Federation of Gay Games NEWS

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  • 11 Jan 2018 8:35 PM | Anonymous

    He will become first publicly out U.S. male Olympic skater.



    San Jose, CA - January 4: Adam Rippon reacts after finishing his routine in the championship men short program during day 2 of the 2018 U.S. figure skating championships at SAP center on January 4, 2018 in San Jose, California. (photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)


    Reprinted from Outsports

    By Jim Buzinski  Jan 7, 2018

    Adam Rippon will finally get to live his Olympic dream after he was selected as one of three men’s skaters on the U.S. Olympic team on Sunday.

    “I’m really grateful that the selection committee looked at my body of work over the last two seasons,” Rippon said. “… I feel that my experience will help me have my best performances at the Olympic Games, and it feels amazing to say that.”

    Rippon, 28, was the final U.S. skater selected, beating out Ross Miner. Nathan Chen, 18, and Vincent Zhou, 17, are the other team members. Rippon won the slot despite a fourth-place finish at the U.S. nationals Saturday night (Miner finished second). But Rippon was credited with a more consistent performances over the course of the skating year.

    When a reporter asked the skaters Sunday: “What will it be like for you guys to have somebody a decade older as your teammate? And Adam, what are your plans for the kids?” Rippon replied: “I’m honored to be their father.”

    Rippon will become the first openly gay U.S. male skater to compete in the Olympics. He will be joined as an openly gay athlete on the ice by Canadian pairs skater Eric Radford. U.S. freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy is also expected to make the U.S. team, giving us three openly gay male Winter Olympians. There had previously never been an out gay male Olympian; skater Johnny Weir never really hid his orientation but also never publicly declared it until after he retired.

    What’s great about Rippon is that he is very out and proud, with a sense of humor and also a seriousness as a competitor.

    “A few weeks ago I was asked in an interview, ‘What is it like being a gay athlete in sports?’ I said it’s exactly like being a straight athlete except with better eyebrows,” Rippon said.

    “I think sharing my story has made me a better competitor because I don’t really care what other people think of me. I’m able to go out there and I’m really able to be unabashedly myself. And I love myself,” he said. “When I’m able to go out there and just really be me, I’m able to put my hard work forward and I want somebody who’s young, who’s struggling, who’s not sure if it’s OK if they are themselves, to know that it’s OK that there are so many people out there who have the same worries. If you set your mind to something, you can truly do anything.”

    The Olympics begin in Pyeongchang, South Korea on Feb. 9.


  • 2 Jan 2018 7:42 PM | Anonymous

    LGBT International Powerlifting Championships Announce The Introduction of Inclusive Mx Category For Transgender, Non Binary and Intersex Athletes



    Registration for the LGBT International Powerlifting Championships 2018 is now open and the organisers have introduced a new “optional” Mx Category (Third Gender) to encourage people from Transgender, Non Binary and Intersex Communities to participate in sports. The LGBT Championships are open to ALL regardless of sexuality, health status, hiv status, gender or ability.

    At last year’s event the Union of Lifters that organises the Championships agreed unanimously at congress to equalise weight classes for all participants and to introduce the Mx Category as an option for Transgender, Non Binary and Intersex Participants. The LGBT International Powerlifting Championships are an annual event, with an aim of developing LGBT Powerlifting worldwide and increasing participation between now and the Gay Games in Hong Kong in 2022.

    One of the key aims of the Federation of Gay Games is to reach out to under-represented groups within sports and next year’s LGBT IPC 2018 will be the first sporting event in the world to welcome Transgender participants with an optional Mx third gender category. The principles of the Gay Games are built on the core principles of Participation, Inclusion, and Personal Best. LGBT IPC aims to encourage these principles as we grow.

    Speaking about the opening of registration for LGBT IPC 2018, Chris Morgan, Male Co-President, LGBT Powerlifting Union and Nine Time World Champion in the sport said, “LGBT IPC was hugely successful in 2017 in bringing together LGBT Powerlifting athletes from all corners of the globe. In 2018 we aim to expand on this by reaching out through to the new LGBT Powerlifting clubs we see emerging around the world. We aim to be as inclusive as possible by equalising all weight classes and offering the new third gender Mx category.”

    Speaking about the Introduction of the Mx Category within LGBT IPC, Charlotte Wareing, Female Co-President, LGBT Powerlifting Union and Seven Time World Champion in the sport said, “Issues effecting Transgender, Non Binary and Intersex participants were discussed in detail at our congress in 2017 and we decided as a group to make our event as inclusive and as a safe as possible by offering an optional MX category. Athletes from within the Trans, Non Binary and Intersex communities are very welcome to participate within LGBT IPC without any fear of discrimination.”

    Also Speaking about the Introduction of the Mx Category within LGBT IPC, Professor Ardel Thomas, Non Binary Representative, LGBT Powerlifting Union and three times Gay Games medal winner said, “We have seen a great deal of adverse reaction recently to media reports of Transgender athletes competing in strength sports, particularly towards athletes who meet the new IOC Guidance and have qualified for multi sports events like the Commonwealth Games. We are aware of new and novice Trans, Non Binary and Intersex lifters are concerned about participating in sports because of lack of understanding and therefore we have decided to offer an optional Mx Category at LGBT IPC 2018.”

