Cleveland Hosts Gay Games for the First Time

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Photo: Rick Aiello (Wikimedia)

Photo: Rick Aiello (Wikimedia)

More than 10,000 participants are expected to converge on America’s heartland this summer for competition and camaraderie. Yes, the word is out and Cleveland, Ohio is proud to host the 2014 Gay Games, Aug. 9-16, 2014.

“We’re ready to shout it from the mountain tops and we highly encourage people to visit our website and see what the Gay Games is all about,” said Gregg Levine, a member of the executive committee for Gay Games 9.

Levine splits time between homes in Wilton Manors, Fla. and Cleveland. He said Cleveland — America’s 45th largest city — is a great place to for dining, shopping, cultural outings, sporting events and music.

Founded in 1982, the Gay Games have been held in San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Vancouver, Amsterdam, Sydney, Cologne and now is coming to Cleveland, a burgeoning metropolis on the shores of Lake Erie. It is an opportunity, organizers say, for Cleveland to demonstrate its inclusiveness as a community.

“Cleveland is a remarkable city,” Levine said. “It’s Midwestern. It’s genuine and we love to show visitors a good time.”

The Cleveland Foundation is presenting Gay Games 9 and the closing ceremonies will take place at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, said Levine.

More than 65 countries are expected to participate in the Gay Games, which promote founding principles of participation, inclusion and personal best. The Gay Games are open to anyone regardless of sexual orientation, gender, transgender status, religion, political convictions, nationality, age, physical condition or athletic ability.

Cleveland has a long and distinguished LGBT history too, said Levine. The city has formally celebrated Gay Pride for two decades now and its community center recently celebrated its 35th birthday. The Gay Games “Village” will be located in downtown Cleveland with panoramic views of First Energy Stadium (home of the NFL’s Cleveland Browns), Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Great Lakes Science Center and Lake Erie.

All skill levels are encouraged to apply for participant scholarships, available in estimated values ranging from $750 to $1,350, based on financial need. The deadline to apply is Feb. 15, 2014. Scholarship winners will be notified in April.

To apply or for more information, visit GG9cle.com


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