Important October 2006 documentary film about sexual abuse by priests in USA: Deliver Us From Evil
Gay Games 2006 souvenir store: http://gallery.gaygameschicago.org/
January 06, 2006
Gay soldier discharged after attack
by Kelly Kennedy. Times staff writer
A Fort Huachuca, Ariz., soldier who contends he was assaulted in October by a fellow soldier because he is gay was discharged at his own request, The Arizona Daily Star reported. Pfc. Kyle Lawson’s case became a cause célèbre in gay publications because the Army did not prosecute the soldier who punched him in the face at an off-base party on Oct. 29.
Civilian police booked the soldier on felony aggravated assault charges, calling the punch that broke Lawson’s nose “unprovoked.” However, police records offered differing views about what happened at the party: Lawson said he was punched after another soldier learned Lawson was gay. The other soldier said Lawson made sexist remarks to him. In either case, Steve Ralls of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network said the attack was inappropriate and should have been prosecuted.
But the Army requested the case be turned over to it and then declined to prosecute, instead choosing administrative action. Details of that action could not be released due to federal privacy laws, a Fort Huachuca spokeswoman said. Lawson said Jan. 5 that he was torn at the decision to leave the Army just four months out of boot camp. “ It’s bittersweet,” Lawson said. “ On one hand, it will be better for me because I can be who I am. But I’m going to miss it a lot. I really loved it.”
February 20, 2006
Smith College Gay professor forced out in 1960, then exonerated, dies at 87
(See documentary film on the ‘scandal’ at Smith)
San Francisco – Joel Dorius, one of three professors forced out of Smith College in 1960 for possession of gay pornography but later exonerated, died at his home in San Francisco. He was 87. His death last week was caused by bone marrow cancer, the Rev. Paul G. Crowley, a friend, said Monday.
Raymond Joel Dorius, who never used his first name, was born in Salt Lake City on Jan. 4, 1919, and graduated from the University of Utah. He taught English literature at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard and Yale before going to Smith. He then spent 20 years at San Francisco State University, where he retired in 1984.
But his career nearly crashed after state troopers and local police in Northampton, Mass., searched his home as part of raids on obscenity in the mail ordered by President Eisenhower’s postmaster general. He and another untenured professor, Edward Spofford, had been turned in by Newton Arvin, a tenured literature professor whose home was raided first. What they found – pictures of men in their underwear and diaries of the closeted gay life – were mild by today’s standards but considered illegal pornography then.
The three men were charged with possession of pornography. Arvin agreed to testify against the others, but he later suffered a breakdown and committed himself to a mental hospital. The three professors were suspended from Smith. Arvin was able to retire at half pay, but the school’s contracts with Dorius and Spofford were not renewed. Dorius and Spofford accepted a guilty verdict so they could appeal under Massachusetts law. In 1963, the state’s Supreme Court overturned all three convictions.
Smith College never issued a formal apology, but in 2002 school officials established the $100,000 Dorius/Spofford Fund for the Study of Civil Liberties and Freedom of Expression, and the Newton Arvin Prize in American Studies, a $500 annual stipend.
Dorius did not return to Smith for the occasion, but he was touched by the gesture, which reflected a change in the country’s attitude toward homosexuality, said Crowley.
" Younger folks can’t imagine how different the world was not so long ago, and the price people paid," he said. "Joel and his generation suffered ignominies, but have made life easier for those who follow after them."
January 28, 2006
Gay rights bill passes in Washington Sate
by Leah Beth Ward
Ken Lewis, regional director for the Gay Lesbian Straight Educational Network/Gay Straight Alliance, and Rissa Lucas hang a banner Friday in celebration of the gay civil rights bill approved by the state Senate. Gov. Chris Gregoire said she will sign the gay rights measure that passed the Senate 25-23 Friday in a vote that inflamed passions on all sides. " We have truly made history," the governor said at a press conference after the vote.
The legislation adds "sexual orientation" to a state law banning discrimination in housing, employment and insurance. Sixteen states have passed similar laws for gays and lesbians; six of those have laws protecting transgender people. Washington’s effort, which includes protection for transgender people, has been 30 years in the making. The Senate debate started on a personal note. Sen. Darlene Fairley, D-Lake Forest Park, who is physically disabled, reminded her colleagues that discrimination is illegal.
"If I wanted to rent a house from you, and if you looked at the way I walk, and you said, ‘Oh, I’m afraid she’d fall down the stairs and sue me,’ that’s illegal. "The other face of discrimination is hatred and fear. I think the people of Washington state are past that," Fairley said. Sen. Bob Oke, R-Port Orchard, who is battling cancer, talked about his unwillingness to accept his daughter’s sexual orientation as a lesbian because his faith teaches that homosexuality is morally wrong.
" She has been trying to change me and I’ve been trying to change her," Oke said. When his daughter asked recently if she could visit him with her partner, Oke said he had to refuse. "I said I can’t have that. I can’t have you two in my home. That’s called tough love."
Sen. Bill Finkbeiner, R-Kirkland, was the only Senate Republican to vote for the measure, switching his vote from last year. "We don’t choose who we love. The heart chooses who we will love. And I don’t believe that it is right for us to say … that it’s acceptable to discriminate against people because of that," Finkbeiner said in a speech.
Two Senate Democrats voted against the measure. One Republican was not present. Sens. Alex Deccio, R-Yakima, Jim Honeyford, R-Sunnyside, Joyce Mulliken, R-Ephrata, voted against the proposal, House Bill 2661, Opponents argued the law will unleash a blizzard of lawsuits. But the Rev. Jane Newell, of the Rainbow Cathedral Metropolitan Community Church in Yakima, said that’s not been the case in the city of Seattle, which has a nondiscrimination ordinance. The new state law, she said, will simply give people a greater sense of protection and security in their everyday lives.
" I have heard from people who go to great lengths to conceal their sexual orientation at work for fear they’ll be fired. Now they can feel secure," said Newell, who is a lesbian. Rep. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, an openly gay man, quoted President Kennedy in a statement after the bill passed the Senate: " ‘In giving rights to others which belong to them, we give rights to ourselves and to our country.’ By passing this bill, a huge gift has been given to our state. It is a gift of tolerance, acceptance and appreciation for our neighbors to see each other with," Murray said. Gregoire told Sens. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., and Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., the news by cell phone, holding the phone away from her ear as she said they cheered. Cantwell and Clinton were in Seattle for a fundraiser.
First introduced in 1977, the legislation is closely associated with the state’s first openly gay lawmaker, Democrat Cal Anderson of Seattle, who sponsored it for eight years before he died of AIDS in 1995.
The measure passed the House last week 60-37, with six Republicans joining 54 Democrats in support. Republicans amended the bill to say that it would not modify or change state marriage laws. The state Supreme Court is expected to rule soon on a case challenging the state’s ban on gay marriage, known as the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA. Earlier this week, the Senate added a change to the bill that asserts the state doesn’t endorse "any specific belief, practice, behavior, or orientation."
That’s no comfort to Tom Lawson, senior pastor at West Valley Four Square Church. "The Bible is real clear that homosexuality is an abomination to God. So to put a homosexual on the same level as race or ethnicity in an employment rule is just incomprehensible to me. How we can do that?" Lawson said in a phone interview. Sen. Dan Swecker, R-Rochester, said during floor debate that despite the amendment, the court "will take judicial notice of our actions" as its deliberates on DOMA. He also claimed the state Human Rights Commission will begin an education campaign that will lead to "state sponsored pro-homosexual programs that would be taught in a schools."
But Ken Lewis said there is no "gay agenda." Lewis is an activist in the Democratic Party and regional director for the Gay Lesbian Straight Educational Network/Gay Straight Alliance, which represents Yakima, Kittitas and Klickitat counties. " We’re asking for equal rights, not special rights. The horror stories just don’t need to be out there," he said.
Leah Beth Ward can be reached at 577-7626 or email@example.com.
