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Austin Bids for 2022 Gay Games



The Long Center celebrate marriage equality
The Long Center lit up with rainbow lights to celebrate the U.S. Supreme Court's Obergefell v. Hodges ruling that brought marriage equality to the nation.

Could the world’s largest sporting and cultural event for LGBT athletes, artists and musicians come to Central Texas? If officials in Austin get their way, it could become a reality. The capital of the Lone Star State is one of 9 cities bidding on the opportunity to host the Gay Games XI in 2022. Founded in 1982, the 2022 games, hosted by the Federation of Gay Games (FGG), are expected to bring over 15,000 participants from more than 70 nations to Central Texas, tentatively August 4-13, 2022, to take part in 35 sports, 8 cultural events and a human rights conference. By comparison, the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil had approximately 11,000 athletes competing in just 28 sports.

Austin’s journey down the road to host the Gay Games is one already several years in the making. Tina Cannon, who ran for Austin City Council 2014 and is now a Senior Policy Advisor for City of Austin District 10 Council Member Sheri Gallo, has been volunteering on her spare time to help bring the Gay Games to Central Texas. “She had reviewed the opp a few years back but didn’t really know where to turn for assistance in town. But the Gay Games staff definitely remembered her excitement and interest and they were very stoked that Austin was indeed interested in hosting,” explained Lance Aldridge, Executive Director of the Austin Sports Commission. “We made contact with her about a year ago and we’ve all run with it since!”

Austin will have to overcome some pretty stiff competition if it hopes to bring the Gay Games to the Live Music Capital of the World. The other cities that have submitted their Letters of Intent and respective fees to participate in the bidding process are: Dallas, TX; Denver, CO; Los Angeles, CA; Salt Lake City, UT; San Francisco, CA; Washington, DC; Guadalajara, Mexico; and Hong Kong. While this will be Austin’s first time to make a bid for the games, the same cannot be said for many of the other candidates. San Francisco hosted the first two Gay Games in 1982 and 1986. Dallas was a candidate city for the 2002 games, Los Angeles for the 2006 games and Washington, D.C. for the 2014 games.

There was unprecedented interest in hosting the 2022 games, with seventeen cities, the most in the Gay Games history, showing interest initially in April 2016. Anaheim, CA; Atlanta, GA; Des Moines, IA; Madison, WI; Minneapolis, MS and San Antonio, TX all chose not to submit their Letters of Intent by the first deadline to continue with the bidding process followed by Cape Town, South Africa and Tel Aviv, Israel who withdrew before the final deadline, stating their intentions to bid for Gay Games XII in 2026.

“Austin is a perfect location to host the 2022 Gay Games,” says Tina Cannon. “Our supportive community and inclusive environment is ideal to be a host city. We are an open, active, health conscious, welcoming city. In additional to having world class facilities and a town that is more than accustomed to large events and festivals, we are a beautiful green city with attractions for the athletes and visiting spectators to enjoy. From our green spaces, swimming holes, love music and cultural scene, Austin is the complete package.”

The Austin Sports Commission will present as a prospective bidding organization at the Federation of Gay Games’ Annual General Assembly for the first time October 21-25 in Sydney, Australia. Next, the prospective bidding organizations must have their final bid book to the Federation by November 30, 2016. “This is a competitive and lengthy process, and we are grateful for all of the organizations’ hard work,” says FGG’s Officer of Site Selection David Killian. “The impact that the Gay Games has in host cities is incredible in terms of culture, sport, economic impact, history and most importantly furthering all matters of LGBT+ equality.”

The FGG’s Site Selection Assembly will vote for the top three candidate cities on February 28, 2017 with site inspections of the three short-listed cities conducted April-May 2017. “The site selection process is one our most vital tasks, and we take great pride in our process,” says FGG co-president Joanie Evans. “Our gratitude to the interested host organizations for sharing our vision of promoting equality in sport and culture.” The vote for the host of Gay Games XI from the three finalist candidate cities will take place at the FGG Annual General Assembly meeting in Paris, France October 2017 with the official announcement of the Gay Games XI host city in January 2018.

If Austin does get through the lengthy bidding process and is ultimately selected as the host city, the potential payoff for Austin could be huge. The 2014 Gay Games in Cleveland and Akron, Ohio, which had about 11,000 athletes participating, had an economic impact of over $52 million on the local economy. The recent 2016 Gay Softball World Series held in Austin by the North American Gay Amateur Athletic Alliance (NAGAAA) this past August, with 3,000 athletes participating, had an estimated economic impact of $5 million.

