Vows of Gay Games allegiance, calls for no more World Outgames
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.