June 8, 2006
Senate Rejects Gay Marriage Amendment
Washington – The Senate rejected a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage Wednesday, delivering a stinging defeat to President Bush and other Republicans who hope the issue will rally GOP voters for the November elections. The senators’ vote was 49-48 to limit debate and bring the amendment to a yes-or-no decision. That was 11 short of the 60 needed, killing the measure in the Senate for this year. Bush suggested the ban was proper and its time would still come. He said, ”Our nation’s founders set a high bar for amending our Constitution and history has shown us that it can take several tries before an amendment builds the two-thirds support it needs in both houses of Congress.” Democrats suggested it was all about conservative politics.
”Why is it when Republicans are all for reducing the federal government’s impact on people’s lives until it comes to these stinging litmus test issues, whether gay marriage or end of life they suddenly want the federal government to intervene?” asked Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. ”It makes no sense other than throwing red meat to a certain constituency.” The 49 votes to keep the amendment alive were one more than the measure received the last time the Senate voted, in 2004. Proponents had predicted the amendment would get at least a 51-vote majority in the 100-member Senate with the gain four Republican seats since then. It takes two-thirds majorities in both houses of Congress to send a proposed amendment to the states for ratification. The House will take up the issue next month.
Despite the defeat, amendment backers insisted progress had been made because the debate over three days raised the issue’s profile and will force candidates to answer for their votes on the campaign trail. ‘Eventually, Congress is going to have to catch up to the wisdom of the American people or the American people will change Congress for the better,” said Sen. David Vitter, R-La. ”We’re not going to stop until marriage between a man and a woman is protected,” said Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan. Most bitter to the amendments’ authors was the loss of support in their own GOP caucus. Two Republicans changed their votes from yes in 2004 to no this time: Judd Gregg of New Hampshire and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska did not vote Wednesday because he was traveling with Bush.
All told, seven Republicans voted to kill the amendment. The five others were Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, Susan Collins of Maine, John McCain of Arizona, Olympia Snowe of Maine and John Sununu of New Hampshire. Gregg said that in 2004, he believed a Massachusetts Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage in that state would undermine the authority of other states, like his, to prohibit such unions.
”Fortunately, such legal pandemonium has not ensued,” Gregg said. ”The past two years have shown that federalism, not more federal laws, is a viable and preferable approach.” A majority of Americans define marriage as a union of a man and a woman, as the proposed amendment does, according to a poll out this week by ABC News. But an equal majority oppose amending the Constitution over the issue, the poll found.
The tally Wednesday put the ban 18 votes short of the 67 needed for the Senate to approve a constitutional amendment.
Supporters of the amendment acknowledged disappointment in the vote and, to some extent, Bush’s advocacy. ”He could have done more, but he doesn’t have a vote in this one,” Brownback said of the president. Forty-five of the 50 states have acted to define traditional marriage in ways that would ban same-sex marriage — 19 with state constitutional amendments and 26 with statutes. The proposed federal amendment would prohibit states from recognizing same-sex marriages. After approval by Congress, it would have to be ratified by at least 38 state legislatures.
Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska was the only Senate Democrat who supported the amendment. Democrat Robert Byrd of West Virginia voted ”yes” on Wednesday’s motion to move forward with an up-or-down vote on the amendment but said he opposed the measure itself. Three senators did not vote: Democrats Christopher Dodd of Connecticut and John Rockefeller of West Virginia as well as Republican Hagel of Nebraska.
June 17, 2006
I’m no abomination, says gay bishop
by James Bone
Conservatives and gay rights activists are fighting for the future of Anglicanism in an Ohio hotel
Gene Robinson, the first openly gay bishop in the history of the Anglican Communion, stood before 1,500 American Episcopalians and proclaimed: “I’m not an abomination in the eyes of God.” The Episcopal Church should “stand up for right”, he insisted.
Moments later, Robert Duncan, the conservative Bishop of Pittsburgh, took the microphone to declare that the Church had reached an “impossible moment” and was on the brink of an historic schism.
The high drama, played out in the ballroom of an Ohio hotel on Wednesday night, could determine the future of the 2.3 million-strong US Episcopal Church in the global Anglican Communion. Episcopalians, gathered for their three-yearly convention, are struggling to craft a response to complaints that they broke with Anglican doctrine in 2003 by consecrating Bishop Robinson, who lives openly with another man. The 2004 Windsor commission, appointed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, has invited the American Church to declare a moratorium on consecrating gay bishops and express “regret” for the events surrounding their 2003 decision. But resolutions, drawn up by an Episcopal panel, which could come to a vote as early as tomorrow, fall short of the Windsor commission’s recommendations.
The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, the Church of England’s second-in-command, took the microphone to give warning that the proposed resolutions were not sufficient. “We have been asked to build a bridge,” said Don Curran, a delegate from central Florida. “Say the bridge is 1,000 ft long. If the bridge is only 950 ft long, it does not work. It’s useless.” Instead of declaring a moratorium, the American Church may simply urge “very considerable caution” in choosing any more gay bishops. Similarly, its expression of “regret” is couched in terms that make clear that the American Church is sorry only about the lack of consultation with other Anglican provinces, not the actual consecretion of Bishop Robinson.
Conservatives have denounced the proposed resolutions as a “fudge” and say the measures will not heal the rift over homosexuality.
“We see people leaving the Episcopal Church daily. Some people are hanging on just for this convention. If the Episcopal Church produces a fudge, you will see things fall apart,” said Cynthia Brust, spokeswoman for the American Anglican Council. The Rev Mark Eldredge, of the Church of the Epiphany in Jacksonville, Florida, said that his congregation of 220 was waiting for a vote before deciding whether to break away, as 11 other parishes in Florida have done. “Every one of them has experienced growth in attendance. And joy. It’s only good,” he said. But gay rights activists within the Church say that the resolutions go too far, and believe they have the votes to prevent any toughening of the language.
“We did not create the problem,” said Michael Hopkins, a representative from the Rochester Diocese, New York state. “We’ve been in a state of broken communion in the Church for 30 years since we began ordaining women.” Dr Sentamu, who is Ugandan-born, told The Times: “What has happened to us that our friendship is fractured? “The question I was asking is, ‘Is the resolution sufficient to cure this impaired friendship?’ I’m doubtful because it does not go all the way. “The chances are that it won’t work.”
Healing Faith ?The 2004 Windsor Report
Calls for a “moratorium” on the election of bishops living with gay partners until a new consensus emerges, and for an expression of “regret” that “bonds of affection” were breached by the election of Gene Robinson of New Hampshire
The Proposed Episcopal Response
Urges “very considerable caution” in the election of bishops “whose manner of life present a challenge to the wider church” and offers “our sincerest apology and repentance for having breached the bonds of affection in the Anglican Communion by any failure to consult adequately with our Anglican partners”
June 21, 2006
Gay Games: Right Around the Corner
by Ross Forman
The end of the rainbow, no pun intended, is finally within sight. A little more than two years of preparation for this quadrennial sports and cultural extravaganza are now down to a matter of days. The pot of gold that is Gay Games VII comes to life July 15 with the Opening Ceremony at Soldier Field. About 12,000 registered participants from around the world will invade Chicago for the first Gay Games on American soil since 1994’s Games in New York City.
“ We had three goals within our planning process. Our official target and our public number was 12,000. Our budget number was 10,000. Our break-even number, even with the contingency, was 8,000,” said Kevin Boyer, co-vice chair of the Gay Games Chicago board. “When we picked those numbers two years ago, we had good reasons for each number, including analysis of past Games [ and ] the impact ( that the OutGames ) in Montreal would have, along with the economy, the support of Chicago and the Midwest as a whole, etc. Well, all of the planning paid off … we met all of our targets.”
Softball has the most registrants ( 1,200 ) of all 32 sports, followed by swimming ( 1,000 ) , tennis ( 900 ) , volleyball ( 800 ) , and bowling and soccer ( 600 each ) . “ We had very few surprises in terms of registration, other than perhaps doing so well in sports like badminton, ice hockey and racquetball. I don’t think we expected those sports to grow as fast as they did,” Boyer said. “Another last-minute surprise was the huge increase in numbers in team sports, specifically softball, volleyball, basketball and flag football.”
