The Second Annual GLISA North America Outgames Vancouver 2011, encompassing the Vancouver 2011 Outgames Human Rights Conference, will be held from July 25 to July 31, in Vancouver, B.C. Canada — Our own Keph Senett will be providing exclusive coverage to The New Civil Rights Movement all week long!
The early part of 2011 was a watershed period for LGBT visibility in sports. In what seemed like a daily occurrence, more than 25 sports figures publicly came out before June. The San Francisco Giants team promoted an anti-homophobia message when they agreed to make an “It Gets Better” anti-bullying video, and since, the Boston Red Sox have followed suit. More recently, the San Diego Padres became the first pro team to sign the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network’s Team Respect Challenge. Straight “allies” like wrestler Hudson Taylor and rugger Ben Cohen have both mounted aggressive and effective anti-homophobia campaigns.
Not all the news has been good, however. In April, May and July of 2011, pro sports stars Kobe Byrant, Joakim Noah and DeSean Jackson uttered gay slurs. FIFA, the organizing body of football (soccer in Canada and the U.S.), began the year embroiled in controversy for their confirmation of Vlatko Markovic to the position of president of the Croatian Football Federation. His homophobic comments – that as long as he was president there would be no gay players – went unsanctioned, as did the words and deeds of Nigerian women’s football coach Eucharia Uche, who characterized homosexuality as “dirty” and dismissed players she suspected of being lesbian from the national team.
It’s in this sporting climate – part celebration and part frustration – that the 2011 Gay and Lesbian International Sports Association (GLISA) Outgames is taking place. Hosted in Vancouver, British Columbia, the Outgames is a multi-sport event and human rights conference. Billed as “a celebration of sport, culture and human rights”, the Outgames will welcome athletes from across North America and international allies and supporters.
The Outgames Human Rights Conference spans three days and will encompass a variety of subject areas, including robust programming on homophobia and sport. Key sessions include “Addressing Homophobia in Sport: Leading the Way” led by CAAWS representative Jennifer Birch-Jones, and a session on “Challenging the Gender Binary in Sports and Recreation”.
I’ll be on-site and live tweeting these events. Follow along using the hashtag: #van2011outgames or watch the feed on this site.
I’ll also be on-site for matches in the inaugural North American Cup. The tournament is hosted by Vancouver and region soccer club Out for Kicks (OFK) and partner organization the International Gay and Lesbian Football Association (IGLFA). Look for scores and commentary at #IGLFANACup.
We invite you to sign up for our new mailing list, and subscribe to The New Civil Rights Movement via email or RSS.