    The 2017 LGBT IPC attracted participants from all corners of the globe with nine nations represented including Australia, Belarus, Canada, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, United States of America, and of course the host nation Great Britain. Participation numbers are expected to grow significantly in 2018 with Team GB and Team USA Powerlifting Workshops and Seminars scheduled to take place in Atlanta (USA), Chicago (USA), London (UK), Blackpool (UK), and Birmingham (UK).

    The bidding process is already under way for LGBT IPC events happening in 2019, 2020, and 2021, with expressions of interest received already from Blackpool UK, Munich Germany, Athens Greece, and of course Hong Kong, China who will host the Gay Games in 2022. Powerlifting was included in Hong Kong’s successful bid document and the LGBT Powerlifting Union look forward to working with them between now and the 2022 Gay Games.

    LGBT IPC - LONDON 2018

    The weekend programme in 2018 will include a Coaching Clinic, Technical Briefing, Competition Day, Athletes Meal, Congress, and Closing Party, offering the chance for participants not only to compete, but also to socialise and interact with other LGBT Powerlifters. These are things they may rarely get the opportunity to do in mainstream competitions in their own countries.

    The competition itself will take part on Saturday 28 July at Bethnal Green Weightlifting Club, which was established in 1926 and is well known for its strong commitment to diversity within the communities it serves. Events being offered are Full Powerlifting (Equipped & Unequipped), Single Lift Squat (Equipped & Unequipped), Single Lift Bench (Equipped & Unequipped) and Single Lift Deadlift (Equipped & Unequipped).

    For more details about the LGBT International Powerlifting Championships and to register your interest, visit their website: www.lgbtpowerlifting.org or their Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/203653086703441/ or their Facebook Event Page https://www.facebook.com/events/2000903610182396/

    For more information about the event contact Chris Morgan by Email Chunky@chunkymuscle.com

    Editors Notes:

    The LGBT IPC weekend has a full programme of activities including a Novices Coaching Clinic (Friday 27 July), Competition (Saturday 28 July), Athletes Banquet (Saturday 28 July), Congress (Sunday 29 July) and Closing Party (Sunday 29 July) Visit www.lgbtpowerlifing.org for more details.

    LGBT IPC 2018 will welcome Trans men or trans women who have decided to transition – who will be to participate within either Male, Female or within Mx Category. The third gender Mx Category is also for people who do not identify as one or the other, such as Non Binary or Intersex. The new Mx Category has been introduced for the 2018 event and the policy will be reviewed at Congress on July 29 2017 after the competition takes place on  28 July.

    Bethnal Green Weightlifting Club was formed in 1926 and is a community funded gym, located in Central London www.bgwlc.co.uk

    The LGBT IPC weekend closing party is sponsored by The Eagle Bar and The World Famous Horse Meat Disco www.eaglelondon.com/horse-meat-disco

    The sport of Powerlifting was part of the programme of Gay Games in nine Gay Games from 1982 San Francisco through to Gay Games 2014 in Cleveland Ohio. It was also part of the World Out games in Montreal in 2006. Bench Press Single Event was part of the Eurogames in Munich in 2004. Powerlifting has not been included in Gay Games Paris 2018 www.gaygames.org www.paris2018.com but will return in Hong Kong in 2022. www.gaygameshk2022.com

    Key People - Biographies

    Chris Morgan: Male Co-President, LGBT Powerlifting Union

    Chris has been one of the UK’s leading openly gay athletes since starting his Powerlifting career at the Gay Games in 1998.

     During his eighteen year career he has represented England and Great Britain a total of twenty three times, where he has taken a total of twenty five international medals. He has been World Champion Nine times, European Champion twice, British Champion Eighteen times and has won six Gay Games gold medals. In 2010 and 2011 he was the overall Best Lifter at the British Deadlift Championships and in 2011 was the overall Best Lifter at the European Deadlift Championships. He is the holder of several World and British strength records in the Deadlift.

    Chris is constantly working for the organisation that gave him confidence to be an openly gay athlete, as a global ambassador. His role for the Federation of Gay Games is to inspire and motivate young gay athletes worldwide.

    Charlotte Wareing: Female Co-President, LGBT Powerlifting Union

    Charlotte has been powerlifting for five years, she has won four master's European titles and Seven World titles. She holds 41 World Records in both raw and equipped lifting.  She has twice achieved the overall best lifter once each at European and World level.  Charlotte was the recipient of the LGBT IPC “Spirit Award” at this year’s Championships for her courage and commitment to the LGBT Community, which she views as one of the Highlights of her career.

    Charlotte is keen to grow the sport of powerlifting and works hard to introduce the sport to novice lifters.

    Professor Ardel Thomas, Non Binary Representative, LGBT Powerlifting Union

    Professor Thomas is the Head of LGBT Studies at the City College of San Francisco and a keen Powerlifter. Ardel started Powerlifting at the Gay Games in Amsterdam in 1998 and has taken a total of Two Gay Games Gold Medals and a Silver Medal between 2002 and 2006. After a break from the sport Ardel returned to competitive lifting taking a Gold Medal at the LGBT International Powerlifting Championships 2017.