With close to 1,200 people registered for softball, Chicago will be the largest Gay Games softball tournament ever. The running events, in reality, have the most registrants. There are more than 2,000 combined registered for the triathlon, road races ( 5K and 10K ) , marathon and half-marathon, and track and field.
“ We did very well [ in registration ] in all of the sports that we thought we’d do well in,” Boyer said. Rugby was, though, the one disappointing sport in terms of registration, he said. “The rugby registration just never really took off. Why? Well, rugby really isn’t a summer sport and the gay men’s rugby community never really grabbed hold of [ the Games ] in the U.S. and supported it as much as we would have thought.” So, rugby will simply be an exhibition sport next month. There were 40 participants registered for diving and 25 for synchronized swimming, and though those numbers might sound small, their events might be the most popular and best attended.
The Opening Ceremony, set for 8 p.m. at Soldier Field, is shaping up to match the hype over the event’s glitz and glamour. James Hormel will give a keynote speech while former NFL standout Esera Tuaolo will sing the anthem of the Gay Games. Fellow former NFL player David Kopay will administer the participant’s oath, while former major league baseball player Billy Bean will administer the officials’ oath.
The lineup of speakers and performers for the opening ceremony includes Margaret Cho, Kate Clinton, Matthew Cusick, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, Greg Louganis, Megan Mullally, Billy Porter, George Takei and others. More than 1,400 people will be performing in some capacity at the Opening Ceremony, not to mention the athletes’ processional of 12,000.
“The talent lineup is incredible. It’s going to be an amazing night,” Boyer said. “We don’t need to fill Soldier Field in order to meet our financial target. We just need to make sure the stadium is full enough to have a successful event fiscally and a good experience. Ticket sales are going briskly. Surprisingly, it’s the higher-priced tickets that are selling out, such as the Gold Packages.” Plenty of tickets for the opening ceremony are still available at $50. “ Chicago is a great sports town, and it’s a city that truly appreciates a great show. So we fully anticipated the Gay Games to be a great success,” Boyer said.
The Closing Ceremony, scheduled for 3 p.m. at Wrigley Field on July 22, will be every bit as dramatic as the opening event. The Wrigley show will feature DC Cowboys, Ari Gold, Eric Himan, Jason & DeMarco, Cyndi Lauper, Chuck Panozzo and many others The experience at Wrigley is going to be incredible,” Boyer said. “I think people truly will realize that this is one of the very few opportunities to get into Wrigley for an event like this—something really special, something really different. And who wouldn’t want to see Cyndi Lauper perform at Wrigley?”
The processional for the Opening Ceremony is organized by country, state and city. The processional for the Closing Ceremony is not organized that way; the athletes all come in together as a group to symbolize unity, togetherness and inclusiveness. The athletes will enter Wrigley from the corner of Waveland and Sheffield, entering through the doors under the bleachers, march on the warning track, then across a covered pathway in the outfield, to the infield, ultimately into the seats. Athletes will be in the 100-level seats.
Mainstream media will cover the Games from around the world, Boyer confirmed. “The coverage throughout the U.S., particularly in Chicago, has increased exponentially over the past few weeks,” he said. During the first two weeks of June, there were 75 separate media inquires.
Boyer said that all Chicago-area media will provide daily coverage of the Games. The Hilton Chicago, 720 S. Michigan, will serve as the media center, where scores, results and statistics will flow in daily from the various sites, sport managers, Sports Village press officers and others. Headlines will be made available numerous times throughout the day. There will be a press briefing every morning at the Hilton.
There will be sporting events during the days and nights throughout the eight days, from soccer games at 8 a.m. to figure skating at 8 p.m. Plus, there will be about 120-affiliated Games events. “Basically, if you want to do something associated with the Gay Games any time, any hour between July 15-22, there’s something out there for you.” Boyer said.
John Money, a giant of sex and gender research, dies at 84
We mourn the death at the ripe old age of 84 of Dr. John Money, a pioneer researcher who helped break down medical and cultural stereotypes about sex and gender. For 50 years he taught and researched at Johns Hopkins University, which has one of the country’s most prestigious medical faculties, where he was both Professor of Medical Psychology and Professor of Pediatrics. He wrote some four dozen books, both scientific treatises and books for popular consumption by non-specialists. The transgendered owe an enormous debt to the New Zealand-born Dr. Money, for he established the first sex reassignment clinic at a major university back in the stifling, sex-negative atmosphere of the 1950s, when most of the medical, legal, and psychiatric professions considered anyone claiming to be trapped in a body of the wrong gender a sick person, a degenerate pervert, or a criminal. He created the concepts and phrases "gender role" and "gender identity," almost single-handedly breaking open the discourse on those topics and permitting a more fluid and less judgmental attitude toward human sexuality to find a legitimate place in the public discourse, prefiguring the so-called "sexual revolution" of the 1960s. And his testimony on transsexualism as an expert in many court cases helped change legal attitudes toward the transgendered.
Money’s work helped speed the decriminalization of homosexuality and the removal of homosexuality from the American Psychiatric Association’s list of sexual disorders in the early ’70s. In the mid-’70s, Dr. Money and his Gender Identity Clinic at Johns Hopkins began the very first systematic medical-psychological study of gay-bashers, studying dozens of young males — from adolescents to fellows in their mid-late 20s — who had been involved in violent physical attacks on gay people. This ground-breaking study, which I have not found referred to in any of the obituaries on Money running in today’s newspapers, demonstrated that these young gay-bashers all had one thing in common: a fear and hatred of that part of themselves inhabited by homosexual desire, to whatever degree. (I had the privilege of interviewing Dr. Money about this study for New York magazine some years ago.)
Money also took another courageous view in the middle of the country’s hysteria over pedophilia. He felt that both sexual researchers and the public do not make distinctions between affectional pedophilia and sadistic pedophilia, including infantophilia (occasionally referred to as nepiophilia), pedophilia and ephebophilia. For Money, affectional pedophilia is about love and not sex. If I were to see the case of a boy aged ten or eleven who’s intensely erotically attracted toward a man in his twenties or thirties, if the relationship is totally mutual, and the bonding is genuinely totally mutual…then I would not call it pathological in any way.
His view was that affectional pedophilia is caused by a surplus of parental love that became erotic, and is not a behavioral disorder. Rather, he felt that heterosexuality is another example of a societal and therefore, a superficial, ideological concept. You can read the fascinating introduction by Money to the book Boys on Their Contacts With Men: A study of Sexually Expressed Friendships — a study which Money called ""one of the most valuable works of research scholarship on the topic of pedophilia that has ever appeared in print" — by clicking here.
Money was also a celebrated atheist: a Rolling Stone profile of him noted: "A Rolling Stone article about him stated: "Having lost his faith in his early 20s, Money increasingly reacted against what he saw as the repressive religious strictures of his upbringing and, in particular, the anti-masturbatory, anti-sexual fervor that went with them. The academic study of sexuality, which removed even the most outlandish practices from moral considerations and placed them in the ‘pure’ realm of scientific inquiry, was for Money an emancipation."
An enormous assemblage of Dr. Money’s papers, journals, drafts, correspondence, transcripts of the many court hearings on transsexualism in which Money testified as an expert, recordings of his lectures, a large collection of scientific, pornographic, and erotic magazines and journals, and more is all available at the John Money Collection at the Kinsey Institute. I did not agree with every single one of Money’s theories, and, yes, he got a little dotty in his later years and came up with some bizarre notions, but his huge contribution to creating a larger cultural, public, legal, and medical space for sexual difference in the ’50s, ’60s, and 70s is indisputable. We salute this pioneering sexologist on his passing — he had an original, creative, and wide-ranging mind, a limitless intellectual compassion that recalled Marx’s famous dictum that "nothing human is alien to me," and I do not think we shall see his like again any time soon.
July 14, 2006
Swifter, higher, fabulous: Gay Games aren’t a drag
by Ros Krasny
Chicago, (Reuters) – For bowler Michael Cook, it’s strictly competitive. For cheerleader Eric Hoffman, it’s political. And for Chicago’s Mayor Richard M. Daley, it’s a possible Olympics dress rehearsal. Welcome to Gay Games VII, eight days starting on Saturday of sports and cultural events promising something for everyone — from world-class athletics, to band concerts and art installations, to the Pink Flamingos, an outrageously campy aquatic show. The city hopes millions of dollars will flow to hotels, restaurants and bars, and organizers claim the games could turn a profit for the first time since starting in 1982.