The potential logos for the Gay Games XI Austin is hoping to host in 2022. Image credit: Austin Sports Commission

The Austin Sports Commission is asking for the public’s input on a logo for the Gay Games and giving residents an opportunity to sign up for their mailing list to keep you up-to-date on the bidding process. You can find this online at

Chase is the Founder and Creative Director of, Host and Executive Producer of OutCast Austin, an award-winning LGBT weekly radio program on KOOP 91.7 FM in Austin. In 2011, he was named the Critics Pick for 'Most Gaybiquitous' in the Austin Chronicle's Best of Austin. In 2012, CultureMap Austin named him one of Austin's Top LGBT bloggers and he received the AGLCC's Chamber Award for Social Media Diva.

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The NBA’s Expanding Relationship with the LGBTQ Community



Sports fans have probably noticed that the culture around professional sports has been rapidly changing lately to become one of diversity and inclusion. That’s by no means to suggest that things are perfect, but it’s clear that progress is being made.

The National Basketball Association (NBA) has represented a significant part of this progress, leading the way particularly in activism concerning the LGBTQ community. Here we will review a few of the league’s recent efforts to help those struggling to find acceptance and combat discrimination towards members of this community.

Reggie Bullock’s History of LGBTQ Activism

New York Knicks shooting guard Reggie Bullock has played for several teams around the league, but is perhaps best known for his involvement in the LGBTQ community. This is partially due to a Vice Sports documentary about him that was released when he was still playing with the Los Angeles Lakers. Bullock’s activism has been primarily motivated by the murder of his transgender sister back in 2014.

Since that horrible tragedy, he has made it his goal to personally understand the unique struggles faced particularly by trans women of color, as well as to educate others on the importance of this issue. In addition to the Vice documentary, Bullock has shared his experiences on countless other media platforms and has helped to make the sports world more supportive of the trans community (even if in many respects there’s still a very long way to go).

The 76ers’ Pride Community Conversation & Basketball Clinic

Every professional sports team has a particular cause or two at any given time that it advocates for with fundraisers, donations, and events. Accordingly, the Philadelphia 76ers have recently started supporting LGBTQ youth in their home town, through events like the Pride Community Conversation & Basketball Clinic that took place earlier this summer. The clinic was a part of the Sixers’ celebration of Pride Month, for which the team also participated in Philly’s annual pride parade. Following a panel discussion, the Sixers’ clinic was led by former pro Jason Collins and a few members of the coaching staff.

Judging by NBA odds, the 76ers are lined up to be one of the most competitive teams this upcoming season, which should make all of this activism and support matter that much more. While it’s nice to see any pro franchise take a stand and get involved, one full of star players and playing in big games naturally attracts all the more attention. Hopefully we’ll see LGBTQ youth in Philadelphia in particular enjoying an ongoing positive impact.

The NBA Catalyzing Repeal of HB2 in North Carolina

In the winter of 2016, North Carolina‘s fairly conservative legislature passed a bill that required people to use the restroom meant for their gender assigned at birth, among other discriminatory clauses. Infamously known as the “bathroom bill,” the legislation’s passage sparked protests not just within the state but around the entire country. These included businesses pulling activity from the state, with perhaps the most notable example coming from the NBA.

The league had planned to host is 2017 All-Star Game in Charlotte, but wound up moving the game to New Orleans, with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) moving games outside of the state as well. Considering how central basketball, especially at the college level, is to the State of North Carolina, these boycotts were major news, and sparked even more demand for the bill to be repealed. A year after the NBA moved its All-Star Game, the NCAA (not typically a paragon of virtue itself) told the state legislature that it had two days to repeal the law or else the state wouldn’t be allowed to host any championship games for five years. It was this pressure from these basketball organizations in part that finally led to a partial repeal of the law, and the All Star Game returned to Charlotte in 2019.

All of these initiatives by NBA teams, players, and administrators have us feeling optimistic about the future of the relationship between the league and the LGBTQ community. There’s a long way to go, and the NBA remains imperfect from a social activism standpoint. But it’s trending progressive, which should continue to yield meaningful results.

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Austin Bold Hosts Inaugural Pride Night



The Austin Bold FC will celebrate the start of Pride season in Austin by hosting Pride Night during the club’s inaugural season on Saturday, June 8, 2019 out at the Bold Stadium at Circuit of The Americas as the minor league soccer team takes on Portland Timbers 2.

