gay sports

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Sporting encounters or events organized by and for gay people. Gay sports have been considered as an antidote to the hedonism of the gay club scene, but have also been seen as a way of countering the implicit and explicit heterosexual biases of mainstream sporting culture. Gay sports have also been seen as a source of sexual adventure or relationship: ‘On lesbian and gay teams nationwide, every team-mate is a potential lover’, observed Roxxie, in Sports Dykes: Stories from On and Off the Field (ed. Susan Fox Rogers, 1994). On the international level, the Gay Games provide what the executive director for the fourth such event in New York in 1994 called ‘a tremendous opportunity for the international and lesbian community, and our friends, to eradicate prejudice, achieve our personal best and create a living legacy for millions of lesbian and gay youth in the years to come’ (quoted in Jennifer Hargreaves, Sporting Females: Critical Issues in the History and Sociology of Women's Sports, 1994). The Federation of Gay Games emerged in 1989, out of the San Francisco Arts & Athletics initiative of the early 1980s, and after the first two events in San Francisco, the Games expanded across North America and internationally (Vancouver 1990, New York 1994, Amsterdam 1998, Sydney 2002, Chicago 2006, Cologne 2010). The founding principles of the Federation are ‘Participation, Inclusion, and Personal Best’, and in an interesting way the Games comment on, if hardly subvert, the performance principles of mainstream top-level competitive sport.

Subjects: Sport and Leisure.

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