Meanwhile, anti-gay marriage demonstrators are revving up for protests, including preaching outside some of the games venues. "I signed up just to show people what we can do as a community, and challenge the conventional heterosexual comments that we’re not able to do it," said cheerleader Hoffman, 34, sporting a pink Mohawk. About 12,000 athletes — from an Olympic volleyball player to recreational darts throwers — will compete in 30 different sports across the city and several suburbs. Some 70 percent will be from the United States but about 70 other nations are represented, including some where homosexual athletes "come out" at their peril. The U.S. government eased immigration restrictions for noncitizens with HIV to attend.
The event is one of two in North America this summer due to a schism among organizers. The first World Outgames will unfold in Montreal July 26-Aug 5, with an even larger participation, the group there says. A spokeswoman for the Montreal event said nearly 13,000 athletes have signed up so far for 35 events and the total may reach 16,000 from more than 100 countries. Only 2,500 of the Montreal participants are from the United States, compared to the top-heavy U.S. representation in Chicago. A Montreal event spokeswoman said the Iraq war and Canada’s more liberal attitude toward gays generally may play a role in the larger international field they expect to land.
Going into Saturday’s Chicago gala opening ceremony, entry slots were filled for all sports and tickets to some of the hottest events, such as body-building, were sold out. For Chicago, the Gay Games could be a stepping stone toward the prize coveted by longtime mayor Daley — the 2016 Olympic Games. Chicago, the 3rd largest U.S. city, has made a bid for the "big games" along with four other U.S. cities.
"The Gay Games is like a preview of the Olympics for 2016; it’s like a showcase for us," Daley told a news conference. The Gay Games movement was started in 1982 by Tom Waddell, a U.S. decathlete at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics. Some 1,350 athletes signed on for the first event in San Francisco. "This event shows diversity, unity and a financial and political strength at a time when we are being attacked," said health care executive Jan Berger, 49, who will compete in women’s tennis doubles with her partner Robin. Michael Cook, 43, a burly truck driver from Chicago, said he had no political agenda in signing on to bowl at the games.
"It’s strictly to see how I measure up against the other bowlers. It’s strictly competitive," he said. Geoff Myers, 44, a professional dancer, will swap his tights for a tennis racket. "I participated in the 1994 New York games and it was the most amazing experience in terms of gay athletics and getting to be part of the community," he said. "It’s both competitive and political. It shows the world our athletic ability and breaks the stereotypes — and it’s a wonderful social event as well."
July 15, 2005
Montreal, Chicago battling for gay sports fans: Upstart Out Games event has early edge in registering athletes
by Lou Chibbaro Jr., firstname.lastname@example.org.
A breakaway organization promoting an international gay and lesbian sports competition in Montreal in July 2006 called Out Games has registered more athletes and teams than its rival Gay Games event, which is set to take place in Chicago two weeks earlier.
But supporters of both events say it’s too soon to determine which one will draw the most participants and spectators as both sides wage an aggressive campaign to sign up paid registrants. The two sides are pushing their campaigns through upscale Web sites accessible in several languages. Elected officials and business leaders in both cities have joined the gay organizers to help promote the two events in an unprecedented effort to lure millions of gay tourist dollars to their hometowns.
At first, many gay sports enthusiasts predicted the two competing events would lead to a financial disaster for both and would dilute and split apart what had become a unified quadrennial gay event. Now, some are wondering whether the competition has triggered an unprecedented professionalism and such an overwhelming desire to come out ahead of the other that both events might turn out better than past Gay Games – both in attendance and the financial bottom line. As of this week, officials with Out Games announced that 5,600 participants had registered and paid in full or in part to compete in the Montreal games, including at least 1,500 Americans. Gay Games officials said about 3,000 participants who paid their registration fees in full have signed up to participate in the Chicago events. Both sides said the participants who signed up come from more than 20 countries, with most expected to come from North America. Each side predicts at least 12,000 participants will attend their respective events.
Competing for more than athletes
The two sides are also competing to line up gay choruses and bands from Europe and North America. In recent years, the Gay Games evolved into a cultural festival as well as an athletic event, with extravaganza performances by choruses, bands and top-name entertainers taking place at stadiums where the opening and closing ceremonies are held.
"We still don’t know where most of our teams will go," said Brent Minor, president of Team D.C., an umbrella group that represents more than two-dozen D.C. area gay and lesbian sports teams and groups, ranging from soccer and golf to swimming and volleyball. "Team D.C. voted to support our participants, whichever event they choose to attend," Minor said. Minor said members of some of the D.C. teams, as well as teams in other cities, are taking a wait-and-see posture to determine which city will capture the top competition in a category of sporting event – such as soccer or swimming. The San Francisco-based Federation of Gay Games, which was formed by the late gay Olympic athlete Tom Waddell in the 1980s, is credited with starting what has become known as an international gay and lesbian sports "movement." Waddell almost single-handedly put together the first Gay Games competition in San Francisco in 1982 following a legal ruling initiated by the International Olympics Committee that forced him to drop the name "Gay Olympics."
The gay international sporting competition continued every four years since that time under the Gay Games title, growing each year in numbers. The founding event in 1982 drew 1,350 gay and lesbian athletes mostly from North America and Europe, according to Roger Brigham, communications director for the Federation of Gay Games. The number of participants jumped to 12,500 in New York City in 1994, climbed to a record 13,000 in Amsterdam in 1998 and dropped back to 11,000 in Sidney, Australia in 2002, Brigham said.
Shortly before the Sidney games were held, the FGG named Montreal the winner in a competition among gay sporting associations to sponsor the 2006 Gay Games. A short time later, the Montreal organizing committee, Montreal 2006, says it lined up generous sponsors from some of Canada’s largest corporations and persuaded the governments of Montreal, Quebec, and the national Canadian government to sign on as "partners" to the event and to kick in $1 million each to help finance the games. The committee called those developments historic, saying Canada’s entire governmental establishment had endorsed and agreed to help subsidize an international gay sporting event.
What happened next takes on an entirely different perspective and interpretation among the Gay Games and Out Games leaders.
The Gay Games in Sydney, while hailed as a highly successful sports event, turned into a financial disaster, with millions of dollars in debt and gay and gay-friendly vendors left holding the bag with unpaid bills. Coming on the heels of similar financial problems with the previous two Gay Games in Amsterdam and New York, the FGG pushed through a series of rules changes that required the Montreal committee to turn over financial control of the event to the FGG. Up until that time, the committees for the host cities had full financial control over the events.
Former Olympic swimmer Mark Tewksbury has taken a lead role in preparing for the first Out Games, scheduled for next summer in Montreal.
Among other things, the FGG wanted Montreal to scale back its initial budget from 24,000 participants to 12,000, saying a 24,000 turnout appeared unrealistic and could lead to financial problems similar to Sydney’s. FGG officials also requested that Montreal not link its sporting events to a planned international gay rights conference and to Montreal’s annual Gay Pride event known as Diversit . In addition, the FGG objected to the Montreal committee’s plans to link the Game Games to various circuit parties that have been associated with Diversit .
"This just came out of the blue after we put together a detailed and what we thought was a highly successful business plan," said Mark Tewksbury, an Olympic athlete and one of the Canadians organizing the Montreal Games. Tewksbury and other leaders of Montreal 2006 called the FGG rule changes unfair. They point out that nearly all of Montreal’s plans for the 2006 Gay Games – the projected 24,000 participants, the link to the Diversit Gay Pride festivities, and the international gay conference – were submitted to the FGG as part of Montreal’s bid for the games. No one raised objections to any of these proposals at that time, Tewksbury said. Brigham, the communications director for FGG, said the organization’s international governing body, which includes representatives from nations in Europe and North America, approved the rules changes after assessing the financial problems encountered by Gay Games committees in New York, Amsterdam and Sydney. "The income projections have always been overblown," he said. "We are concerned about hurting local gay businesses," he said, noting that gay-owned businesses that have provided services to help put on the games often have been stiffed when the committees run out of money.
