The Biggest Sporting and Cultural Event in the World

First thing you need to know… Ranked by number of competitors, the Gay Games are the largest sporting and cultural event in the world – and they are open to everyone.  Unlike the Olympic Games and other elite sporting events, they enable all kinds of people to compete, regardless of skill level, age or physical challenge.  People can compete in sports from swimming, athletics, tennis to bridge and ballroom dancing.  It’s also got a huge cultural side to it from choirs and performances as well as a human rights mission.

They’ve been going for 30 years…The first Gay Games took place in 1982 in San Francisco, bringing together 1,350 athletes from a dozen countries. Since then, the Games have been held every four years, in world-class cities. Gay Games VIII in Cologne in 2010 attracted over 10,000 participants from some 70 countries. The London Gay Games in 2018 would likely attract over 12,000 participants – compared to approximately 10,500 at the London 2012 Olympics.

It’s all about winning…  The Games define winning as achieving one’s personal best. Anyone can participate, regardless of ability, age, sexual orientation, race, gender, nationality, political or religious beliefs, ethnic origins, or HIV status. Athletes represent their country, their city, their club, or just themselves.

We’d like to thank…The Gay Games were originally conceived by Dr Tom Waddell, a decathlon competitor for the USA in the 1968 Olympics. Today, the Gay Games are managed by the Federation of Gay Games (FGG), an umbrella organisation which counts international sport organisations and cultural organisations among its members. Member organisations – including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) sports organisations from the UK – send delegates to the FGG general assembly, which in turn elects a governing board.

What is the point of the Gay Games?

So why is it “A Good Thing?”….The mission of the FGG is to promote equality through the organisation of the premiere international LGBT and gay-friendly sports and cultural event known as the Gay Games.

Dr Waddell conceived of the Games as an opportunity for gays and lesbians to show the world that their skills and competitive spirit were equal to the rest of humanity. He wanted to promote better understanding through sport.

For three decades, the Gay Games have brought together thousands of athletes to show the world their pride, their poise and their passion. The Games celebrate individual achievement and the triumph of collective cooperation. A primary legacy of the Gay Games has been the athletes

and artists themselves, enabling the genesis of countless LGBT athletic and

cultural organisations.


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