Three cities – Cleveland, Boston
and Washington D.C. – submitted final bids to play host city for
the international 2014 Gay Games.
Fourteen cities had originally
expressed interest in hosting the event. Miami showed strong
interest, but failed to submit a detailed bid by the March 15
Cleveland organizers paired up with the
International Gay Rodeo Association and petitioned the Federation of
Gay Games to include the sport should it win. If included, it would
mark a first for the games.
Cleveland's bid also stirred
controversy when city leaders attempted to support the pitch by
passing a domestic partner registry for gay and lesbian couples. The
registry afforded no benefits other than symbolic. Lawmakers said
the registry would help secure the Gay Games 2014 by demonstrating
the city's commitment to GLBT rights. But a group of ministers
opposed to the registry called it an end-run around the state's ban
on gay marriage and has vowed to win its repeal by putting it up for
At first glance, Boston would appear to
have an edge in the competition. It's a sports town where the
question of gays getting hitched has been settled (its legal) and is
home to a vibrant and well organized GLBT community.
But Gay Games officials say their
decision – likely to be made in September, 2010 – is not only
about selecting the gay friendliest city.
“If we only choose the gayest cities
in the United States, we've made a mistake,” Kelly Stevens, a board
member in charge of communications for the Federation of Gay Games,
And Federation of Gay Games spokesman
Kevin Boyer recently said he was “very impressed” with
The Gay Games is the brainchild of Dr.
Tom Waddell, a college football player who went on to place sixth in
the 1986 Summer Olympic's decathlon competition. The international
sporting event originally called the Gay Olympics was first held in
San Francisco during the Summer of 1982.
Cologne, Germany has been selected to
host the next event in 2010, where an estimated 15,000 athletes are
expected to participate in 28 sporting contests.
The City of Chicago, which last hosted
the event in 2006, estimates 140,000 spectators attended the event
with an overall economic impact of $50-to-$80 million. But lower
than expected participation and attendance is blamed on a last minute
change of venue. The Federation of Gay Games moved the event to
Chicago after it failed to reach agreement on several key issues with
Montreal, Canada organizers.
Gay Games officials will begin visiting
the three final cities in the summer.