Cleveland Could Very Well Lose the 2014 Gay Games to D.C.

The 2014 Gay Games will stay in Cleveland. For now. But if the Ohio city can’t get their act together in the next couple months? Athletes will be heading to D.C.

Out of the picture is the Cleveland Synergy Foundation, which put together Cleveland’s bid for the next gay Olympics but now finds itself pushed out. But a change in oversight doesn’t guarantee Cleveland is hanging on to the games, the Washington Blade says.

Leaders of an international LGBT sports group, meeting last weekend in Germany, reaffirmed their earlier decision to keep the 2014 Gay Games in Cleveland, according to sources familiar with the deliberations. But the General Assembly of the Federation of Gay Games kept open the option of moving the event to Washington, D.C., if Cleveland fails to meet a set of conditions by Dec. 15, including the creation of a new gay-run organization to produce the games, sources said. The General Assembly took that action during a closed “in camera” session of its annual meeting Aug. 8, sources said, following the end of the 2010 Gay Games.

But that doesn’t mean D.C.’s organizers have been right all along.

In announcing last week that they planned to keep the games in Cleveland, FGG officials said through a spokesperson that they disagreed with an interpretation of FGG rules by the D.C. LGBT sports group that lost its bid to hold the games in Washington. Officials with Metropolitan Washington Gaymes, Inc., which was designated the runner-up bidder for the 2014 games, said they believe FGG rules hold that the games should go to the runner up and its host city if the winning bidder fails to fulfill its licensing obligations and responsibilities.

So what does Cleveland need to do to keep the Games? Create a new 501(3)(c) non-profit group to lead the effort, meet all of the Federation of Gay Games’ current requirements, and sign a licensing agreement with FGG. Also, open up a few new gay bars. Is Twist really the only thing going?

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  • mdthom

    Let them come to DC, we’d love to have them.

  • PopSnap

    Let them come to Cleveland. Not all of us can afford to live in gay heaven. We have a decently sized community here with plenty of supporters. It’d be such a shame to lose to DC, or Chicago, or NYC, or LA- people EXPECT gays to live in those places. Nobody would think Cleveland has over 14 gay clubs, a gay tourism bureau, dozens of pro-gay churches, a 100,000-strong and growing annual gay pride fest, supportive local politicians, & a domestic partnership registry.

    But we do. And it will be a major mistake if we get the gay games taken from us.

  • J.

    Yeah, I’m sorry but Cleveland needs to get their act together. But I think people from all over the world would much rather go to DC than Ohio. Just sayin’…

  • Bob

    Hmm… Sounds like someone needs to crawl out of their East Coast box and appreciate what the rest of the country has to offer. Just sayin’…

  • Michael

    @PopSnap: totally agree that would be nice coming from someone who was raised in southern Indiana.

    BUT now I’m in D.C. and hope it moves to D.C.!!

    Either way, I’ll be happy and I’ll be there when it’s time.

    See ya there

  • Michael

    And looking further down the line…

    the FGG posted today on their blog that London announced a bid to host Gay Games 2018.

    Done and done.

  • Michael

    2014? That’s some serious pre-planning.

  • A.G.

    It is incumbent on the organizers of the Gay Games to do everything they can to make the Games a success.

    Tourist dollars and visibility are tremendous ancillary benefits, but the site should not be chosen with the idea of promoting a locale.

    The locale should be chosen to benefit the games, not the other way around. The organizers need to hold the Games at a destination that will attract an broad international audience.

  • Michael

    @A.G.: your comment sparked a thought in me:

    We are all tending to think in terms of bringing positive attention for the LGBT community in the individual city, but perhaps what America as a whole really needs right now is the international draw. …and I believe that means the games in D.C.

    With many other countries leading the way for LGBT rights, perhaps America needs to realize its connection to these other countries and the LGBT populations within them, thus realizing the American potential for freedom and equality for all people. If we draw foreign athletes and fans from many other countries, it will surely be a testament to the American people and government: “Look at these people all coming to our country to celebrate and compete, many of whom have better rights that we do!” If enough attention is given by the media and by vocal supporters outside the LGBT community, it will be quite an influential event for America and our country’s people.

    And then again – in four years maybe the LGBT community in America will already be at the same level as those progressive countries elsewhere in the world. If this happens to be the case, it would probably be best to hold the games in Cleveland. But at this point who knows where we’ll be then? Only time will tell.

    While I’m all for bringing the games to an unexpected city like Cleveland, I also wondered upon hearing the news, “Will anybody outside the U.S. even go to Cleveland?” I know I’ll certainly be there. But I’m from America and specifically the midwest. I’d still make an effort to attend even if the games were held in a “Cleveland” equivalent in another country, but I don’t think most people would.

