugiyama wrote, could shield “the next generation of athletes from what I experienced.”

    But now, with the Tokyo Olympics less than two months away, hopes for the bill are running out. While a bipartisan committee advanced a draft of the measure, even its modest goal of labeling discrimination “unacceptable” has proved too much for conservative lawmakers, who have blocked consideration of the bill by the full Parliament.

    To read the rest of this article, click HERE.

  • 21 May 2021 11:31 | Douglas Litwin (Administrator)


    Want to learn more about Gay Games' legacy? We'll be discussing just that in this month's English 'Coffee with GGHK' podcast

    Earlier this week on May 17, the world commemorated the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT). This is why, in this month's podcast we will discuss Gay Games' legacy of diversity and equality throughout the years.

    We will also talk about how we can expect to create unity and positive attitudes in Asia and beyond with Gay Games 11 Hong Kong 2022’s unique combination of sport, arts, culture, and fun.

    Our host, Betty Grisoni, will lead a panel with:
    • Jessica Waddell-Lewinstein Kopp – the daughter of Gay Games founder, Dr. Tom Waddell
    • Kimberly Hadley – Officer of Sport on the board of the Federation of Gay Games & Vice President Female - Diversity & North American Referee Director at IGLFA - International Gay and Lesbian Football Association
    Date: Thursday 27 May 2021
    Time: 7-8pm Hong Kong time (12pm British Summer Time; 7am Eastern Time)

    We hope you can join us!

    Register HERE.

    This podcast is in English and a recording will be available on our YouTube channel

  • 10 May 2021 10:09 | Douglas Litwin (Administrator)

    Applications are now being accepted for the Gay Games Hong Kong Funding Support program. See the details below in three languages...



    Welcome to the Gay Games 11 Hong Kong 2022 Funding Support ("the Program") application! To learn more about the Program before you apply, visit:

    Please be sure to read the following information carefully before you proceed.

    You might be automatically eligible for a registration fee and participation fee waiver if you meet one of the following three criteria:


    Show details


    Te damos la bienvenida.

    ¡Te damos la bienvenida a la solicitud de apoyo financiero de los Gay Games 11 Hong Kong 2022 ("el Programa")! Para obtener más información sobre el programa antes de presentar la solicitud, visita:

    Asegúrate de leer la siguiente información detenidamente antes de continuar.

    Es posible que puedas ser elegible automáticamente a una exención de la tarifa de inscripción y la tarifa de participación si cumples con alguno de los siguientes tres criterios:



    访问2022年第11届香港同同场作乐资助计划 请页面!若想一步了解该计划,请查看:



    1. ...

  • 22 Apr 2021 18:00 | Douglas Litwin (Administrator)

    SAN FRANCISCO, CA, USA, April 21, 2021 / - The Federation of Gay Games (FGG) is pleased to announce the Site Inspectors for the 2026 Games Host City selection process. Martha Ehrenfeld, Joan Miró, R. Tony Smith and Annette Wachter were carefully chosen from over 50 worldwide applications. The team, led by FGG Officer of Site Selection, David Killian, will play a vital role in this final part of the bidding process.

    Key responsibilities of site inspectors include traveling to the three finalist cities bidding for the 2026 Gay Games XII, Guadalajara (MEX), Munich (DEU) and Valencia (ESP) to review the venues, infrastructure and all other aspects of the bid organization, having a rounded understanding of FGG history, processes and quality standards, understanding the complexities of producing sports and cultural events, and assisting with the final report once inspections are complete.

    Site Inspections take place in August 2021 and will feature live social media reporting from the bid cities. The team will present its official reports at the FGG General Assembly November 2021 in Hong Kong, where final voting will take place.

    Martha Ehrenfeld, a native New Yorker, first volunteered with the Gay Games in 1994 and has attended 5 Gay Games. Currently an avid tennis player and occasional runner, she has dabbled in many sports including volleyball, basketball, squash, pickleball, triathlon, ice hockey, Nordic skiing and one unsuccessful curling adventure. Her FGG and Gay Games career since 1994 has included being a representative for Team SF to the FGG, part of the Cleveland GG9 Steering Committee, and co-chair of the FGG’s Sports Committee from 2012-2018. At the Paris Gay Games, she was involved in the scholarship recipients’ end of week workshop, helping them plan how to take what they had experienced back to their country and create their own change through sport and culture. Martha and her wife Carla live in San Francisco.

    Joan Miró was born and raised in Barcelona but has lived in several cities in Europe and the USA. He has participated in several Gay Games since Amsterdam 1998, an experience that inspired him to create the LGBTI+ sports club Panteres Grogues in Barcelona in 2000 of which he was President until 2009. The club organized the 2008 EuroGames 2008 and Joan served as President of the Organizing Committee. Joan has also served as President of the IGLFA (International Gay and Lesbian Association) from 2002 to 2005. His current sports are running, soccer and padel tennis.

    R. Tony Smith has been civically involved with boards, commissions, festivals, non-profit organizations and LGBTQ+ sports for 20 years and served the FGG Board as the International Champions Coordinator working to recruit worldwide athletes to the 2014 Gay Games, and then on the Board as the Officer of Communications from 2014-2018. Tony continues to play competitive volleyball and produce large scale sports events with the North American and Colorado Gay Volleyball Associations and serves on the Team Colorado Board of Directors. He has been married to his husband for 19 years.

    Annette Wachter ran a strategy and organization consultancy in the Media sector for more than 20 years prior to retirement. Annette has been involved in LGBTQ+ causes for more than four decades, starting as the organizer for women's studies at the University of Cologne and Rhiannon, a cultural group for women. In the 1990s, Annette became treasurer of Sports Club Janus, the largest multisport club in Europe which led to her becoming Co-President of the Cologne Gay Games 2010. Annette became General Secretary and President of EGLSF from 2013-2021. She lives in Germany with her wife.

    Gay Games 11 Hong Kong 2022 will take place 11th-19th November 2022. This will be the first time a Gay Games has taken place in Asia, and it will feature 36 sports, 14 cultural events and a rich calendar of cultural events for 12,000 participants and 75,000 spectators. Pre-registration is now open; for more information go to

    The Gay Games has enormous impact on host cities in terms of culture, sport, economic impact, history, and most importantly furthering all matters of LGBTQ+ equality. The site selection process is one of the Federation’s most vital tasks, and the FGG takes great pride in the lengthy and thorough process.

    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.

  • 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 (

    “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.

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