Brigham said FGG officials also decided – based on what he said was consultation with gay sporting teams in North America and abroad – that the Gay Games should stick to its original role as a sports event, with some performing arts and cultural activities like gay chorus and band performances. Linking the games with other events such as circuit parties, political conferences, and Pride events – as proposed by Montreal – would not be consistent with the Gay Games and its "mission" to promote the gay sports movement, Brigham said. According to Brigham, the FGG would have approved a larger budget to accommodate more than 12,000 participants later in the process, if Montreal succeeded in signing on more participants.
Negotiations break down
Nearly two years of negotiations followed. Each side has disputed claims by the other over the reasons the negotiations ultimately broke down. In November 2003, Montreal 2006 stunned the gay sports establishment by saying it would hold its own international gay sports competition in Montreal on the dates initially designated for the Gay Games: July 29ûAug. 5, 2006. The group announced later that it had formed a new entity the Gay & Lesbian International Sports Association – and would take bids for Out Games II in 2010.
In March 2004, the FGG named Chicago as the host city for the "official" 2006 Gay Games. A newly formed Chicago organizing committee, Chicago Games, Inc., has since formed and hired gay corporate executive and past Gay Games athlete Brian McGuinness as CEO of the new organization. McGuinness is a Chicago native who learned to speak French while serving for three years as finance director for an international media company based in Paris, the Chicago Games Web site says. With Montreal working hard to attract European participation, Chicago Games has been touting McGuinness’s international background and finance skills in what is shaping up as a heated public relations campaign between the two cities. The Chicago mayor and the Illinois governor has each endorsed the Gay Games, and Chicago’s business establishment and Chamber of Commerce are pulling out all the stops to promote the event, said Kevin Beyer, chair of the Chicago Games Marketing Committee.
Decathlete Tom Waddell, shown here preparing for the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, helped organize the first Gay Games in 1982. Waddell died in 1987. Last year, Montreal 2006 hired Rachel Corbet as executive director of Montreal 2006. Corbet has extensive experience working with international sports events in Canada and Europe. Like McGuinness, she has a growing staff of full-time employees and comfortable office space in a prestigious downtown office building to help her promote the Out Games events.
Corbet said she is hopeful that both events will be successful but predicted the Out Games would surpass the Gay Games in future years to become the main international gay sporting competition. She dismissed calls by some Gay Games supporters that Out Games should become a North American gay sports competition similar to the yearly Euro Games, which are held each year except during the year of the Gay Games. She predicts the opposite might happen – that the Gay Games will shrink in participation and be forced to limit its role to North American teams.
"It is hard for a lot of GLBT people to come to the U.S.," she said, pointing to U.S. immigration policies that ban people with HIV from entering the country unless they get a special waiver. She also points to hostility toward the U.S. war in Iraq and to President Bush in general by many Europeans. With Canada’s decision this year to legalize same-sex marriage and with Montreal’s reputation for being North America’s most gay-friendly city, Corbet said, Montreal is likely to attract far more participants from countries outside of North America.
Boyer and Brigham strongly dispute this assessment. The two note that the U.S. routinely waives its immigration restrictions for people with HIV for special events like the Gay Games. They point to Chicago’s reputation as a gay-friendly city, with a large gay community and pro-gay laws.
Live broadcasts planned
Boyer said another draw for Chicago is the decision by the newly formed gay cable television network, QTV, to provide live television coverage of the Gay Games for six-to-eight hours a day for the entire eight-day event. QTV is waiving its fee for the game by unscrambling its channel to allow any cable TV subscriber to watch the games if their local cable company carries the QTV network, Boyer said.
"Yes, there is competition between these events," Boyer said. He said the gay sports movement has grown dramatically in the U.S. and Europe since the last time a U.S. city has hosted the Gay Games in 1994. With thousands more participating in gay sports competitions in their home cities and countries, there could be ample participation to push the attendance in both Chicago and Montreal to more than 12,000
July 15, 2006
Thousands gather in Chicago for Gay Games
by Carla K. Johnson
Chicago – Twin sisters Dee and Nono Grant, one gay and one straight, will play soccer together at the seventh Gay Games this week on a team called Bent Like Beckham.
“I got roped into this,” teased Nono Grant, the straight sister, who like Dee is an attorney in Dallas. Others on the women’s soccer team hail from France and England, and the Grant twins are natives of Ireland. “We haven’t decided who we’re going to march with yet,” said Dee Grant just hours ahead of Saturday night’s opening procession of 12,000 athletes, a ritual modeled on Olympic ceremonies. “It’s either going to be Team Ireland, Team France, Team U.K. or Team Dallas.”
Organizers predicted 60,000 spectators would attend the opening ceremonies at Soldier Field, hear a scheduled welcoming address from Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley and witness a spectacle that would include more than 400 dancers, a 500-member choir and fireworks.
James Hormel, a gay San Francisco philanthropist who served as U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg in the Clinton administration, was scheduled to give the keynote address. Other scheduled speakers and performers included co-medians Margaret Cho and Kate Clinton, singer Holly Near, actor George Takei, actress Megan Mullally, Olympic diving gold medalist Greg Louganis and disc jockey Frankie Knuckles. A heat wave blasted the Midwest on Saturday and was predicted to continue for several days. But the heat didn’t worry Frank Lee of Manoa, Hawaii, who plans to drink plenty of water and eat bananas to stay hydrated for his first tennis match Monday.??Lee and several friends made their Saturday afternoon plans in front of the Hilton on Michigan Avenue, the host hotel and the site of athlete registration and a trade show.
“We’re going to go eat lunch now because we’ve done all our shopping, then we’ll be getting ready for the opening ceremony and getting our uniforms together,” Lee said. The athletes and spectators are expected to pump more than $50 million into the local economy. The games, held every four years, started in 1982 in San Francisco and are open to participants, gay and straight alike, regardless of physical ability. A competing event called the Outgames will begin July 29 in Montreal. The new event resulted from a dispute between the Federation of Gay Games and organizers in Montreal, where the Gay Games originally were slated to be held.
Some groups have objected to the Gay Games and the corporate sponsors supporting them. The Illinois Family In-stitute set up shop at another Michigan Avenue hotel and announced a schedule of speakers for every day of the games “as an alternative to the Gay Games’ message of celebrating homosexuality,” according to a statement from the group.
Dee Grant, the Dallas soccer player, said she had not seen evidence of anyone in Chicago objecting to the games and felt welcome in the city. “It feels like how the world should be, where gay people could be everywhere, holding hands and not ashamed. It’s amazing,” she said.
On the Net:Gay Games VII: http://www.gaygameschicago.org
July 15, 2006
Swifter, higher: Gay Games are not a drag
by Ros Krasny
Chicago – For bowler Michael Cook, it’s strictly competitive. For cheerleader Eric Hoffman, it’s political. And for Chicago’s Mayor Richard M Daley, it’s a possible Olympics dress rehearsal.
Welcome to Gay Games VII, eight days starting on Saturday of sports and cultural events promising something for everyone — from world-class athletics, to band concerts and art installations, to the Pink Flamingos, an outrageously campy aquatic show. The city hopes millions of dollars will flow to hotels, restaurants and bars, and organisers claim the games could turn a profit for the first time since starting in 1982.
Meanwhile, anti-gay marriage demonstrators are revving up for protests, including preaching outside some of the games venues. About 12,000 athletes, from an Olympic volleyball player to recreational darts throwers, will compete in 30 different sports across the city and several suburbs. Some 70 per cent will be from the US but about 70 other nations are represented, including some where homosexual athletes “come out” at their peril. The US government eased immigration restrictions for noncitizens with HIV to attend.
