The first teleconference calls among LGBT sports stakeholders took place on the weekend of 24 October. The Bay Area Reporter published a column previewing the calls and a news story on the calls themselves.
Although the presenters said nothing has been finalized and everything is still under discussion, the proposal presented calls for the sports and culture programs to be based on the Gay Games model and a human rights conference to be based on the World Outgames model. Perhaps the most controversial portion of the presentation concerns governance of the event, which would include votes, committee membership for site selection, site inspection and host steering group, as well as financials. [FGG President Kurt] Dahl said a 60/40 split in the FGG’s favor had been proposed, but that 65-35 and 50-50 splits had been discussed as well.
Those ratios go to the core of the differences between the two international groups. The FGG underwent an organizational restructuring in 2006 with the goal of keeping site selection control in the hands of established and contributing sports and cultural organizations in the general assembly. A motion by former FGG president Sion O’Connor calls for the FGG to retain at least an 87.23 percent control of the event based on the relative values of the Gay Games and Outgames brands.
Delegate Rick Van Tassell of International Association of Gay and Lesbian Martial Artists, noted that the FGG assembly, not its board, has site selection rights and changing that to include GLISA having a role would require bylaw amendments.
“We would be adding another organization to our premier and, indeed, our only event,” Van Tassell said. “What are we getting from them in return?”
“What’s coming to the table is we don’t have the competition,” Dahl responded. “Participants won’t have to choose which event to go to; it’s a hard choice for some participants. What we’re gaining is we won’t have the competition any more.”
Have not had much to report here in recent months as little news has come forth from GLISA and the FGG while their discussions on a single quadrennial event are ongoing. Those plans are supposed to receive an open airing at the FGG meeting in Toronto in October.
Bay Area Reporter sports columnist Roger Brigham, who is the chairman of Wrestlers WithOut Borders and a volunteer with the FGG, wrote recently about the potential impact on the LGBT sports calendar:
A power struggle for the soul of the Gay Games has been going on behind the scenes for years, with diehard sports supporters struggling to retain control of the quadrennial event’s mission as tourism industry interests attempt to change the model into more of a Pride party and conference event. The division erupted in the quadrennial cycle leading up to Gay Games VII in Chicago with the creation of the rival World Outgames, and continues even now as joint discussions are held by Gay and Lesbian International Sports Association and the Federation of Gay Games to establish a single event in 2018.
FGG Co-President Emy Ritt informed the FGG membership August 8 that the Joint Working Group was proposing to call the 2018 festival “Together 2018 Gay Games X 4th Outgames.”
…expect the athletes to foot the bill for a human rights conference to be held as a key component of the Outgames model. Perhaps, as was done at the recently concluded continental Outgames in Vancouver, there will be a live demonstration of how to cleanse an uncircumcised dick. Not sure exactly how that is related to sports.
With an estimated 1.2 million visitors in Vancouver for Pride Week, the Vancouver Outgames last month managed to pull in an estimated 800 combined conference and sports registrants after initially projecting a larger sports slate and 4,000 participants. A dozen sports events were held, and of 40 conference sessions, 29 did not deal with sports issues.
Smaller, individual sports either have not been included in past world and continental Outgames or have not drawn enough numbers to be successful. It is difficult to envision many or any of them surviving beyond one unified quadrennial cycle.
The Federation of Gay Games has put out this call for nominations:
Call for Applications: 2018 One Quadrennial Event Working Group
The Federation of Gay Games assembly and board of directors voted on 8 July 2010 to begin a process of collaboration with GLISA to create a single quadrennial event in 2018.
The exact nature of this event is to be determined by a joint working group composed of five members and the two Co-Presidents from each organisation, FGG and GLISA, under the auspices and approval of both organisations’ boards and general assembly. FGG board and assembly approval is required for any subsequent bylaw changes.
The Federation of Gay Games is seeking 5 Gay Games advocates and leaders in sports and culture to serve on this committee. The application should include all relevant sports, culture, and professional skills. Applications are open to all members of the worldwide community, includng past and present FGG board of directors, assembly members, honorary lifetime members, and volunteers for the Gay Games. The work will include voice and video teleconferences, and a some travel to meetings.
This is an open process and all interested parties are welcome and encouraged to apply to participate in this important working group. The applications will be reviewed by the Federation of Games and 5 people will be elected by a vote of the Federation of Gay Games general assembly using the instant run-off election method .
Help shape our future. For the application and details of the 2018 1QE Working Group, click HERE.
The call for nominations has been distributed largely through emails, the FGG newsletter and blog, and news media reports. A column in San Francisco’s Bay Area Reporter noted the group being formed is not really exactly what the FGG general assembly called for at its last annual meeting this year in Cologne:
The motion, titled “2018 Working Group,” calls for a group to be composed of “five or more members” to be nominated from the general public and voted onto the group by the FGG general assembly in an electronic ballot instant runoff election to be held by November 1.
That’s not quite what is scheduled to happen. The application issued by the FGG board said that the FGG co-presidents (Kurt Dahl of Chicago and Emy Ritt of Paris) will automatically be placed in the group; seven members of the group will be chosen by the Gay and Lesbian Sports Association; and the FGG assembly will vote on only five members of the 14-member working group.
Several LGBT sports organizations have started passing resolutions recommitting themselves to the future of the Gay Games and calling for an immediate end to the World Outgames, while encouraging the Gay & Lesbian International Sports Association to continue with its Continental Outgames.
The resolutions parallel resolutions that some of the other organizations and others passed in 2009 before World Outgames 2 in Copenhagen. Those resolutions emphasized the strain the creation of the World Outgames put upon their limited organizational resources.
