Thursday, July 13, 2006

This Might Make Me A Bad Mo, But...

This weekend, the Gay Games and more than 11,000 gay athletes will descend upon Chicago to compete in such butch events as rugby, ice hockey, and wrestling, and also other "sports" like darts, ballroom dancing, and billiards (I'm petitioning for hopscotch to be included in 2010).

Personally, I don't support the Gay Games. There! I said it. I own it. I liken the Games to the war in Iraq: I support the players, but not the game. The athletes here, like the soldiers there, have my admiration and, to some extent, my sympathies. But the Games, like the war, just seem pointless. While many will support the athletes by volunteering, attending the events, and snorting happy powder at the inevitable circuit dances, I tend to not support large events or situations that decide to include only certain facets of the population based on race, gender, or sexual orientation.

While I completely applaud the athletes who posess such drive and determination, I have to wonder if their impending victories will not feel a bit, um . . . skewed? That is to say, if you want to compete in an event like diving, do you want to be the best diver you can be, or the just best gay diver who just shows up that day? There are no qualifying tests or preliminaries for the games. I could just show up at the Men's Rowing Competition (even though I have never done it before), and if no one else shows up that day or I compete against, say, a gay quadraplegic, I go home with a gold medal (the winner of the 2002 Gay Games Women's Figureskating Medal won despite the fact that she cannot spin or skate backwards. So I ask you, is that still considered figure skating??). The BF writes about this on his blog, and as he is a nicer person that I, he explains it with more tact.

Other events I don't support include, for example, the Latin Grammys. There are already several awards at the Grammy Awards specifically encompassing the Latin music community, including Best Latin Pop Album, Best Latin Rock/Alternative Album, Best Traditional Tropical Latin Album, Best Salsa/Merengue Album, Best Mexican/Mexican-American Album, and Best Tejano Album. Doesn't winning the Latin Grammy feel just a little tainted, knowing you only went up against a very specific and MUCH smaller competition?

As another example, I also don't support the idea of a monument to African American World War II Veterans. Unless I am missing something, there is already a memorial to World War II veterans (and quite a beautiful one at that) on the mall in DC that pays homage to ALL those men and women who gave their lives and served their country during that war. Is it really necessary to segregate a portion of the population for the same event? Black people didn't fight any harder than white people in that war, so what gives? I feel the same way about the Women in Viet Nam Memorial. There's no doubt that women were strong contributors to that conflict, much like they are today in Iraq and the Middle East. But a separate monument to them in DC - in a city that is so monument heavy they almost don't even mean anything anymore - just seems unnecessary.

But back to the Gay Games . . .

Some will argue that the Games allows everyone to get a chance to be represented. But for regular mass competitions (for example, the Olympics), being gay does not disqualify you from competing in athletic events. Now, being athletic and very open about your sexuality might cause you some trouble, but actually being gay does not disclude you from qualifying.

When you are competing (or fighting, for that matter) alongside your fellow man, does it really matter what your gender or race or sexual orientation is? Don't you strive to be the best at what you do, and doesn't that desire accompany the belief that you want to compete against the best, so that you can be included in the big picture? Perhaps if the athletes who compete in the Gay Games are using these events to better themselves in order to progress to a national or international level, then I do support their efforts. However, if this is the pinnacle of their achievement, I can't help but wonder if they don't feel just a little slighted.

I realize that not everyone gets to go to the Olympics, but everyone gets a shot at it. And if you don't get included because of your ability, then THAT should tell you something.

8 comments:

  1. I don't support the Gay Games for the same reasons you do. If you're the top in your field, you'll get a shot at the Olympics or at least a qualifying event like the World Gymnastics Championships, the US Open, etc.
    The Gay Games are like the track day we had when I was in 3rd grade: everyone got a ribbon. Big deal. Even the fat kids who couldn't finish a whole race got a ribbon, so where's the glory in that?
    As someone who trained and tried out for the 84 and 88 Olympics in swimming, I can attest to the fact that no one cared who you slept with; they cared if you won your event. Period. Didn't place? No Olympics, but at least you could say you were with some of the best in your sport.

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  2. I'm going to play Devil's Advocate. How do you feel about Senior Olympics (very big here in Tucson) or Special Olympics (Eunice Shriver recently received an award for starting that one)? Why should these people compete in their respective games, since they will never be truly Olympic caliber?

    People participate in the Gay Games for more than the actual competition. For some people it is an opportunity to test themselves against their peers. For others, the chance to meet new people or see new places. Two of my ex boyfriends have received medals at Gay Games- they were both pleased that they had the chance to attend the games and push themselves. They know that they aren't Olympic caliber, but they still spent long hours training.

    End of Devil's Advocacy.

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  3. Homer, I invite you to read my blog again. I wrote about not supporting events that are based on gender, race, or sexual orientation. Senior Olympics and special olympics do not fall in those categories. It has less to do with being of Olympic caliber and more about voluntary segregation.

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  4. Dop: For the most part, I have to agree with you. Isn't the push for "equal rights" to open doors to living without hyphenization? I am not into the gay lifestyle, but find your take here a breath of fresh air. Keep it up! CB

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  5. This agrument doesn't hold water. Maybe they are or aren't Olympic Material that isn't what the event is about it about the hard work of one group of people.
    So with this logic The Miss Black America shouldn't exist. Country Music Award should exist. National Amature Bowling. Celtic festivals. Pride festival for Gays shouldn't exist after all Pride is for everybody. Any events that has main stream counterpart shouldn't exist. Bye bye Gay Choruses.National Gay bowling leagues. A host of others events from all sorts of background.

    I had my room for over a year and opening and closing for 6month. I'm volunteering to work a event.
    I plan to have a great time

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  6. I don't really care about the event, but Andy Bell of 'erasure' fame is performing in the opening ceremony.

    And that is good.

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  7. While I totally agree about not supporting events that include only certain people based on race, gender, orientation, I think there's an aspect of the Gay Games that we're missing here:

    Like gay pride, this is an event aimed at allowing people to be themselves and celebrate their differences. And unlike, say, an African-American WWII memorial, the participants are the ones choosing to celebrate this difference. It's not the government choosing to single out a portion of the population (Chicago may have chosen to host it, but that's a different story).

    So, while some people are content being a gay athlete in a competition that is non-specific about sexual orientation, others (who may or may not be olympic-grade athletes) may just want to participate with their (gay) peers.

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  8. Dop i hear ya buddy!!!!!
    this all falls in the same picture as pride fest
    lets have straightfest!!!
    better yet....here in milwaukee we have a "black nurses association" now i want to start a white nurses associaion (wouldnt the a.c.l.u. love that)
    ok now lets talk about gay rights lets see....probably about 99% gay men dont raise children...and gay men ussually have a higher level of income....and we need a tax break?... if your gay and want certain things carried out in the event of your unable to make decisions.....well then put it on paper!!!!
    as far as the special olympics.... they are competing because of physical/cognitive deficits... not because of what they might do in bed.. with or without someone of the same sex.... get a clue!!!

    for me.......i have a white/black/tan quilt on my bed.....and i want a black /white/tan bed quilt gay mans association. and a black/white/tan bed quilt gay mans rights law to come into effect
    ok....i need to change that cause im going to buy a new comforter.. ill catch up with you later to let you all know what new law we need to get instituted.

    i'm so tired of hearing about rights!!!!! just enjoy life.

    but i want my rights!!!!! i want my rights!!!!

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