Just weeks before Gay Games 2010 opens
in Cologne, Germany, the next iteration of the quadrennial event in
Cleveland appears to be on shaky ground.
Details are sketchy and representatives
in Cleveland aren't talking, but the matter is being discussed.
“There is discussion about a shift in
management, being dictated by the Federation of Gay Games,”
Samantha Fryberger, communications director for Positively Cleveland,
a group that markets Cleveland as a tourism destination, told gay
weekly Gay People's Chronicle.
Fryberger added that the intention of
the discussions is to keep the games in Cleveland.
Representatives from competing cities
Boston and Washington D.C. alleged in a July
6 story published in gay bi-monthly Spirit
that Cleveland Synergy Foundation, the group that bid and won the
right to put on the games in Cleveland, had won the competition with
an inferior bid and suggested that the selection was politically
They say Cleveland broke several rules,
including adding more games than allowed and exceeding the distance
between venues. For example, the rules allow a city to host no more
than 28 sports, yet Cleveland proposed 40. And Cleveland's golfing
venue is in Akron, about 45 miles south of the city, further than the
allowed 15 miles.
The story also calls into question the
motivations behind selecting Cleveland.
“What did surprise me was the notion
that bringing the Gay Games to Northeast Ohio to highlight gay-rights
issues seemed to play such a significant factor to many voters,”
Brent Minor, a longtime supporter of the Gay Games and volunteer for
the campaign to bring the games to Washington, said.
Ironically, lawmakers in Cleveland were
busy attempting to boost their gay rights credentials in the months
leading up the federation's final round of decision making. At the
time, the city was considering a
bill that outlaws discrimination against transgender people that won
council's unanimous approval two months later. And lawmakers
gay-inclusive domestic partnership registry that guarantees no rights
whatsoever but faced steep opposition from a coalition of mostly
While Gay Games North American
Representative Kevin Boyer wouldn't comment to On Top about
the rumors, Federation of Gay Games Spokesperson Kelly Stevens has
confirmed to the media that there are ongoing high-level discussions
on the subject going on.