    Currently, professor Thomas has written several studies on LGBT issues and is a world renowned expert on LGBT Studies.


  • 1 Jan 2018 4:04 AM | Anonymous

    The world’s LGBTQ communities will come together this August in beautiful Paris, for the 10th iteration of the Gay Games. Already, Paris has 5,000 athletes registered — a higher amount than previous hosts have reported this early in the process.

    By Paul Heney, reprinted from TravelPulse.com



    PHOTO: Gay Games 10 will take place in Paris, France in 2018. (photo by Eric Bowman)


    Organizers say they have more than 800 volunteers and a large number of organizational partners helping with Gay Games 10. They are confident in attracting more participants than previous hosts. The maximum capacity is 15,000 participants, and Paris officials say they expect 40,000 visitors—and some 300,000 spectators. Athletics and aquatics are the most popular sports, and golf is already sold out.

    We spoke with Manuel Picaud, the co-président of Paris 2018, to get the scoop on the event.

    TravelPulse (TP): How will the Paris Gay Games differ from past iterations of the Games?

    Manuel Picaud (MP): Paris 2018 will host the first Gay Games in a French-speaking country—the same country where the Olympics were born. France is very passionate about sports. It will also be the site of the Olympics in 2024, the Rugby World Cup in 2023, the Golf Ryder Cup in 2018 and the Women’s World Championship of Soccer or Handball in 2019.

    Gay Games in Paris will also be for the first time in a real capital city, in a city of culture and of art de vivre. Paris 2018–Gay Games 10 is also organized by a federation of organizations that has never been seen before. That means organizers have huge experience with organizing large sporting and cultural events like the International Tournament of Paris for 15 years.

    And many national sports federations are committed to the success of the Gay Games. Finally, never has a city had such institutional support even from the President of the Republic (high patronage), the national and regional governments and, of course, the City of Paris.

    TP: Tell us a little bit about the specific venues for the Games. How were they chosen and what advantages/benefits do you think they give you?

    The Paris 2018 team chose the best venues for participants in all districts of the city, some in the greater Paris region and even in Normandy for sailing in Le Havre. The opening ceremony will be held at Jean Bouin Stadium, a brand-new stadium of 20,000 seats—and the opening party will follow at the Grand Palais, built for the Universal Exhibition in 1900, with the largest glass roof in Europe.

    The village for the Gay Games will welcome all participants, visitors and locals for 10 days at the City Hall Plaza in the heart of Paris. For sports, Olympic George Vallerey swimming pool, Track & Field Charlety Stadium, Lutèce Arena for pétanque, Aren'Ice for ice sports, La Boulie for golf or Versailles Castle for mountain biking are some of the nicest sports venues chosen by our team. For culture, Fashion and Design City or Casino of Paris add some other great venues for welcoming all participants and offering concerts. And the whole city will be covered in the colors of Gay Games 10.

    TP: How has the local community responded to the planning for the Games? Have there been any supporting organizations that surprised you?

    MP: Paris 2018 gathers energy from all sides of our society: student associations, unions, NGOs, LGBT organizations, sports federations and clubs. More than 100 partners have made our dreams come true. Paris 2018 is an organization set up for the event, thanks to all those partners. We are very proud of gathering so many committed organizations.

    TP: What sort of vibe do you think Paris brings to the Games?

    MP: Paris 2018 is about sport and culture, but also human rights and a way of life. We believe we offer the best place to enjoy all activities of the Games in the nicest environment. Paris 2018 is also pioneering to fight prejudices in sport, not only in our country but in the world. Paris offers a huge platform to change the world and share the principles of Gay Games (participation, inclusion and personal best) and our values of diversity, respect, equality, solidarity and sharing.

    TP: Do you think that the Games will have any sort of lasting effect on Paris or France in general? What might the legacy be?

    MP: We have built a legacy plan with the French government and the City of Paris. Gay Games is an event aiming to change the attitude towards sport. There are several fields that we are working on, long-term.

    First of all, Gay Games will have a real economic impact of $78 million from a mere $6 million budget. Gay Games will change homophobic behaviors in sports with several campaigns for equality in sport, with a new section of same-sex couples in figure skating or dance sport, with many debates in schools, firms, universities and sports federations.

    And, of course, Paris and France will show to the world how LGBT-friendly our city and our country is. We expect that volunteers at Gay Games will also be selected for the Olympic Games. Our educational program will also be useful for [future] events.

    TP: Are there any special (non-sporting) events being planned in conjunction with the Games?

    MP: Paris 2018–Gay Games is not only about sport but also about culture. You can find our cultural program on our website. Many events are organized during the week for all visitors, participants and inhabitants: choir concerts, bands, symphonic orchestras, movie festivals, ballet and visual art exhibitions.

    There are some moments of remembrance planned, like the international Memorial Rainbow Run and an exhibition of AIDS quilts. And, there is a three-day international conference on sports for all to make recommendations (legacy again) to improve the practice of sport by everybody.

    TP: What else do potential travelers need to know about the 2018 Games?

    MP: August in Paris is a very attractive period—the weather is usually warm and sunny. Hotel rooms are cheaper than during other periods. Paris 2018 has negotiated a large block of accommodations in Paris and the suburbs with an official travel agent.

