Backing Gay Games, Team SF vows no support for Outgames in 2013
SAN FRANCISCO May 31, 2010 — Reacting to the announcement that the Gay & Lesbian International Sports Association (GLISA) plans to hold a third World Outgames in 2013 in Antwerp, Belgium, Team SF held internal discussions as to whether it could in good conscience support WOG3. Following those discussions, the Team SF board approved without dissent the following motion:
Team San Francisco reaffirms its historical commitment to the long established and internationally recognized Gay Games as the preeminent quadrennial global LGBT multi-sport and cultural event. We believe unity behind the Gay Games is an effective and visible means of empowerment, and that continuation of the World Outgames would constitute a dilution of finite resources and a detriment to our community. Therefore, Team SF cannot and will not support any future World Outgames, and we welcome our fellow athletes and artists from across the globe to join us at the Gay Games.
The action builds on Team SF’s 2009 resolution recommending a restoration of the EuroGames to all non-Gay Games years and that “the long established and internationally recognized Gay Games be the only quadrennial global LGBT multi-sport and cultural event beginning in 2010.” (Seehttp://www.lgbtsportsfuture.wordpress.com.)
“We have heard only good reports from athletes who enjoyed competing in the EuroGames in Antwerp, but we believe staging another World Outgames is simply not in the best interests of LGBT athletes,” said Team SF President Tyler Cole. “The Gay Games have changed thousands of lives across the globe every year they are held and are the best means we have available to come together in arts and athletics. The World Outgames gravely diminish that potential.”
Factors cited by Team SF board members in their discussion included a notable registration decline since the advent of the WOGs in 2006, resources being stretched too thin to support multiple, competing events resulting in “tournament fatigue,” a desire to keep a mission focus on sports and culture rather than subsidizing conferences and parties, and Team SF’s historic ties to the Gay Games. Organizers of last year’s World Outgames in Copenhagen said they were unaware of the resistance to the WOGs or the difficulties they created for LGBT sports organizations. Team SF wants to make Antwerp aware of the situation well in advance.
The Gay Games were born in San Francisco, where the San Francisco Arts & Athletics hosted the first two LGBT quadrennial global sports and cultural festivals in 1982 and 1986. Since then the Games have been held in Vancouver (1990), New York City (1994), Amsterdam (1998), Sydney (2002) and Chicago (2006). This year’s Gay Games VIII will be held July 31-Aug. 7 in Cologne, Germany; and the 2014 Gay Games will be held in Cleveland, Ohio.
When the decision was made by San Francisco Arts & Athletics to take the Games out of San Francisco under the newly created Federation of Gay Games, Team SF was formed with a mission to support Bay Area athletes going to the Games, and that historical connection shows in past registration numbers.
Team SF board member Gene Dermody, who has served the FGG as a president, sports officer and technical officer, said, “In every Gay Games since Vancouver 1990, the absolute Gay Games registration has reflected huge San Francisco Bay Area support. Team San Francisco has been one of the first and strongest supporters of the FGG, often supplying crucial leadership, including about a dozen Team SF leaders who moved onto FGG leadership roles. I analyzed all of the registration databases from Vancouver on, and categorically, Bay Area registration has been anywhere from 10 percent to 15 percent of the total registration. This is a sizeable representation, and illustrates the power of Team San Francisco in promoting events.”