The World OutGames, run by the Gay and Lesbian International Sport Association (GLISA) is an international sporting event set up as a rival to the Gay Games following a dispute in 2006. After the first games, they have been scheduled for the year preceding the Gay Games.
The rift came about when the Federation of Game Games (FGG) awarded Montreal the licence to run the Gay Games in 2006. The licence comes with various rules for the size, scope and nature of the Games, the FGG accept appeals to the set rules, and a timescale by which to resolve those disputes. The disputes could not be resolved and Montreal wanted to proceed with their plan. The FGG revoked their licence, awarding it to Chicago for that year. Montreal went ahead with their planned event, under the name of OutGames. It split the LGBT sporting community and teams from various countries, including Britain, had to decide which country they could afford to send their teams to.
There is still much bad feeling about the split on both sides. Out for Sport organised the Building Bridges Conference to address some of the issues in 2005. In 2018 the two organisations (FGG and GLISA) are working on presenting a single quadrennial event between them. London is bidding for this event, which currently has no agreed title. The London organising committee are called London 2018, plans are to hold the sporting event in the Olympic Park in Stratford.
The Gay Games focuses on sport and has a cultural festival. The OutGames has a third element, a ‘human rights’ conference and festival. One disagreement about how the events are organised is whether human rights is implicit or explicit. The Gay Games says that human rights underlies everything it does, and does not need a separate schedule.
OutGames Core Elements
Each OutGames has a sport component offering 8-10 sport disciplines at the Continental level and 30-35 sport disciplines at a World OutGames level. OutGames include events for everyone, from seasoned athletes to recreational participants. Which sports are included in an OutGames, is determined by both the Host City and GLISA and can be flexible to include sports that are regional or continental favourites.
Cultural activities include music, dance and social activities, such as country and western dance, marching bands, concert bands, big bands, colour guard, cheerleading, choral festivals and leather events to name a few. The events range from participatory to observatory and judged and non judged. All OutGames also include Opening and Closing Celebrations featuring dance, music, song, choreography and athleticism.
Human Rights Conference
World OutGames will play host to an International Conference on LGBT Human Rights, where delegates from every continent will come together for workshops and discussions led by internationally respected leaders in human rights, researchers, legal scholars and trade organisations.
Although the specific components of each OutGames vary slightly to reflect the priorities of the Host City’s region or continent, there are similar components to each set of OutGames.
- 2006 Montreal
- 2009 Copenhagen
- 2013 Antwerp
Asia Pacific OutGames
The OutGames have really excelled in organising international annual LGBT sporting tournaments in South East Asia and Pacific. The last Asia Pacific OutGames were held in Wellington, New Zealand in 2011.