    KTS France offers a large scale of services including special fares on Air France, our official airline. By traveling with KTS France, you will not only get the best rates to attend the Gay Games, but you will help Paris 2018 to offer more scholarships for other participants.

    For more information, visit www.paris2018.com.

  • 29 Dec 2017 12:31 AM | Anonymous

    The ISU lifts some restrictions on Gay Games skaters for the first time.

    Paris 2018 - Gay Games 10 will take place in Paris, France, Aug. 4-12, 2018. Registration is now open for athletes in over 30 different sports. Registration prices rise on Jan. 1.


    Openly gay skating legend Randy Gardner hopes to be a figure skating judge at Paris 2018 - Gay Games 10. And who knows, maybe he’ll bring Tai Babilonia with him.

    Reprinted from Outsports.com

    By Cyd Zeigler@CydZeigler

    The Gay Games have long struggled with a fractured relationship with the International Skating Union that has threatened to punish members if they compete in the Gay Games. Now a new breakthrough between the two organizations will open up the Gay Games for all of the world’s figure skaters.

    Here’s the background.

    Central to the figure skating competitions at the Gay Games are various events that the International Skating Union won’t sanction, most notably the same-sex pairs. The ISU mandates that pairs be of opposite sex for all sanctioned competitions, but the Gay Games and other LGBT figure-skating competitions have understandably held same-sex pairs as integral to their events.

    The rift began in 1998 when the ISU notified its members that action would be taken against them if they competed in the Gay Games that year, held in Amsterdam, because of these non-sanctioned events. It’s a hurdle the International Gay Figure Skating Union and the Gay Games have long wanted to clear. Yet for many years they didn’t even try after having been declined twice.

    As Gay Games 10 organizers in Paris began talking with the ISU, some skaters feared that the event would remove same-sex pairs skating to bridge the gap.

    "We couldn't stand by and allow the Gay Games to have a figure skating competition that doesn't allow same-sex pairs skating,” said longtime skater Laura Moore, who is an honorary lifetime member of the Federation of Gay Games.

    Instead, organizers found a middle ground that builds inclusion and advances the conversation.

    Gay Games organizers have been working with the French Federation of Ice Sports to secure an agreement with the ISU. While the events won’t be sanctioned by the ISU, the French Federation has been given permission to help organize part of the skating event. The ISU has agreed to not take any action against members who wish to compete in Paris in that French Federation event.

    This will be the first Gay Games that members of the union will not risk punishment for their participation.

    Half of the competition will be run by the French Federation under ISU rules, and the other half — including same-sex pairs — will be run by the International Gay Figure Skating Unionunder Ice Skating Institute rules.

    "My biggest hope is that it feels like a natural add-on to the traditional Gay Games experience,” said Bradley Erickson, president of the IGFSU.

    "What it will feel like to the skater is that these events are on one day and other events are on the other day. It won't seem that different. But there will be different judging panels based on what's required for certification."

    This should be the most inclusive figure skating event at a Gay Games, with people freer than ever to compete. With the open door from the ISU, it may also attract more non-LGBT competitors. We’re not sure Eric Radford or Ashley Wagner will suddenly show up, but who knows!

    Paris 2018 - Gay Games 10 will take place in Paris, France, Aug. 4-12, 2018. Registration is now open for athletes in over 30 different sports. Registration prices rise on Jan. 1.



  • 22 Dec 2017 6:42 AM | Anonymous

    Two autumns ago, he scored three touchdowns in the state title game, but on this October day, his senior season ended unceremoniously. So the running back walked off the field, seeking solace in a hug from his boyfriend.


    John Bain (left) announces his decision to play college football at Indiana State University alongside teammate Tyler Foote. Photo by Robert Cohen.

    Reprinted from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

    Written by Benjamin Hochman, sports columnist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

    Two autumns ago, he scored three touchdowns in the state title game, but on this October day, his senior season ended unceremoniously. So the running back walked off the field, seeking solace in a hug from his boyfriend.

    “I did notice that moment, and knowing that was the last game of Jake's career, I thought, 'How lucky is Jake for that?'” said John Merritt, the football coach at John Burroughs Prep School (St. Louis, MO). “And what does that say about our community, that they can both express themselves without any fear?”

    Jake Bain is the best athlete at his high school. He'd be the best athlete at most high schools. As a sophomore running back, he was named the Class 3 Offensive Player of the Year in Missouri. As a sophomore! And after winning the state title, he was selected team captain for his junior and senior seasons. On Wednesday, Jake signed to play college football — he's headed to Indiana State next year.

    He is openly gay.

    “This is a kid who, in every traditionally stereotypical way, would not have been connected to that community,” said John Burroughs head of school Andy Abbott, “but in every authentic way, was and is.”

    Legend has it, Jake Bain popped out of the womb wearing a Burroughs helmet.

    His two older brothers played football there. His mother went there. And his grandfather is the school's legendary football coach, Jim Lemen, who won eight state championships from 1970 to 2004. So Jake was just always around. During games, he'd pass out water to the running backs. In the summers, he'd attend Burroughs' day camp, where he was “always astronomically more coordinated and more athletic than every other kid 2-3 years older than he is,” said Abbott, who heads the private school nestled in Ladue. “You'd see him doing flips off the diving board when he was 5. Then he got to Burroughs as a seventh grader, and he was just, really, an athletic phenom. And when you're 12-13 years old, that's who everybody looks up to, everybody respects. The boys were always wide-eyed around Jake Bain.”

