WINDY CITY TIMES
||Champions Carry the Torch for Chicago Gay Games
This article shared 2 times since Wed Apr 26, 2006
BY MARIE-JO PROULX
The much-anticipated Weekend of Champions, a double benefit for Gay Games VII, took place April 22-23 at Soldier Field's Cadillac Club. With its thousand attendees, the sold-out Saturday night gala dinner was a resounding success. Almost 500 people showed up for the Sunday morning Breakfast with Champions, where three panel discussions were scheduled. The unique two-day event brought together elite athletes, entertainers, Gay Games organizers, corporate sponsors, local leaders and members of Chicago's LGBT community. [ See photos this issue. ]
The Night of 100 Champions was hosted by Olympic gold medalist Greg Louganis and honored a long list of openly gay athletes, including former NFL players Esera Tuaolo, Roy Simmons and David Kopay. Many international gay athletes were also recognized for their sporting performances in their respective disciplines as well as for their influences as positive role-models. Among them were South African volleyball player Leigh-Ann Naidoo, Dutch sprinter Martje Hoekmeijer and German cyclist Petra Roessner.
U.S. Soccer Olympic team and national team star Saskia Webber, Olympic gold medal-winning swimmer Bruce Hayes, U.S. skeleton national team member Courtney Yamada and Andrea Zimbardi, former co-captain and star catcher of the University of Florida's women's softball team, also picked up awards. A number of teams were honored, including the Chicago Force pro women's football team and the Nubians, a women's softball team.
For their honest and fair portrayal of gay athletes and issues, sports writer/commentator Frank Deford of Sports Illustrated and NPR; and HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbed were commended. From the latter, interviewer and tennis commentator Mary Carillo accepted the award she also received her own Champions honor. She said a few words about discrimination in sports, expressed her strong support for the Gay Games mission, and talked about the making of a long documentary on Billie Jean King, which is to air April 26 on HBO.
Dozens of national organizations and local businesses have proudly signed on as official sponsors of Gay Games VII. Among those, Kraft Foods and Harris Bank have been the target of boycott attempts by extreme right-wing groups. For their steadfast support in the face of public pressure, the two companies were warmly applauded. The Crystal Lake Rowing Club, which earlier this month battled intense opposition by residents who did not want their suburban municipality to host the rowing competition, was also honored and cheered by the appreciative crowd of diners.
Persons and groups who have made substantial financial contributions to Gay Games VII were recognized. Interpreting for both weekend events was offered by Deaf Communication by Innovation. They will also donate interpreter services during this July's competitions. An updated list of all corporate and individual donors is available at www.gaygameschicago.com
Community leaders Dick Uyvari and Joe La Pat presented a $75,000 donation to a scholarship fund that has been set up to assist participants with limited financial means. Uyvari and La Pat would like the money to help fund the South African women's soccer team. Three international athletes were invited to receive the symbolic check.
Mayor Richard M. Daley, a longtime supporter of equal rights for LGBT people and chair of the Gay Games VII Honorary Host Committee, was not able to attend. However, City Treasurer Judy Rice, who is co-chair of the Host Committee, was greeted enthusiastically when she reached the stage. State Reps. Ken Dunkin, Sara Feigenholtz and Larry McKeon, along with Alds. Tom Tunney and Helen Shiller, were named for their sustained efforts and legislative victories in the fight against discrimination based on sexual orientation and identity.
Gay Games founder Dr. Tom Waddell, who died of AIDS in 1987, was praised by Sara Waddell Lewinstein, a medal-winning lesbian athlete and mother of their daughter. Waddell Lewinstein is a Gay Games pioneer, civil-rights activist and AIDS educator. While she insisted that the vision and realization of the original Gay Games, held in San Francisco in 1982, were her husband's, she is widely considered a co-founder in her own right because of the relentless work she did on behalf of the fledgling gay sports movement.
Another posthumous award went to Mark Bingham, the rugby player killed in 9/11 on Flight 93; he was represented by his partner, Paul Holm.
The evening also consisted of a mix of entertainment featuring, among others, singer Billy Porter, actor Jason Graae, local talent Dylan Rice, footballer-turned-singer Esera Tuaolo, comic Poppy Champlin and singer Sharon McNight. A live painting performance by artist Thom Bierdz provided a large sports-themed creation, and was later sold as part of the live auction. Cruises and other vacation packages were won in a raffle. The show, nimbly produced by Jeffrey Ortmann and his team, including event chair Tarrinna Dykes, was a definite crowd-pleaser. While it set the bar high for future Gay Games VII events, laudatory word of mouth should ensure that Chicago's LGBT community and its allies will rise to the challenge.
