By Shaley Howard, PQ Monthly
There’s that small sporting event going on over in Russia this winter called the Olympics, there’s the Open Games following the Olympics and then, there’s the Gay Games happening in Cleveland and Akron, Ohio this summer! Yes the Gay Games–where you’ll find some of the hottest most talented athletes in the entire LGBTQ rainbow competing in sports like swimming, diving, basketball, track, rock climbing, soccer–even aquatics pink flamingo, which is a sort of synchronized aquatic hilarious drag show. It also happens to be where this PQ sports columnist will be heading because–it’s the Gay Games.
For those not familiar with the Gay Games, they were started back in 1982 by Dr. Tom Waddell and were originally called the Gay Olympics. The games are an international sporting and cultural event for LGBTQ athletes and are held every four years much like the Olympics with the goal of promoting inclusion and participation.
The mission of the Federation of Gay Games (FGG) which is the sanctioning body of the Gay Games is “to promote equality through the organization of the premiere international LGBT and gay-friendly sports and cultural event known as the Gay Games. The fundamental principle of the FGG is that all activities conducted under its auspices shall be inclusive in nature and that no individual shall be excluded from participating on the basis of sexual orientation, gender, race, religion, nationality, ethnic origin, political belief(s), athletic/artistic ability, physical challenge, age, or health status.”
This week-long event in Cleveland and Akron, Ohio will be from August 9-16, 2014 and they’re expecting more than 10,000 participants from more than 65 countries for this year’s games. With over 35 sports and culture events to choose from there’s something for everyone!
You may be sitting there thinking this is all incredibly interesting but I’m no superstar athlete and/or I could never afford to participate. Well hold onto your feather boas babes, because anyone that’s over 18 years of age can participate. That’s right–the games are open to everybody–everybody regardless of sexual orientation, gender, transgender status, religion, nationality, political convictions, age, physical condition or athletic ability. You don’t even have to be gay to come out and play.
They’re also offering scholarships to people who would like to participate in the 2014 Gay Games but may not have the means to attend that will help cover expenses such as housing, registration fees and transportation. You only have to be 18 or older and reside in the United States. (Go apply right here!)
So if you want a chance to meet other LGBTQ athletes, have a ton of fun and compete but need a little help go to. The deadline is February 15, 2014 so don’t delay if you want to be in a relay. Check it out now and I’ll see you and the other queers in Ohio next year.
Shaley Howard is a sports writer for PQ Monthly as well as an athlete, sports enthusiast, and organizer of the annual Portland Women’s 3×3 Basketball Tournament. She is also is the owner and operator of Scratch N’ Sniff Pet Care, which she considers the best job in the world.