    They still are. Jake now spends his summers as a counselor at the same day camp. He wants to be a teacher someday — perhaps a coach, too — and he feeds off mentoring and molding young students. Recently, a camper's mom shared a story with Jake's grandmother, Carole Lemen. Seems the mom had dragged her son shopping for clothing. She picked out some sweats — “No,” the boy said, “I can't have those. That's not the kind Jake Bain wears.”

    "IT WEIGHS ON YOU"

    In the biggest game of his life, Jake had the game of his life.

    In the 2015 state title game, he galloped for 255 yards, scoring the three touchdowns. He got a congratulatory call from his Burroughs running back predecessor, Ezekiel Elliott. Jake was a star and a stud, strong and strapping, the center of attention — yet hidden in sight.

    “When you're kind of half yourself, showing everyone half yourself pretty much, it weighs on you,” said Jake, 18. “I definitely always tried to play to that macho status of a football player with a girlfriend, so I was definitely trying to cover all the bases so people wouldn't find out. I had a couple girlfriends in high school at Burroughs. People used to always describe me as a ladies man. … I was still questioning what I really wanted. Was I bisexual? Was I gay? It was definitely a time where I was able to verify it for myself.”

    The summer before his junior season, the best player on the reigning state champs started telling people he was gay. Back as a freshman, he'd privately told his best friend. And Patrick Bolster told Jake: “I'm in your corner, always.” Finally, in the summer of 2016, Jake told his mother. And his father. And his brothers. And teammates. They were exceptionally accepting.

    “Coming out does not have to be anything other than what a person wants it to be,” said Jake's grandfather Jim, age 77, who is in the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame. “Maybe the hardest thing for some will be talking to the people that care about them the most. …

    “We are so happy that he's the type of person that he is — that he's kind to others, a good leader with how he treats people. And he has a lot of strong qualities as an athlete and as a person.”

    That was the key for Jake — that he was still just Jake. Same guy. Same running back that bulldozes linebackers inconveniently in his way. Same camp counselor. Same team leader. Same guy he was when you admired him yesterday.

    August of '16. Word spread. Jake Bain? And soon, Jake began dating Hunter Sigmund, a Burroughs classmate and swimmer. The Burroughs community prides itself on acceptance, and here was perhaps the most symbolic example of it — their homegrown hero, proudly out of the closet.

    And then the football season began.

    CONSEQUENCES OF COMING OUT

    The text messages would come from numbers Jake did not know.

    He'd recognize the 314, sure, or the 636, but the people who texted him didn't identify themselves. His cell number had been passed around, school to school, and students texted vile homophobic slurs to Jake. Each text, a suckerpunch. That junior football season, he'd get messages day after day — hateful, hurtful words that pierced the 17-year-old boy.

    “There was one night, this guy started sending me hate stuff, and it was one of the few times that I responded,” Jake said. “I shouldn't have, I shouldn't have given him the attention. But the words he was saying started getting worse and worse. I was laying in my bed. And I thought to myself — I really don't know if I can do it anymore. I cried myself to sleep that night. …

    “That's the hard part about it — it's something I'm born with. It's like the color of our skin, I can't change it. So the fact that people can attack you over something you can't change?”

    At least once a game, a player from the other team fired off a gay slur at Jake. One guy barked: “Gay people shouldn't be on the football field.” A Burroughs teammate once retaliated and got a penalty, and Jake was suffocated by emotions, proud that his teammate stood up for him, enraged by the slur, disheartened that because of something personal, all this was happening — and now his own team was being penalized.

    A player from another team even posted a hateful slogan about Jake and Burroughs on Instagram.

    Imagine the comments.

    “Kids were brutal,” said Jake's grandmother, Carole. “They said horrible things. … Bullies are kids that don't have confidence. And the only way to make themselves feel better is to put someone else down.”

    Jake's grandparents have seen the evolution of our society, of our city. They remember previous generations, when it was such a big deal for people from different religions to date each other — compared to how that is perceived today.

    And Jim Lemen remembers the reaction from his own parents, in 1971, when he and Carole adopted an African-American baby daughter.

    “They were very prejudiced,” Jim said. “But it only lasted about six months.”

    “People can really change,” Carole said. “She was so beloved by them after a while. … I think people have to have a real, personal experience to have them turn (their thoughts) around. … A lot of people don't have the opportunity, therefore they're not as open to things that are different or changing. They see the world as just one way.”

    That 2016 football season, Jake continued to play hard. He leaned on his grandparents for wisdom. And his support group, notably his mother, coach and boyfriend.

    “It's hard not to let it get to you — at the end of the day, I'm an 18-year-old kid,” Jake said this month. “Dealing with that stuff is definitely hard. But it makes me stronger. It makes me realize there are people out there who are going to inherently not accept me. And that's something I'm going to have to work with. …

    “There were times I thought it might be easier and go back in the closet, leave St. Louis, switch schools and start over. But I knew that's not what I truly wanted.”

