the rainbow connection


In a sport that’s lost millions of players in the US over the past three decades,  we all have a responsibility to welcome everyone who wants to play.  In that spirit, here’s a note about this summer’s Gay Games from Greg Wallace and the folks at the Gay and Lesbian Organization for Racing and Yachting.

Over 10,000 athletes from around the world get together to compete in 35 sports during the Gay Games every four years, and sailing has been a part of the past three editions – Sydney, Chicago, and Cologne. This year, the action hits Edgewater Yacht Club on the shores of Lake Erie in downtown Cleveland.  There will be two classes: Spinnaker (competitive division) racing in Lightnings and non-Spinnaker (recreational division) racing in Tartan Tens.  As of now, there are spaces open for 10 more Spinnaker teams and 5 more non-Spin teams. General registrations are due May 31 before incurring late fees and late registration closes on July 15th; you can sign up here.  Here are a few questions I’ve been answering to help you decide if the Gay Games are for you:

Do I have to be gay to participate in the Gay Games? No. You can be a lesbian, straight, bear, or fairy. Anyone 18 years of age or older can participate.

Where’s the NOR? You can find it here.

Four person crew on a Lightning? Seriously? Yes, it can be done. We’ll show you how and we bet you have a blast.

I don’t have a full crew, can I still compete? Yes. Once you are registered and paid, you have a berth in the competition. Use the forum at www.glorysailing.org to find a captain and/or crew.

How much does it cost to register? General registration is $195. Sailing competition fee is $300 which includes boat charter.

I work for Red Bull and I want to paint the boats in my blue and red logo colors. Who do I call? Well, it is too late for that, but you can still be a sponsor.

Why were the Gay Games created?  The Gay Games was started in 1982 at a time when people thought you could get HIV/AIDS from a door handle. The stereotype that gay men were effeminate hairdressers and lesbians were butch women in plaid shirts also meant that neither were good at sports. If you were good in sports, would they still play with you if they found out? In spite of all the progress and media coverage, there is still the odd child in a small town who still doesn’t know he is OK. Being a homosexual is still a big deal in some circles. Even today, a crewman has been kicked off the boat when the owner found out. These Gay Games are where people can be themselves without fear, and demonstrate to that young kid that being gay has no impact on what you can achieve. Many of the sailors race regularly so buckle up your PFD and get ready for some real competition! Join us on what will be a fun and memorable adventure with 100+ of your new friends.