Over the past quarter of a century, the Gay Games have emerged as a powerful vehicle for change, engendering a global LGBT sports movement and the creation of numerous regional and international sports organizations. Now some, dismissing the human rights value of LGBT sports activity, have called for the Gay Games to 'de-emphasize' its sports component and focus major attention on human rights conferences.
The discussion and issues are well documented online at lgbtsportsfuture.wordpress.com. Among the objections to having a major conference component, which would be subsidized by the athletic community, are onerous costs which reduce athlete registration and thereby diminish the geographic diversity of the event, strain of resources, duplication of efforts, and reduced return on investment by supportive LGBT sports organizations.
There are many homophobic barriers that continue to exist in sports; we still have a long way to conclusively destroy the stereotypes that hold us back and provide sports empowerment to those who need it most. We believe the Federation of Gay Games needs to hear the voices of our athletes and leaders to keep them focused on the Games that Changed the World.
We believe that the sports opportunities and experiences provided by the Gay Games effectively advance the cause of LGBT human rights, empower individuals, change cultural perceptions, unite us multinationally, destroy stereotypes and erode the barriers of homophobia. We believe the opportunities provided by the Games as they have existed in the past are unique and life changing and that attempts to integrate an increased preponderance of conferences and parties into the Games would threaten the continuation of the Games, disrespectfully diminish the prestige and value of the sports and cultural components, strain finite available resources and in the long term be to the detriment of the LGBT sports and cultural communities.
We believe any conference component of the Gay Games should focus on sports and sports rights issues, be done in conjunction with the Games but outside the organization of the Games event, and exist as a tertiary activity.