    'I COULD FINALLY BE TRUE TO MYSELF'

    The football star stood at the podium in front of his fellow classmates and fans and faculty at John Burroughs, while wearing a shirt that read: #PRIDE.

    Jake gave a speech.

    “There were countless nights that I would cry myself to sleep, begging to wake up straight,” he said. “And asking why it had to be me, why can't I just be normal?”

    It was the autumn of 2017, during his senior football season. National Coming Out Day was coming up. At an all-school assembly, Jake spoke for 13 heartbreaking and heartwarming minutes.

    “For the first time in my life I could finally be true to myself — I owed it to myself to be me,” Jake said at one point. “I also felt like I owed it to everyone out there who was in the same position — and felt lost and alone like I did.”

    He began to get choked up, pausing to gather himself.

    “I've been given this platform by the successes in sports and my ability to connect with a lot of people,” Jake said. “I hope that people out there who are too afraid to come out — because of what people might think of them — will see me in this position and have the courage to be themselves, as well.

    “I'm with you and in your corner — both to support you and give you any advice you may need. Trust me, I know it's hard.”

    He was crying. And quivering. But he made sure he got out every single word.

    “I'll do everything in my power to make it OK to be yourself,” Jake continued. “I hope that one day people won't have to come out, the same way straight people don't have to come out. I hope that we as a society get to the point where it doesn't matter who someone chooses to love — and that we are judged by the content of our character, rather than what gender we are attracted to. …

    “I wouldn't change who I am for anything.”

    After his speech, five different students reached out to Jake.

    Five students, lost and alone like Jake once was. Five students confiding in Jake that they, too, were gay — and now felt like someone was in their corner.

    Jake's courage and character has touched such a variety of people. Jake forever remembers the texts he got from a “very high-profile high school athlete in St. Louis.” The player admitted, after hearing that the great Jake Bain was actually gay, that he now sees gay people in a positive way.

    “He never really knew a gay person, and that's just the environment he came up in,” Jake said. “So he had his own perceptions of what gay people were, how they acted. That's the problem. There are so many different perceptions and stereotypes placed on gay people — until you get to know one.”

    TAKING HIS GAME TO THE COLLEGE LEVEL

    Jake sure wanted to be a Sycamore.

    Indiana State coach Curt Mallory has a vision, and Jake sees it, too. And similarly to Jake, Mallory comes from an impressive football family — Mallory's father took Indiana to six bowl games as its coach, while Mallory's two brothers are currently NFL assistants.

    Jake liked this guy's energy. And Indiana State is just a few hours from St. Louis. So Jake sat in Mallory's office with his grandparents on a summer day in 2017, “when I felt it was the right time to let them know,” Jake recalled. “So I said, 'Before I commit here, I want to let you know that I'm openly gay, and if that's an issue at all, then I understand, and we can go our separate ways.'

    “And it couldn't have gone any better.

    “He was very supportive from the beginning. And I'm so thankful for Indiana State for giving me the opportunity to play — and accepting me for who I am. It would have been easy for them to say they weren't sure they wanted to deal with the publicity that would come from it. And that's something I would've had to accept. But they've accepted me with open arms.”

    On Wednesday at Burroughs, in a cramped room with onlookers, a TV camera and a cookie cake, Jake officially signed with Indiana State. He carefully placed a blue hat on his head. He was a Sycamore. His mother teared up. His coach gave him a hug.

    Tell coach John Merritt that Jake wants to be a teacher and coach, just like he is, and you can see the pride in Merritt's face. In his smile. In his eyes. Merritt has been there for the journey. He's helped guide it, even pave some of the path.

    “Listen, we want to win football games, we want to be tough and strong,” said Merritt, who coached the 2015 state champions. “But also, I look at our roster. I have Asian players, I have Muslim players, I have gay players, I have straight players, I have black players, I have white players — we have tremendous diversity. And the way that works is by being inclusive.

    “One of the things we talk about in our football program all the time is — our biggest charge is to love one another. It's our human cause, it's our human condition, and we try to build our football team around that. … The wins are great. The life lessons are better for me. If we go 0-36 in the next four years, and I have 10 more Jake Bains who become men and are true to themselves? Then those are great seasons.”

    At a busy coffeeshop last weekend, Jim and Carole Lemen sat in the corner. The septuagenarians have seen generations of students come through — Carole as an elementary teacher, Jim as a teacher and the great coach at John Burroughs. And over the decades, Jake's grandparents themselves have endured prejudices and taught kindness and seen the best of St. Louis and the worst of St. Louis.

    “I think we live in a very challenging world today,” Carole said. “I think we're going backwards in how we treat people and what's acceptable. And I think Jake is the kind of person that can make a difference.”

    ==================================

    Here is another fine article about Jake Bain on the radio station KSDK web site in St. Louis





  • 18 Dec 2017 2:03 AM | Anonymous

    "Following the murder of my friends in Honduras, the FGG's Legacy Award made it possible for me to continue fighting for equality and recognition of LGBT+ people and protected my life".

    Although we have not overcome the barrier of LGBT+ discrimination in Honduras, we are on the right path to achieving it. It was my personal honour to receive The Federation of Gay Games Legacy Award, which opened doors and opportunities I would otherwise not have.