The first World Outgames will unfold in Montreal between July 26-Aug 5, with an even larger participation. Going into Saturday’s Chicago gala opening ceremony, entry slots were filled for all sports and tickets to some of the hottest events, like body-building, were sold out. For Chicago, the Games could be a stepping stone toward the prize coveted by longtime mayor Daley, the 2016 Olympic Games. The Gay Games movement was started in 1982 by Tom Waddell, a US decathlete at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics. 1,350 athletes signed on for the first event in San Francisco.
July 16, 2006
Football In July Is Among Monday Gay Games Events: Games Monday Also Inlcude Softball And Other Sports
Chicago – The sweltering temperatures are not stopping Gay Games athletes from working up a real sweat Monday.
Action for Gay Games VII began Monday morning with softball in Washington Park. It is a hot day to be on the dusty diamond even in shorts. And while it may not be typical, July can be the perfect time to play football. The flag football competition was held in the open field of the Midway Plaisance, which runs through the University of Chicago campus.Also on the Gay Games schedule for Monday are badminton, bowling, darts, diving and golf.??On Sunday, Gay Games athletes also endured intense heat, participating in activities from swimming to biking to rowing in Crystal Lake.
Among the events held on Sunday was a triathlon, for which water stations were set up along the course to make sure athletes stayed hydrated, but many brought their own. “I took three bottles of water with me on the bike and one of them fell out over a bump,” Simpson said. “And I actually stopped, turned around, went back, picked it up because I know how important it is to keep hydrated.” Still, the heat took its toll on a handful of participants Sunday.
Gay Games medical staff responded to about 10 heat-related calls during the triathlon.
“One or two of them got IVs,” according to Dr. Wyatt Jaffe, Gay Games medical director. “No one went to the hospital, which was less than expected.” In addition to its medical staff, the Gay Games has contracted an ambulance service to provide between 20 and 30 ambulances for every day of the games.??The Gay Games are scheduled to continue until July 22.
Jon Duncanson will have more on the Gay Games on the CBS 2 News at 6PM.
July 16, 2006
Heat Wave Doesn’t Stop Gay Games: Day Two Features Triathlon, Ice Hockey, Diving
Mai Martinez Reports
Chicago – Despite the intense heat, the first day of the Gay Games got underway Sunday. From swimming to biking to rowing on Crystal Lake, athletes were geared up to compete. Organizers of Gay Games VII, an Olympic-style sporting event that has drawn about 12,000 gay and lesbian athletes to Chicago, said outdoor events went ahead as planned, with hydration stations, tents and medical teams ready if athletes, spectators or volunteers needed them.
"The medical and safety plan all along had incorporated into its structure assumptions on how we would handle a significant heat alert," said Kevin Boyer, co-vice chair of the Gay Games Chicago board. "The city of Chicago is very well prepared and our plans are fully integrated with theirs."??As CBS 2’s Mai Martinez reports, the name of the game was fun and safety.
The Gay Games kicked off Sunday with the triathlon and the open water swim in Monroe Harbor. Even though the athletes were in the water, event staff paid close attention to the rising temperature. And so were the athletes.??“I’m so glad we started at 6 a.m. because it’s so hot,” said tri-athlete Scott Simpson.??Fellow tri-athlete Tom Skora concurred.
“It was hot out there, especially the run,” Skora said. “The bike was nice going down Lake Shore Drive. Pretty view, nice breeze, but when we hit the run, [the] air went dead.” Water stations were set up along the course to make sure athletes stayed hydrated, but many brought their own. “I took three bottles of water with me on the bike and one of them fell out over a bump,” Simpson said. “And I actually stopped, turned around, went back, picked it up because I know how important it is to keep hydrated.”
Athlete Julie Silverstein had a similar philosophy. "Honestly if you were not in good shape going into today, if you’re not used to running in the humidity and heat, I gotta believe it was pretty hard to be out here," she said. And it was. The heat took its toll on a handful of participants.
Gay Games medical staff responded to about 10 heat-related calls during the triathlon.??“One or two of them got IVs,” according to Dr. Wyatt Jaffe, Gay Games medical director. “No one went to the hospital, which was less than expected.” In addition to its medical staff, the Gay Games has contracted an ambulance service to provide between 20 and 30 ambulances for every day of the games. Some of the other games going on Sunday are cycling, darts, golf, physique, rowing and softball.
The Gay Games are scheduled to continue until July 22.
July 18, 2006
Gay Games Rowing Goes Smoothly In Crystal Lake
Event Drew Controversy When First Proposed
(Northwest Herald) Crystal Lake, Ill. – Sunday was a typical day at Main Beach – children squealed, water splashed, lifeguards whistled.
And the Gay Games had an international rowing competition. Groups gathered south of the beach and cheered as races finished, and people on the sand barely noticed. "We had no idea it was even going on," said Donna Deangeles, 45, of Naperville, who was at the beach with Ken Kott, 43, of Oak Lawn.
The athletes rowed through smooth waters Sunday, despite a rough approval process in March and April. The rowing event, sponsored by Gay Games Chicago and the Crystal Lake Rowing Club, prompted heated debate about homosexuality during its review by elected officials in Lakewood, Crystal Lake and the Crystal Lake Park District.
The competition was one of about 30 Chicago-area Gay Games events that continue through Saturday. Out in force, police officers were hard to miss as they stood along the Main Beach fence, near the beach’s entrance, and throughout the event. Four agencies had up to 50 officers available for the event. Some people encountered demonstrators holding Bibles or distributing fliers as they came to the event.
Brady DeSimone, 32, of Crystal Lake spoke to the demonstrators. "I had to say something," she said. "I said, ‘God loves us all.’" DeSimone, who said her brother is gay, sat in the shade with two of her children, 3-year-old Tre and 5-year-old Mia. She said she wanted to support the Gay Games.A demonstrator tried to give a flier to Robin Sampliner, 43, of Deerfield as she walked in. "I just said, ‘No thank you,’" she said.
Sampliner sat near a tent adorned with rainbow flags for members of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays. She said she attended the Opening Ceremonies and plans to go to several other Gay Games events this week. Sue Khalaieff, 54, of Downers Grove sat in a beach chair in the shade with her boyfriend, Ed Kennedy, 60, of Crystal Lake. Khalaieff said she wanted to enjoy the weather and the sport. "What else do you do when it’s 95 degrees outside?" she said.
Spectators set up in shaded areas, enjoying picnics, drinking from water bottles and cheering when the first athletes crossed the finish line about 35 minutes after the scheduled 2 p.m. start. Matt Kerns, 33, of Chicago was one of 12 people on the Qrew team, a Lincoln Park Boat Club rowing team started in January so they could participate in the Gay Games. "It’s fun to think you’re competing against teams from all over the world," he said.
Chad Gifford, 30, and Bryan Heers, 26, competed on a team from San Diego. The California residents had heard of the controversy surrounding the rowing event’s approval, but they did not see opposition at the competition. "The people in here [at Main Beach] have been awesome," Heers said. "The educated people have been really fantastic," Gifford added.
By Karen Long / Northwest Herald (CBS 2 and the Northwest Herald are news partners covering stories in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. If you know of stories happening in this region, contact us.
July 19, 2006
House rejects move to ban gay marriage
Washington – The House rejected a proposed constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage on Tuesday, a setback that conservatives hope to turn to their advantage in the fall elections. "Be assured that this issue is not over," said House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) The vote was 236-187 with one member voting "present," a slight improvement over the last House vote just before the 2004 election but still 46 short of the two-thirds majority needed to advance a constitutional amendment.
Supporters argued that Congress must trump the actions of judges around the country who have ruled in favor of gay marriages. Opponents, including 27 Republicans, argued that the measure was meaningless–the Senate rejected the amendment last month, effectively killing it for this session of Congress–as well as unneeded and mean-spirited.
July 21, 2006
Montreal events split crowd
by Mark J. Konkol, Rummana Hussain and Kendrick Marshall Staff Reporters
As the Gay Games winds down in Chicago, organizers of a rival gay sports extravaganza — the World Out Games — are gearing up for the inaugural event in Montreal on July 29. Out Games was born after the Gay Games Federation yanked its sanctioning from Montreal — its first choice as host city — and later decided on Chicago. That forced many athletes to choose between the two competitions, and created an unwanted rift in the gay community, many Gay Games participants said.