08jun7:30 PM9:30 PMFeaturedPride Night: Austin Bold FC vs. Portland Timbers 2Benefiting Austin PRIDE7:30 PM - 9:30 PM Bold Stadium at Circuit of The AmericasCategories:SoccerAges:All Ages

Pride Night is held in partnership with Austin PRIDE, with 25% of merchandise sales during the night’s game, including a specially designed Austin Bold FC Pride Jersey featuring white/turquoise stripes with rainbow sleeve detail and screenprint graphics, being donated to the Austin Gay & Lesbian Pride Foundation.

The Austin Bold FC specially-designed Pride Jersey. A portion of sales from Pride Night is donated to Austin PRIDE.. Photo courtesy: Austin Bold FC / Facebook

Plus, Austin singer-songwriter and The Voice Season 1 alumni Nakia will open Pride Night with the national anthem.

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Athlete Ally Launches Curriculum on LGBTQ Inclusion in Sport



Athlete Ally announced the launch of Champions of Inclusion, the first free, comprehensive online curriculum for coaches on LGBTQ respect and inclusion within athletics. Designed to educate coaches, athletic directors, Senior Women Administrators, trainers, and captains at the collegiate, club, and K-12 level across the U.S., Champions of Inclusion aims to eliminate geographic and financial barriers to LGBTQ education.

Through a series of interactive quizzes and video modules featuring LGBTQ athletes, coaches, professors, and inclusion experts, curriculum participants learn about sexuality and gender, obstacles faced by LGBTQ athletes, how to proactively foster an inclusive athletic community, and how to ensure their own teams and leagues have sustainable, inclusive policies and practices.

“The people who most need to be reached on LGBTQ issues are often educated the least,” said Hudson Taylor, Executive Director of Athlete Ally. “We designed this curriculum to be accessible, interactive, time and cost effective, and to help lay a solid foundation for teams to not only be accepting of LGBTQ athletes, but to proactively foster an environment where all athletes feel safe, welcomed and included.”

Champions of Inclusion Curriculum

80% of people worldwide have experienced homophobia in sport. We're working to change that with accessible, interactive LGBTQ education for coaches and athletic leaders that can be used anytime, anywhere. Learn more at

Posted by Athlete Ally on Tuesday, October 30, 2018

80% of people worldwide have experienced homophobia in sport, and LGBTQ individuals drop out of sport at nearly double the rate of their cisgender and heterosexual peers.12 Awareness-raising through education is a key step to fostering inclusion. This points to a dire need for coaches and athletic leaders to be educated on LGBTQ issues, without cost, geography or time constraints serving as barriers.

“With the Champions of Inclusion curriculum, Athlete Ally has created a much-need tool that caters to the busy schedule of coaches, athletic leaders and administrators,” said Shaun Richard, Senior Associate Director of Athletics at Ohio State University. “LGBTQ equality is incredibly important to Ohio State University Athletics, and Athlete Ally has played a major role in helping us have the tools we need to foster an inclusive campus. This expert-driven resource will be an essential part of our diversity trainings moving forward.”

“Positive Coaches Alliance (PCA) is excited for the launch of the Athlete Ally curriculum,” said Jason Sacks, Vice President of Business Development & Philanthropy at PCA. “Our partners are always looking to learn and grow as parents, coaches and administrators, and we know this will only support them further in creating a positive, safe and inclusive youth sports environment for their children.”

“USA Weightlifting is a proud supporter of the LGBTQ community within our sport,” said Phil Andrews, CEO of USA Weightlifting. “Sport is sport, and Athlete Ally’s Champions of Inclusion curriculum provides the necessary education and a platform for developing a more inclusive sport culture.”

“The Champions of Inclusion curriculum presents an exciting opportunity for coaches and athletics professionals to gain important knowledge and understanding about LGBTQ inclusion in athletics,” said Kerrie Turner, Head Gymnastics Coach at Bowling Green State University and President of the Women’s Collegiate Gymnastics Association. “The program is easy to navigate and self-paced to accommodate the complex schedules of coaches, sport leaders, administrators and athletes. Upon completion, I felt confident that I have the necessary tools and resources to create impactful dialogue within my team and colleagues and to create inclusive environments in athletics. There is important work to be done in diversity and inclusion and, as coaches and leaders, education and resources are greatly needed.”

To access the curriculum or learn more, please visit

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