    Read Erick Vidal Martinez Salgado's story and find out how you can help!


    DONTE NOW!


  • 16 Dec 2017 8:03 PM | Anonymous

    The number of publicly out American athletes is not so shocking considering the U.S. has been slow to pass laws that protect LGBTQ Americans.


    John Fennell, U.S. luge athlete

    An openly gay man has never competed for the U.S. in a Winter Games, and it's been 14 years since one did in a Summer Games, NBC News reported.

    John Fennell is one of three publicly out male athletes competing to qualify for the Pyeongchang Games. He is joined by figure skater Adam Rippon and freestyle skier Gus Kenworthy, who came out publicly after winning the silver medal in Sochi in 2014, NBC News reported.

    Fennell will find out in December if he makes the U.S. Olympic luge team, and Rippon and Kenworthy will know their 2018 Olympic status by January.

    Since 2004, gay men from Great Britain, the Netherlands, Finland, New Zealand, Australia, Brazil, and Tonga have competed, reported NBC News.

    The U.S. is not liberal as it seems when pushing for gay rights. For example, the U.S. enacted legislation in 2015 that allows same-sex couples to marry, but gay marriage has been widely accepted in several other countries — like Netherlands (2000), Belgium (2003), Spain (2005), Sweden (2009) and Argentina (2010) — for years now, reported NBC News.

    UPDATE FROM OUTSPORTS 14 DECEMBER 2017

    Olympian John Fennell’s 2018 hopes just ended in the worst way, and he could use a hug

    John Fennell won’t be competing for Team USA at the Winter Olympics in February, after a freak accident in his World Cup qualifying run on Thursday ended his hopes.

    The luger, who competed for Canada in the 2014 Olympics, had the fastest start of the day and was in eighth place headed to the final stretch when the runner on his sled snapped and fell off. Incredibly he still finished 21st, but only the top 15 qualify for Friday’s World Cup. That race will determine the U.S. Olympic team.

    Fennell was one of five American men in contention for the country’s three Olympic spots, and he looked like a shoe-in for the final until the malfunction.

    Fennell quickly took to social media to share his heartbreak:

    Heartbroken. Part of my sled broke off during my qualifying run, cutting my Olympic qualification. Seriously crushed to end like this.

    I can’t begin to imagine the emotions Fennell is feeling right now. It’s one thing to get beaten in competition, but to lose out on an opportunity because equipment broke is tough to take.

    Fennell will forever be an Olympian — This doesn’t take that away from him. And his story and visibility have helped countless youth in sports accept their own selves.

    Still, if you have a moment to give Fennell an e-hug, you can find him on FacebookTwitterand Instagram.
  • 14 Dec 2017 3:12 AM | Anonymous

    Kamilla Rytter Juhl and Christinna Pedersen, women’s doubles silver medalists at the Rio Olympics, wanted to be known for their badminton and not for nature of their relationship off court

    Reprinted from Hindustan Times, Dubai

    By Rajesh Pansare

    Dec 12, 2017


    Kamilla Rytter Juhl and Christinna Pedersen, women’s doubles silver medalists at the Rio Olympics, wanted to be known for their badminton and not for the nature of their relationship off the court.

    It’s not easy to come out of the closet and in the world of sport, not many are willing to brave the implications and repercussions. Danish badminton doubles pair of Kamilla Rytter Juhl and Christinna Pedersen did so after being in a relationship for the last eight years.

    Rytter Juhl said they didn’t declare it earlier because they wanted to be known for their badminton and not for the nature of their relationship off the court.

    “We also wanted to show that we wanted to be famous because of our badminton and we didn’t want to be know as only because of being a female couple. Now we have an Olympic medal so that was important to make clear we wanted to be famous for what we did on court and not for what we did outside,” said Rytter Juhl on the sidelines of a Premier Badminton League (PBL) promotional event in Dubai on Tuesday.

    The duo won silver at the 2016 Rio Games and have also won medals in 2013, 2015 and 2017 BWF World Championships. They revealed their relationship status in their book titled, ‘The Unique Relationship’.

    Pedersen said: “It was about waiting for the right time when we were ready to break the news and ready to take the few negative comments that will come. Hopefully, one day the negative comments will not come. We haven’t been hiding but we just kept our privacy and that is why we waited so long.”

    At first they were nervous about how the fans and fellow players will react, but barring few hate message on social media, they have received a positive response from all quarters.

    “We got a lot of positive messages from around the world, including from India, Malaysia, Indonesia and people are still supporting us. Okay, maybe some fans will say I don’t like the ladies doubles anymore but again they wouldn’t like us if were in a relationship with a man. Out of 100 messages one or two are negative,” Rytter Juhl said.

    Both felt that in team sport it is a bit difficult to come out.

    “In team sport it is very difficult but we are lucky that we are women. So it is easier for us and we have heard that for a male couple it would have been even more difficult,” said Rytter Juhl.

    So what will be their message to others who face a similar dilemma as theirs about coming out?

    “Our message is that just be yourself and it is easy to say but it is not easy when you are a young player and you want to be a champion in the sport. Again, it is about waiting for the right time, and ready to take the news and ready to take the few negative comments that will come. Hopefully, one day the negative comments will not come,” said Pedersen.