"I wish [Out Games] well, but I’d rather see us all working together, putting all our resources in one event," said a 45-year-old female bodybuilder from Ferndale, Mich., who goes only by the name Forrest. While Gay Games spokesman Kevin Boyer said the creation of Out Games hasn’t put a damper on the success of Chicago’s Gay Games, some competitors said this week it’s clear that the field of competition has been diluted. "Based on principle I will not go up there. I appreciate the spirit of games and the unity, so the fact that it’s been diluted doesn’t sit well with me," said Ray Belmonte, a figure skater from Chicago.
"[Gay Games] totally would be bigger if not for Out Games. I know a lot of Europeans decided to go to Montreal. But if Montreal wasn’t an option they’d probably be here."
Many Gay Games athletes — who are mostly American — elected to compete in Chicago rather than Montreal because it was cheaper, convenient and has a bigger legacy. "I pretty much decided I was going to come here," bodybuilder Sidney Aquino of Washington, D.C. said. "It’s more established. "In a way, I kind of don’t think there’s any need to have another competition. It takes away a lot of the solidarity of the gay athletes."
Figure skater Burton Powley of Des Moines, Iowa, competed here and plans to drive his motor home to Montreal for Out Games. He said many of his competitors are using the Chicago contest as a warmup for Out Games, where the figure skating competition will be held in the Olympic ice arena.
But for sentimental reasons, Gay Games is always his first choice.
"This is the official games and has that long history of being here since the 1980s," he said. Many competitors were forced to choose between games either because they couldn’t afford both trips or get the time off work. "I think most people would have decided to attend the Out Games if it was not scheduled a few days after the Games in Chicago," swimmer Jack Mackenroth said. "All the athletes are not able to afford traveling expenses to another place. It’s not realistic.
July 21, 2006
Gay Games Fulfill Athletic, Personal Goals: Closing Ceremonies Set For Saturday
by Jon Duncanson Reports
Chicago – Friday is the final full day of competition for the Gay Games, and both the athletes and the City of Chicago are calling the games a big success.
CBS 2’s Jon Duncanson looks at some of the people and achievements that made it an event worthy of a gold medal. As the gun sounded on the final hours, competitors took their final jumps. But what has been won here is more than medals and the individual victories. For Megan Maurer of Chicago, it was overcoming a fever of 102 to win five gold medals and two silvers in power lifting, discus, shot put and javelin.
The Gay Games made her “just proud of everything in general, everyone here,” she said. “There was a lot of great athletes. It was just a great experience,” she said. For dancer and gold medalist Richard Lamberty, whose service dog assists him in coping with the arthritis that classified him as 100 percent disabled, “it’s been a struggle.” “Everyday I can be on the dance floor is absolutely a victory for me,” he said.
As set up for Saturday’s final ceremonies gets underway at Wrigley Field, what the Gay Games have accomplished goes deeper than just sport. Esera Tuaolo was an NFL defensive tackle for nine years and has the championship ring to prove it. “People don’t ask or they don’t question African Americas when they have the BET awards. Well, that’s the same for us. We’re showing our pride in who we are,” Tuaolo said.
Pride, inclusion, acceptance are all so important.
Chicagoan Joe Eldridge, who won a marshal arts gold medal for his age group. “I’ve never been in a competition that has been this friendly. Win or lose, we kiss afterwards,” Eldridge said.
Saturday’s closing ceremonies at Wrigley Field are set to begin at 3 p.m. The featured entertainer is Cyndi Lauper.
July 22, 2006
Episcopal bishop in Arkansas OKs gay blessings
Little Rock, Ark. – Episcopal churches in Arkansas can offer blessing ceremonies for gay couples, the state’s bishop said in a letter to clergy. "It is my belief that seeking ways of recognizing and blessing faithful, monogamous same-sex relationships falls within the parameters of providing pastoral concern and care for our gay and lesbian members," wrote the Right Rev. Larry Maze, bishop of the 14,000-member Episcopal Diocese of Arkansas.
Maze noted in his letter sent to clergy Wednesday that no other national or state Episcopal leaders have produced or approved official rites for the blessings of same-sex unions. He said the ceremonies will be local observances in each church, not approved formal rites. Arkansas has banned gay marriage, so same-sex couples will have no legal standing in the state.
Two churche, St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in Little Rock and St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Fayetteville, plan to offer the ceremonies. Maze, who was among the bishops who approved the election of an openly gay bishop V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, is set to retire later this year. At its 2003 national convention, church representatives passed a resolution in favor of allowing churches to explore the option of offering blessing ceremonies for gay couples. But at its convention in Ohio this year, leaders passed a resolution telling dioceses not to elect another gay bishop. The most recent convention did not address blessing gay couples.
Most Anglican archbishops believe gay relationships violate Scripture, and many broke ties with the U.S. church over Robinson’s election. Several Episcopal dioceses that consider gay relationships sinful are distancing themselves from the U.S. church over the election as presiding bishop of Nevada Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, who will be installed Nov. 4, because she supports ordaining partnered gays and blessing same-sex couples.
At St. Michael’s in Little Rock, the Rev. Ed Wills said a same-sex couple is planning a blessing ceremony that is tentatively set for September. "God is about community, about belonging, about a relationship," Wills said. Couples are blessed in the church "not just so that they can be special but that they can be a blessing to other people."
The Rev. Lowell Grisham of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Fayetteville, said no one has requested a blessing yet, but that he expects a ceremony before the Episcopal general convention in 2009. "My gay friends are very sensitive about the notion that we’ve been blessing animals for years and find it so difficult to bless their relationships," Grisham said.
July 23, 2006
Over and out: Gay Games end
by Rummana Hussain Staff Reporter
Thousands jumped to their feet as ’80s pop princess Cyndi Lauper, dressed as a gay-friendly statue of liberty, closed Chicago’s Gay Games VII at Wrigley Field on Saturday. The celebration officially ended the seven-day extravaganza that was, at times, marred by low attendance and bad weather but raised the city’s visibility in the international community as a tolerant locale.
"Stand tall," Lauper screamed to the estimated 20,000 to 25,000 in the crowd after serenading them with her 1986 hit "True Colors."
Many in the audience took Lauper’s advice to heart, wildly waving rainbow-colored flags and cheering as many singers, comedians and dancers took to the stage during the nearly three-hour closing ceremony. ‘Good job’
On Saturday, the focus was on the glory, not the glitches.
Brett Presley’s hammer event was eventually canceled because he had to compete at a North Side school that had few facilities. Sydney had an advantage because it just had the Olympics and had state-of-the-art facilities, but Chicago did a "good job" considering it had very little time to prepare after Montreal was scrapped as the site of the 2006 games, he said. The Indianapolis-based physician walked away with five silver and five gold track and field medals. ‘No one got hurt’
"There were a few little hiccups, but no one got hurt," Irish native Frances Buckley, 44, said. "I’d come back to Chicago on holiday."
Mayor Daley passed on the Gay Games flag to Elfi Scho-Antwerpes, deputy mayor of Cologne, Germany, where the next Gay Games will be held in 2010. Daley said the games’ success might mean Chicago will host larger events. "It worked out very, very well. It shows you we can put the Olympic Games right here in Chicago," Daley said.
Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) said the games met all his expectations. "Growing up on the Southwest Side, where it was strange to be gay, to having Chicago open its arms and embracing this community in one generation is phenomenal," Tunney said. "I think as a whole, athleticism being associated with lesbians and gays is great." Attendance figures will not be available until later this week, but Gay Games spokesman Kevin Boyer was predicting the games would make money. That would be a first in Gay Games history, Tunney said.
Tens of millions for area
Boyer estimated the city and surrounding suburbs pulled in $50 million to $80 million through the Gay Games. The Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau made a more modest economic impact estimate of $33.4 million based on the lodging, meals and transportation costs of the 11,500 registered athletes. Silence for dead, tortured
The sole somber moment came when a gay rights activist asked the crowd to observe a moment of silence for many gays who are killed or tortured because of their sexual orientation. Moments later, the crowd got rowdy again and screamed when two men in western gear passionately kissed to the musical theme of "Brokeback Mountain" before the DC Cowboys dancers kicked up their heels. And they laughed when comedian Ant joked, "I know a gay athlete will never make the cover of a Wheaties box, but I think we have a good shot at Froot Loops."