This article shared 2 times since Wed Apr 26, 2006
| ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE|
|GLAAD Media Awards honors creative forces of change in media, culture|
--From a press release, video below - Los Angeles, CA, Thursday, April 8, 2021 — GLAAD, the world's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization, tonight hosted a virtual ceremony to announce the award recipients of the 32nd Annu ...
|Equality Illinois celebrates Black trans woman's electoral victory in Decatur, Illinois|
From a press release - A statement from Brian C. Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois, the state's civil rights organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) Illinoisans: "We are extremely proud of Alana ...
|LGBTQ+ History Podcast Queer Serial launches third and final season
--From a press release - Queer Serial, the acclaimed LGBTQ+ history podcast produced and hosted by 2021 GLAAD Award nominee Devlyn Camp, returns Monday, April 12, with its final season. Season 3 picks up in 1963, as militant gay activists, taking ...
|SHOWBIZ 'Special,' Bonnaroo, Broadway items, Rita Moreno, Bridgerton|
The second season of the Netflix comedy series Special will premiere May 20, a press release noted. The series revolves around Ryan O'Connell, a gay man with mild cerebral palsy, and is based on his memoir ...
|WIU LGBTQA Resource Center celebrates 10th Anniversary|
--From a WIU press release - MACOMB, IL — In 2011, the LGBT*QA Resource Center was established at Western Illinois University to serve as a home, and to raise awareness for, the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, questioning+ community at WIU. Ten years ...
|32nd Annual GLAAD Media Awards April 8 |
--From a press release - New York, NY - Thursday, April 1, 2021 - GLAAD, the world's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization, today announced that CHIKA, Rebecca Black, and Niecy Nash's wife Jessica Betts will ...
|Pentagon reverses Trump-era ban on trans military service, GLAAD responds|
--From a GLAAD press release - New York, NY - Wednesday, March 31, 2021 - GLAAD, the world's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization, celebrates news that the Pentagon will issue ...
|PASSAGES John Stephen Hunt|
John Stephen Hunta writer, world literati and global human-rights activist based in Chicagodied March 17 of natural causes in Chicago. He was 85. Hunt came out as a 20-year-old gay man during his U.S. Army Service. ...
|WORLD Landmark ruling, Montreal's Gay Village, acid attack, anti-LGBTQ laws|
In a landmark ruling, a Japanese court ruled that the government's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, NPR noted. Article 24 of Japan's constitution defines marriage as based on the "mutual consent of both sexes," which ...
"We're raising him gay until he decides he's straight."—Jesse Tyler Ferguson tells Ellen DeGeneres how he and hubby Justin are raising their son. He added, "Justin and I were saying we can just tell he's gonna ...
|WORLD Adoption ban, trans soldier, Belgium killing, archbishop|
Same-sex couples will be barred from adopting children in Poland even as single parents, under a new law announced by a nationalist ruling party that has made anti-gay policies a major part of its governing platform, ...
|Webinar to spotlight secret gay life of culinary giant James Beard May 5|
--From a press release - James Beard, who changed how Americans eat, is spotlighted on May 5 with an entertaining live webinar by Food Network star Ted Allen, and author John Birdsall. In the Kitchen Closet takes place May 5 at ...
LGBTQ+ Intergenerational Dialogue Project connects youth, elders in conversation|
A chance encounter in 2019 has blossomed into an intergenerational dialogue project that brings together younger and older LGBTQ folks. Adam Greteman, a gay philosopher and School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) faculty member, ...
"First gay man to go to space? I certainly can relate to that dream!"George Takei applauded the efforts of New York-based astrophotographer Jon Carmichael. He added, "Jon's story is truly inspired. To my LGBTQs and allies, ...
|NATIONAL Lesbian bar closes, COVID survey, trans lawsuit, Andy Towle|
The Toasted Walnuta lesbian bar in Philadelphia's Gayborhood that was refuge to queer women for the past five yearswill close for good, according to an Eater Philly item that cited Billy Penn. The bar had been ...