  • 8 Dec 2017 8:19 PM | Anonymous

    We've come a long way from the days when “LGBT sports” was an oxymoron. The fact that so many initiatives exist now means we've still got a ways to go.



    Reprinted from PrideSource.com

    7 December

    By Dan Woog

    In the beginning, there was nothing. If you were an LGBT athlete, coach or fan, you were on your own. You had no idea there were others like you anywhere in the sports world. You thought you were alone. Though men and women were coming out in every other area - politics, entertainment, even the military – the locker room door remained firmly shut.

    Over the course of a couple of decades, of course, that's changed. There are now countless ways for LGBT people to connect with, learn from, be inspired by, and in turn in-spire others. Here are some of the biggest - and some you may never have heard of.

    Outsports

    The granddaddy of it all is Outsports. Since 1999, the website (http://www.outsports.com) has covered the LGBT sports world with a keen, insightful eye. Its bread-and-butter is coming-out stories (everyone from Michael Sam to obscure NAIA water polo players) and news (like lawsuits alleging discrimination, and teams hosting Pride nights). In 2017, reading about athletes coming out may seem like the same-old, same-old - until you realize that it's a new experience for the person telling the tale. And no matter what sport you play, overcoming adversity never gets old.

    Gay Games

    The Gay Games have been held every four years, since 1982. They've grown into a worldwide sporting and cultural event, open to all without regard to sexual orientation. Like Outsports, the concept can seem dated - until you see the power in numbers at one of the quadrennial events. The next Gay Games are set for this coming August, in Paris. Yes, gay Paree.

    Changing the Game

    GLSEN - the national organization working to make K-12 schools safe, affirming places for all students regardless of sexual orientation or expression - sponsors Changing the Game. The sports project offers resources for student-athletes, coaches, phys ed teachers and parents. As anyone who has spent any time in any school knows, the attitudes of coaches and players goes a long way toward determining the environment of the building.

    Other Resources

    Resources are also available from It Takes a Team. That project - sponsored by the Women’s Sports Foundation - works on eliminating homophobia in sports. And, true to its "team" concept, it focuses on men as well as women.

    The National Center for Lesbian Rights has a Sports Project that addresses legal issues. The organization has done landmark work assisting coaches who have been fired, as well as with coaches who demonstrate anti-LGBT behavior.

    Equality Coaching Alliance is an online forum. Operating primarily through Facebook, it provides a safe space for coaches to ask for - and receive - advice about being out (or not) in the workplace.

    Also online: the Gay and Lesbian Athletics Foundation. The group works to enhance the visibility of LGBT athletes as positive role models.

    Many groups working in the LGBT sports space involve allies. You Can Play was founded by Patrick Burke to honor his brother Brendan. The Burkes are a noted hockey family; Brendan, a gay man, showed Patrick what the locker room is like for LGBT athletes. You Can Play has posted scores of inspiring videos, filmed by high school, college and professional teams and entire athletic departments and leagues. All deliver the same message: Anyone who can play a sport is welcome.

    Another important group is Athlete Ally. Founded by University of Maryland wrestler Hudson Taylor, the non-profit provides public awareness campaigns, educational programming and resources to foster inclusive sports communities. The program includes “ambassadors” from over 80 colleges and more than 100 professional athletes.

    The proliferation of LGBT organizations has reached into the top levels of pro sports. In 2014, Major League Baseball became the first big-time sport to appoint an “ambassador for inclusion.” Former player - and openly gay man - Billy Bean provided guidance and training to players, managers and team and league staffers on LGBT issues, in the minor leagues as well as majors. He developed training programs to fight sexism and prejudice, as well as homophobia. Earlier this year, Bean was promoted to vice president and special assistant to commissioner Rob Manfred.

    Ambassador for Inclusion

    Two months ago, the National Football League launched a Pride initiative. Part of the Diversity Council - and originated by two gay league employees - its aim is to “heighten sensitivity to the LGBTQ community (and reinforce) commitment to an inclusive environment in which all employees are welcome.”

    That’s several steps beyond what professional teams in all sports have done: promote “Pride” events. Sure, they're a way to sell tickets. But, done with creativity - as when the Los Angeles Dodgers highlight gay couples on their Kiss Cam - they're also a way to celebrate LGBT fans who buy those tickets.

    We've come a long way from the days when “LGBT sports” was an oxymoron. But the fact that so many initiatives exist means we've still got a ways to go.

    Dan Woog is a journalist, educator, soccer coach and gay activist. His latest book is “We Kick Balls: True Stories from the Youth Soccer Wars.” He can be reached care of this publication or at OutField@qsyndicate.com.



  • 7 Dec 2017 1:54 AM | Anonymous

    A new matching grant for December!

    As we continue sharing our series of powerful personal stories this holiday season from scholarship recipients and participants who have been positively and profoundly affected by support received through the Federation Of Gay Games, we are pleased to announce that all Scholarship Program donations in December will be matched by a gift from a major benefactor. 

    That’s TWICE the life-changing impact delivered to athletes and artists from around the world that need your help!

    HELP CHANGE THE LIVES OF A FELLOW LGBTI+ ATHLETE OR ARTIST, DONATE NOW...

     


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