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Gay Games Closing Ceremony 2006
The Gay Games, this year held in Cleveland-Akron, Ohio, is the world's largest sporting and cultural event organized by, and specifically for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) athletes, artists and musicians. The 1994 Gay Games, held in New York City to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, the modern start of the LGBT movement, "overtook the Olympics in size" with 10,864 athletes compared to 9,356 at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and 10,318 at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Founded as the Gay Olympics, it was started in the United States in San Francisco, California, in 1982, as the brainchild of Tom Waddell, whose goals were to promote the spirit of inclusion and participation, as well as to promote the pursuit of personal growth in a sporting event. It retains similarities with the Olympic Games, including the Gay Games flame which is lit at the opening ceremony. The games are open to all who wish to participate, without regard to sexual orientation and there are no qualifying standards. Competitors come from many countries, including those where homosexuality remains illegal and hidden. (more...)

A blast from the queer past

Barbara Gittings picketing Independence Hall on July 4, 1966
Barbara Gittings (July 31, 1932 – February 18, 2007) was a prominent American activist for gay equality. She organized the New York chapter of the Daughters of Bilitis (DOB) from 1958 to 1963, edited the national DOB magazine The Ladder from 1963 to 1966, and worked closely with Frank Kameny in the 1960s on the first picket lines that brought attention to the ban on employment of gay people by the largest employer in the US at that time: the United States government. Her early experiences with trying to learn more about lesbianism fueled her lifetime work with libraries. In the 1970s, Gittings was most involved in the American Library Association, forming the first gay caucus in a professional organization, in order to promote positive literature about homosexuality in libraries. She was a part of the movement to get the American Psychiatric Association to drop homosexuality as a mental illness in 1972. Her self-described life mission was to tear away the "shroud of invisibility" related to homosexuality that associated it with crime and mental illness. (more...)

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