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Gay Games-Outgames merger falls through
by Ross Forman, Windy City Times

This article shared 5062 times since Tue May 8, 2012
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The much talked-about merger of the Gay Games and the Outgames for 2018 has ended without a deal, although negotiations will continue.

The boards of the Gay and Lesbian International Sport Association (GLISA), which oversees the Outgames, and the Federation of Gay Games (FGG) met May 5-6 in Montreal in an effort to come to an agreement on the creation of one quadrennial event (1QE). However, after over two years of discussions and negotiations, both organizations regret to announce that even though every attempt was made to do so, an agreement was not reached, it was announced in a joint release. GLISA posted the release on its website May 6, though the FGG does not have anything about the potential merger on its website as of May 7.

Kurt Dahl, who lives in the Chicago area and is the male co-president of the federation, was unavailable May 7 by phone for comment. He replied via text message: "Right now, I have no comment beyond what was in original press release. GLISA and FGG [will] continue talking. When there is more news, we will jointly communicate that."

Julia Applegate of GLISA, who lives in Ohio, was unavailable May 7 for comment by phone. She replied via email: "I can't give you any comment right now. We are not commenting at the moment. We will speak to the press if that changes. Thank you for respecting this decision."

The joint release read, "Both boards, with the support of their memberships, had every intention to re-unite the international LGBTQIQ community around a new event based on three components: Sports, Culture and Human Rights. This 1QE would have combined the achievements and long standing history of both organizations and their events.

"The boards have decided that at this moment, both organizations are unable to reconcile their differences in time for the 2018 event cycle."

The FGG was represented in Montreal by Dennis Sneyers, Shamey Cramer, Klaus Heusslein and Dahl. Nelson Lee, Daniel Vaudrin, Wessel van Kampen and Applegate represented GLISA.

"The boards are disappointed, but hope remains that an agreement will be reached over the next few years to create a future joint event for the next cycle of 1QE and that the future discussions will be fruitful," the joint release said.

The third World Outgames will be held in 2013 in Antwerp, Belgium. Gay Games IV is scheduled for 2014 in Cleveland.

The World Outgames was launched in 2006, weeks after the Gay Games was held in Chicago.

The second World Outgames was held in 2009 in Copenhagen, while the last Gay Games was held in 2010 in Cologne, Germany.

Kelley Stevens of Seattle was the officer of communications as well as communications co-chair for the FGG for about four years, ending in September 2011. He served on the FGG committee for 1QE for more than a year. He said via phone May 7 that he "was not surprised" that the merger did not materialize.

"There is a lot of stuff that needs to happen, so much work to really do it, [such as], the finances, the sports, the control of issues, site selections," Stevens said. "In the back of my mind, I still think there's going to be some sort of collaboration of some kind.

"This whole process over the last two years to where we are right now has really done a lot of good things and a lot of relationship-building between GLISA and the federation, and I think more will be built upon now rather than a withdrawal and a battle over the next event."

This article shared 5062 times since Tue May 8, 2012
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