    Obviously this will be a decision the FGG makes. I totally believe that they must do what will be best for the success of the games, but I still can’t help but disagree a bit about that being the absolute primary focus. I think the FGG, just like any celebrity or politician, has a duty to realize their social position and, when necessary, actively bring change. Outside of their immediate agendas, these people and organizations must realize that they are being closely watched by us all and that what they do or say has great impact. But like I said, it is possible that the games in D.C. would bring change on a much larger scale than just for one particular city and this would also fulfill the needs of the FGG in terms of numbers in attendance and finances. D.C. is probably the better choice of the two because it accomplishes both things – but who knows what they’re really thinking??

  • Colo Michael

    I went to Cologne for Gay Games 2010, and it was amazing. Not just doing my sport or meeting other gay folks, but just the way the city welcomed us. It was beautiful.

    Frankly, I’ve never been to Cleveland nor Ohio, and maybe they will do a great job, but I have really no interest in fighting a cause or proving that the midwest is gay enough….not on my vacation and not at an event like this. I am there to have fun, enjoy sports, and meet new folks. I would rather be going somewhere more gay typical. I think it would be better to show off a world class, destination city, with great nightlife, and strong gay community. With that said, Cologne wasn’t my first choice for a European Adventure, but it turned out fantastic, willing to give Cleveland the same chance.

  • Rick Alan

    Cleveland’s pride parade isn’t that big. It goes down 1/2 the street while traffic whizzes by on the other side! It’s hard to get around, some venues are a half-hour drive away in Akron. And the few bars that are there are spread out all over the place and it’s not very pretty city. lol

  • Rick Alan

    The 2014 Gay Games should just be moved from Northern Ohio to Central Ohio. Columbus just wrapped up the Gay Softball World Series last night with a big party spanning the several blocks of our upscale & trendy Short North gayborhood, closing off several blocks on Columbus’ main street and featuring a free concert with Jennifer Holiday! The entire week was fantastic with about 5,000 athletes and guests in town for the event! I volunteered along with 400+ others and every comment I got from athletes was that they LOVED Columbus! All the host hotels were in walking distance of one another and the gay bars, streets and highways were very easy for navigating. Plus, Columbus is the largest city in the state and has the largest gay population of OH, IN, WV, KY. That’s why gay events were held all week at main-stream straight venues like Huntington Bank Ball Park where a soloist from the Columbus Gay Men’s Chorus sang the national anthem for the Columbus Clippers game. We’ve got the largest university campus in the country with Ohio State University. Columbus has the largest gay pride parade & festival in a 5-state region outside of Chicago with nearly 1/4 million attendees. OUT Magazine once rated Columbus a TOP 10 GAY city over bigger metro areas including Cleveland! So I think it just makes sense to detour the games here since Cleveland’s committee was dishonest in their presentation on some aspects and because of the sponsor snafu.

  • Evan

    Rick (and every one of you city-size queens), get over yourself and your city.

    Short North is not a real gayborhood, just a bunch of bars that happen to link up with the ONLY trendy block in Centeral Ohio. Remember, Columbus was notorious only two decades ago for trying to close down an AIDs booth at the Ohio State Fair because of fear of “gay recruitment.” The most boringly mundane gay play meets with unending church protests there.

    And really, the writer of this piece should at least put down his nail file long enough to check out all the discos, bars (leather, denim, twinks, etc.) in the Cleveland-Akron region.

    I’ve spent many a summer in 90-plus-degree D.C.(and Boston). Beautiful cities, but the thought of battling hoards of tourists, grotesquely overpriced hotel rooms and traffic that would turn a five-mile drive into an hour-long ordeal sends shivers. It’s subway is light years ahead of Cleveland’s rail lines, but, heck, you can go from the Cleveland airport (with a station underneath the main terminal) and be at a beautiful gay-freindly Great Lakes beach in about 15 minutes, downtown by 20 minutes and University Circle, with a half-dozen major museums, in 30 (and you can actually get into them without a congressional connection).

    But the main fact is, Cleveland is not dependent on advocacy groups for a gay voice. It comes straight from our own city city supporters and officials, mostly straight. They came up to bat in spite of the Synergy controversy and will put forth a lot of time and knowlegable effort to land a major gay event right in Cleveland; they even pushed through a gay registry for Cleveland, and no other large city in Ohio (NOT COLUMBUS, AT LEAST) is anywhere near that kind of TRUE gay acumen. Why aren’t the games in Columbus? Because you guys can’t even muster the first step in landing a gay event that big.

    Oh, I’ve lost most of you when I got to the boring museum part (especially Mr. Columbus). Okay. lists 18 gay bars for Cleveland, and I know off-hand of about a half dozen more in nearby Akron. And yes, we have the largest bath house (with a faux beach on the upper deck) apparently in the country and one of the biggest gay stores in the region for all your, uh, leather needs. Two new extra-gay-friendly hotel chains will be opeing up new branches in downtown Cleveland, too.

    Gay enough for you?

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