Building Bridges Conference

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The Building Bridges for the Future of LGBT Sports Conference was held in London on February 12-13 2005 and was organised by Ivan from Out for Sport, and held in partnership with the Federation of Gay Games (FGG). Its aim was stated “to allow representatives throughout the LGBT sports community to meet and talk about the opportunities and challenges for the future” – but it was really trying to heal the rift between the FGG and GLISA (the Gay and Lesbian International Sports Association who host the OutGames). Plans for the conference were first announced at the conclusion of the Federation’s annual meeting in November 2004.

Roger Brigham, Director of Communications for the FGG said “Our international Board of Directors, representing many longstanding LGBT sports organizations that have contributed for years to the growth and development of the global LGBT sports movement, made their feelings very well known at our recent annual meeting. After more than 20 years of unprecedented growth in LGBT sports, and some confusion because of two major multi-sport events set for 2006, they felt now was the time to have an open, candid discussion among representatives from throughout the LGBT sports community to address the needs and the direction the community should take to build the future after 2006.”

Offers to host the conference came from London, Berlin, Munich and Washington DC. The international FGG Board believed it important that the event take place in a city with no previously expressed intent to bid for a global multi-sport event after 2006. With the subsequent withdrawal of the offer by Munich and the 2010 Gay Games VIII bidding process already under way, the FGG Executive Committee chose London as the conference site, given its accessibility for European and North American participants.

Invitations were extended to many organisations including the two dozen groups serving on the international FGG Board of Directors as well as the European Gay and Lesbian Sports Federation (EGLSF), the Gay and Lesbian International Sports Association (GLISA), and the Gay and Lesbian Sports Foundation (GLAF). EGLSF and GLISA were contacted regarding the meeting dates and asked to submit issues for the agenda, to be finalised by the facilitator.