With the 10th Annual Gay Games celebration in Paris, France right around the corner, Southern California athletes in the LGBTQ+ community are gearing up to bring home the gold!
Most notable local participant, West Hollywood Councilmember John Heilman will be running a half marathon and two 10ks.
“While we’ve made significant progress in advancing equality for LGBTIQ people in the U.S., progress has been much slower in other parts of the world,” Heilman said on his GoFundMe fundraising page. “In fact, homosexuality is still a crime in over 70 countries, and in some places, it is punishable by death.”
Heilman set a personal fundraising goal of $20,000 in order to establish a Global Emergency Fund with OutRight Action International. Heilman serves on the board of directors for OutRight.
Gay Games, according to the website, is the world’s largest LGBTQ+ sporting and cultural event, spans over the course of a week, from Aug. 4–12 this year. Gay Games is bringing together over 10,000 athletes and about 300,000 spectators from all over the world in the name of “diversity, respect, equality, solidarity and sharing,” according to the Gay Games website.
For Team San Diego organizer and participant David Silva said that Gay Games is about “the opportunity to show yourself, your country and the world that you are an athlete, an equal opportunist and proud contributor to one of the strongest communities on the planet.”
Team San Diego has 83 competitors and volunteers going to Gay Games. Participants will be competing in various events including: Long Distance Running, Track and Field, Bowling, Swimming, Tennis, Softball, Triathlon, Dance sport, Cycling, Soccer, Mountain Biking, Basketball, Figure Skating, and Table Tennis.
Jerry Buckley, the other Team San Diego organizer and competitor said that he hopes that athletes and spectators leave with a deeper understanding of how to be inclusive, supportive and proud.
“In addition, I hope people leave knowing that can and should continue to dream dreams that will enrich their lives and help them embrace challenges and opportunities to personally grow and make our community more understanding of how we can improve the lives of LGBTQ people around the world,” Buckley said. “Especially those who face dangerous, hateful and discriminatory policies.”