If some local sports enthusiasts’ dreams come true, Washington will be the site of the 2014 Gay Games.
That’s the hope for some, following an Oct. 28 announcement from the Federation of Gay Games (FGG) annual meeting putting D.C. on the short list for 2014, along with Boston, Cleveland and Miami.
”It’s certainly one of the largest ongoing LGBT events in the world — and an international movement,” says Brent Minor, elected as the co-president of the FGG Board of Directors at the annual meeting, held this year in Cape Town, South Africa. Minor is president of Team DC, a volunteer-based organization that encourages members of the GLBT community to get involved with sports by supporting local teams and athletes. He says he’ll be stepping down from his Team DC presidency at the end of the year to fulfill his new commitment to the FGG.
Held every four years since 1982, the world’s largest sporting event for GLBT athletes is now gearing up for July 2010 in Cologne, Germany. In 2006, the Gay Games in Chicago attracted nearly 80,000 people, Minor says.
According to Minor, 14 cities expressed interest in hosting the 2014 games by filing letters of intent ahead of an Oct. 20 deadline. D.C.’s bid, which included a requisite $1,000 fee, came from the Metropolitan Washington Gaymes Inc., a nonprofit 501c3 set up specifically for the Gay Games bid.
Final bid documents, which, according to Minor, may include hundreds of pages detailing the advantages of a bidding host city, are due to the FGG by March 1, 2009.
The next step will be on-site visits by FGG inspectors between May and August 2009. A final decision will be announced during the 2009 FGG meeting, to be held in Cologne.
”Hosting the Gay Games is an honor for any city and the great thing about it is that it’s a true celebration of the LGBT community through sports and culture,” Minor says. ”I’ve been to five Gay Games and I’ve seen people’s lives fundamentally change. They come in and see tens of thousands of people actively participating in these games. They’re huge.”
Minor says a past intention to bid for the 2010 games, as well as an effort for the ’98 games by various local organizations, never made it as far as the official bid process, making the 2014 effort D.C.’s first official bid to host the games.
WonKee Moon, who swims with the DC Aquatics Club, was also at the Cape Town meeting.
”D.C. definitely has the facilities and the organizational ability to hold the Gay Games,” says Moon, adding that Washington could be ”a very welcoming place to have the Gay Games and let the world know that we’re here.”
Minor echoes those sentiments, adding that D.C. has a good chance of winning the bid.
”Washington, D.C., has a strong, committed, diverse organizing committee that is experienced in running international gay, sport tournaments. Our clubs have hosted every major gay, sport tournament that there is. I think that bodes well for our city.”