Proposal made to merge Gay Games, drop name
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.”