Wrestlers WithOut Borders was the first organization known to inform Antwerp organizers, scheduled to host WOG 3 in 2013, of its inability to support the event, in a letter in late February. WWB, which had supported WOG 2, had already said before Copenhagen that it would not support another WOG, noting:
“reports from the Copenhagen event indicate that local politicians at the time they agreed to fund such an undertaking were unaware of the resentment within the global LGBT sports and cultural community against the existence of the WOGs because of the fracturing of loyalties and dilution of limited resources it had caused and the stronger desire for the community to be instead reunited at the Gay Games as the “one quadrennial event” as they had been previously. We would hope that Antwerp politicians and organizers would be cognizant of the sentiments of the community and recognize the inadvisability of something as counterproductive as attempting a WOG, which would be more expensive than a EuroGames both for participants and for operators, and would fester a wound rather than fill a need.”
Team San Francisco, the birthplace of the Gay Games, announced at the end of May that its board has passed a resolution lining up behind the future of the Gay Games and asking for an end to the World Outgames. The resolution reads:
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.
An opinion column on the rationale behind the resolution was published in the Bay Area Reporter and written by sports columnist Roger Brigham, a board member of Team SF. Calling the World Outgames a “noble but failed experiment,” he wrote:
The compelling reason for Team SF to speak up was that organizers of last year’s Outgames in Copenhagen said they were unaware at the time they took on the event of the widespread opposition to the GLISA approach and the loyalty to the Gay Games. Antwerp ran a very successful EuroGames previously and nobody wanted them to be caught unawares this go round.
The press release announcing the resolution is available here.
Two weeks later, Team Seattle passed a similar board resolution. Several other organizations said they are working on parallel motions.
Outsports editors reported on June 4 that Antwerp had sent a response to the Team SF resolution in an email to them. Outsports had labelled the Team SF a resolution an “attack” or call for boycott, but Team SF did not call for a boycott or attack the World Outgames; board members noted that they merely were reaffirming that the organization did not have the resources to support the World Outgames, did not have the inclination to help continue the dueling events, and wanted the continuation of the sports-cultural mix that the Gay Games have historically offered.
Outsports reported that Geert Tengrootenhuysen, LGBT communication for the city of Antwerp, wrote that he was surprised at the resolution ““especially because it has been announced that these organizations will be merging again in 2018.” But members of some Federation of Gay Games Assembly delegates have told their constituents that statement is incorrect – that they have been told that co-presidents of GLISA and the FGG have talked about what to do post-2010, but that merger of the organizations have never been discussed and any discussions regarding 2014 and beyond will not be held until after this year’s Gay Games in Cologne. The FGG will hold its annual Assembly meeting and board immediately after the close of those Games.
The European Gay & Lesbian Sports Federation (EGLSF) held its annual meeting in the United Kingdom the first weekend in March and heard a proposal from the presidents of the Federation of Gay Games (FGG) and the Gay & Lesbian International Sports Association (GLISA). According to the EGLSF press release, the proposal has not yet been voted on by the boards of EGLSF and GLISA, but would call for the two organizations to run a merged event under a new name in 2018. The release said Pepe Garcia Vazquez, male Co-President of EGLSF, said, “Many of our member clubs have expressed a desire for a return to a single quadrennial global LGBT sport event. The joint statement received a standing ovation lasting almost two minutes at the Assembly! This surely demonstrates how important this is to our membership.”
Details of the proposal briefly appeared on the GLISA website, but were removed after a matter of hours. A fuller story quoting the exact language of parts of the proposal as it appeared on the GLISA site was published in San Francisco’s Bay Area Reporter, written by sports columnist Roger Brigham, who is chair of Wrestlers WithOut Borders and a delegate to the FGG.
The posting by GLISA, labeled a joint statement by GLISA presidents Julia Applegate and Wessel van Kampen and FGG presidents Kurt Dahl and Emy Ritt, said that pending board approval, the organizations would “organize one quadrennial event in 2018” for which a “new name will be proposed.” The event would be made up of “three equally important components – sports, culture, and human rights.”
In addition, the 2018 selection process would be created by a joint steering committee, and GLISA and the FGG would promote each other’s events.
Following the FGG-GLISA announcement, EGLSF voted not to hold EuroGames in 2013 and 2014.
The B.A.R. quoted FGG Co-President Kurt Dahl as saying it was not certain the name would be changed, and regardless of support for each other’s events and work together on joint projects, the FGG would not support World Outgames 3 in Antwerp.
It would appear that the proposal had not been discussed among Gay Games supporters before the announcement was made and may have significant oppostion. From the B.A.R.:
“To say I am upset and disappointed with this decision is an understatement,” said former FGG secretary Charles King. “I do not understand how the FGG co-presidents can, in one fell swoop, give equal billing to an organization that by Copenhagen’s own admission in its final report offered no assistance in the organization of Outgames II, ignore many of the stakeholders and constituents who have offered sweat equity, time and money to further the cause of Gay Games, and ignore 30 years of brand building, history and advocacy of the LGBT sport and culture community by even mentioning in print the possibility of renaming the Gay Games in 2018.”
News reports indicate the Copenhagen World Outgames finished with about $230,000 in 2009, and the 2010 Gay Games registrations are above projections with 5,000 already signed up. Click here for the Bay Area Reporter story.
The final financial and status reports for the Copenhagen World Outgames are available on this site. Click here for the link.
Despite previous speculation that the 2009 World Outgames in Copenhagen would be the last WOG as the LGBT sports community calls for just one quadrennial global event, the Gay & Lesbian International Sports Association announced on its web site that World Outgames 3 will be held in Antwerp, Belgium. Antwerp hosted the 2007 EuroGames. A news report on the announcement appears in the Windy City Times.