But Lauper, who hit the pop scene with her raucous "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" two decades ago, got the men and women moving. Lauper took the stage with a rainbow-colored gown and gold crown. She held a shiny torch as she sang "True Colors" while standing next to her violinist, dressed as Abraham Lincoln. Skokie native and "L Word" star Marlee Matlin joined her co-stars, including Pam Grier, to show her support, and Styx bassist Chuck Panozzo and musician Dylan Rice debuted their song "The Faces of Victory."
Outside, vendors sold rainbow boas and beads next to Cubs merchandise, including T-shirts that read "Wrigley Field: Home of the World’s Largest Gay Bar." Most ignored the handful of protesters who quoted biblical passages on corners outside the stadium. Chicagoans Veronica McFadden, 22, and 24-year-old Marikka Pretz-Anderson held pro-gay signs on Clark and Addison a few feet from a man who repeatedly asked passersby to "repent." Both women, who didn’t buy tickets for the closing, wore shirts with the slogan, "a little straighter but not a hater." "We knew there would be people like that here, so we decided to come out to make sure we could spread a positive message," Pretz-Anderson said.
Regardless of how successful the games were, Chicago did gain a reputation for being progressive, many said. "This was one of the only places where if you want to put your arm around your partner or give her a kiss, you can do it without having to worry about what other people will think," Crete resident Jean Tolchinsky said. "I think Chicago showed its best side."
Contributing: Monifa Thomas email@example.com
Cyndi Lauper Closes Most Profitable Gay Games Ever
by Troy Espera
An estimated 20,000 to 25,000 participants and spectators boogied down Saturday night to the songs of pop icon Cyndi Lauper at the closing ceremonies of Gay Games VII at Chicago’s Wrigley Field. Lauper, dressed as a rainbow version of the Statue of Liberty, headlined the colorful celebration, marking the end of a weeklong Olympics-style sporting event.
"I feel like this is becoming sort of a tradition for me since I performed last time the Gay Games were in the States, in New York City in 1994," Lauper said in a statement on the Gay Games Web site. Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, who has been vocal about his desire for his city to host the 2016 Olympic Games, escorted the Gay Games flag during its ceremonial transfer to an official from Cologne, Germany, the host city of the 2010 games.
"As mayor, I want you to know how much we enjoyed having you here this past week," Daley said to the crowd. "I’m sure you found Chicago is a very welcoming place for members of the gay and lesbian community." The 7th Gay Games were originally planned for Montreal, Canada, but after a disagreement between local organizers and the Federation of Gay Games, the event was handed to Chicago. Montreal organizers decided to stage their own games, and the inaugural Out Games opens in Montreal on July 29.
Many doubted whether the Chicago Games would be a financial success, but organizers now report the event to be the most profitable in the history of the Gay Games. The Chicago Sun-Times reports that attendance figures will not be available until later this week, but Gay Games spokesman Kevin Boyer told the Chicago newspaper that he predicted the games would make money. Boyer estimated the city and surrounding suburbs pulled in $50 million to $80 million through the Gay Games.
The Chicago Tribune reports that the Chicago Convention and Tourism Bureau made a more modest economic impact estimate of $33.4 million based on the lodging, meals and transportation costs of the 11,500 registered athletes. Regardless of how successful the games were, many attendees said that Chicago earned a reputation for being a progressive city. "This was one of the only places where if you want to put your arm around your partner or give her a kiss, you can do it without having to worry about what other people will think," Crete resident Jean Tolchinsky told The Sun-Times. "I think Chicago showed its best side.".
July 22, 2006
2006 Gay Games Close To Controversy & Celebrity
Cyndi Sings It Out While Protesters Shout It Out At Closing Ceremonies
Chicago – Mayor Daley helped Chicago say goodbye to Gay Games VII on Saturday during a colorful closing ceremony at Wrigley Field. Daley, who has been vocal about his desire for Chicago to host the 2016 Olympic Games, escorted the Gay Games flag during its ceremonial transfer to an official from Cologne, Germany, the host city of the 2010 games.
"As mayor, I want you to know how much we enjoyed having you here this past week," said Daley, who also spoke at the Gay Games’ opening ceremony a week earlier at Soldier Field. "I’m sure you found Chicago is a very welcoming place for members of the gay and lesbian community."
Singer Cyndi Lauper, dressed in a rainbow-colored statue of liberty outfit, headlined performers at the ceremony. It took place on a breezy day with temperatures in the high 70s — a welcome respite from a broiling heat wave that greeted an estimated 12,000 athletes at the start of the games and a midweek thunderstorm that disrupted some events. "I feel like this is becoming sort of a tradition for me since I performed last time the Gay Games were in the States, in New York City in 1994," Lauper said in a statement on the Gay Games Web site.
Performers also included Chicago’s Righteously Outrageous Twirling Corps, also known as ROTC, who twirled white ceremonial rifles to the disco hit, "Don’t Leave Me This Way." The crowd also tossed around hundreds of rainbow-colored beach balls handed out for a promotion by the Illinois Lottery. The six women and 12 men of a Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.-based softball team called the Amazing Greens said they had a great time, despite rain delays, soggy field conditions and only one win in seven games. "We’re really a group of friends more than a softball team," said the team’s token straight man, Michael Bernbaum. "We came to play like little kids, we didn’t come to win."
Daley’s visibility won praise from Dale Patton of Chicago, who said he thought the mayor was sincere about welcoming the world to his city. "I think it’s really coming from his heart," Patton said.
The games, held every four years, started in 1982 in San Francisco with events open to gay and straight participants, regardless of physical ability. A competing event called the Outgames will begin July 29 in Montreal. The Outgames resulted from a dispute between the Federation of Gay Games and organizers in Montreal, where the Gay Games originally were slated to be held.
Events included traditional sports like tennis, soccer, track and power lifting. Same-sex pairs figure skating and ballroom dancing drew crowds of cheering spectators. Officials predicted the games would pump more than $50 million into the local economy. But some groups have objected to the games and the corporate sponsors supporting them. A Philadelphia Christian organization called "Repent America" filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court Tuesday claiming Chicago Police prevented the group from handing out fliers during events.
Hanns Ebensten, Traveler and Activist, has died
Hanns Ebensten forged a path for the gay rights movement that didn’t consist of protests or parades in the street, but rather raised the visibility of gay men around the world through travel.
David Alport of Upright and Stowed describes Ebensten’s as "fearless in his willingness to go where no group of gay people had gone before, and to do it standing proud and (very) tall."
This shot comes from Alport’s trip up the Peruvian Amazon with Ebensten in 1996, but his travels with gay men began long before that: "In 1972, Hanns led his first group of gay men on an organized river rafting trip down the Grand Canyon. Hanns was a true revolutionary … and he was also a scholar, penning eight books on his adventures."
After traveling for years in the closet with his late partner Brian Kenney (the pair were together for 41 years), Ebensen made reality out of a wish he related in a keynote address to the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association World Conference in 2004: "We thought, ‘Wouldn’t it be wonderful to do this with a group of congenial men, who instead of getting dressed up in cowboy hats and jeans and boots to go to the bars, would wear that right here in the real Wild West?’"
Hanns Ebensten lived in Key West, where he owned a travel company, Hanns Ebensten Travel. Said colleague Phil Sheldon: "Hanns was the first to say that gay men want to travel together and do so joyfully." Ebensten died after a bout of pneumonia. He was 82
From Richard Ammon
I am deeply sadened by Hanns’ passing. We met years ago in Key West when he didn’t have e-mail or a web site but still arranged elegant tours of very foreign places. In my own work as a travel writer he remains a very real presence with his dignity, wit and humor. He and his partner Brian were interviewed on video by researchers Mattison and McWhirter for their pioneering work in the 80s about long term couples. The interviews are a delight and inspiration. Thus passes another light on our way to equality–the runner is silenced but the torch remains.