Making Points at Gay Games Both Sides of Gay Rights Debate See Competition as Chance to Spread Message

By Malone, Tara | Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), July 14, 2006 | Go to article overview

Making Points at Gay Games Both Sides of Gay Rights Debate See Competition as Chance to Spread Message


Malone, Tara, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)


Byline: Tara Malone Daily Herald Staff Writer

Jeff Wedig never missed a vault.

Every time his son Chris took a turn on the parallel bars or competed for a high school gymnastics title, the Round Lake man watched from the stands.

Wedig returns to the bleachers this weekend, watching his now openly gay, 30-year-old son take part in the Gay Games, held for the first time in Chicago at what organizers and opponents alike call a critical - and controversial - time in the gay-rights movement.

Bans against same-sex marriage have fueled debate and, in some cases, legal action, in Congress and 19 states, including, most recently, Illinois. The mere fact that HIV-positive athletes needed special consideration to get into the country - where immigration law bars entry to any foreigner with HIV - seemed more discrimination than precaution to some health officials.

Such issues take a back seat to the real draw of the Gay Games in Wedig's eyes: his son, Chris, who will vie for medals in bowling and volleyball.

"It's important for me to watch my son compete in a sport," Wedig said. "It's a thing a dad does whether it's the Gay Games or not."

Still, the weeklong event expected to draw 11,500 athletes - homosexual and heterosexual alike - from 65 countries, shoulders a significance beyond any routine athletic tournament or pick-up game.

Like Jackie Robinson in baseball and Billie Jean King in tennis, athletes in the Gay Games hope to shatter biases that dog the gay and lesbian community nearly a quarter century after the games began.

"The fact is racism, sexism and homophobia still exist," said Tracy Baim, co-vice chair of the Gay Games Chicago board and publisher of Chicago-based Windy City Times. "The stereotype is all lesbians play sports and all gay men don't. The Gay Games helps break down those stereotypes."

And the Games help put Chicago on the gay rights map, Baim said, citing a perception of Illinois as a "fly-over state."

Controversy drove the weeklong games to Chicago. A dispute between the Federation of Gay Games and the city of Montreal, initially named as the host, spurred federation officials to switch host cities two years ago. Montreal responded by deciding to host its own international gay sports event - the Outgames - later this month.

Regardless of the location, both champions and critics of gay rights see the events as an opportunity to spread their beliefs.

For some in the Chicago area, the message is that the games promote immoral behavior, even though the participants themselves deserve love and respect.

The Illinois Family Institute - architects of the proposed same- sex marriage ban that remains under review by the state election board - plans a weeklong "truth and love offensive" complete with lectures, debates and street ministry outside a gay-friendly gym and social club in Chicago's Boystown neighborhood.

"The message is compassion, the message is loving people but not loving homosexuality," said Peter LaBarbera, executive director of the Glen Ellyn-based group. "This is absolutely an opportunity to present another side."

Others cast a different view, sticking to a theme of inclusiveness, of recognizing gay and lesbian athletes who work, compete and play much like everyone else.

"It's one of the hardest things in this movement ... convincing people gay people do things just like normal people. They get up, they go to work, they do their business," said west suburban resident John Cepek, vice-president of the national Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays organization.

Crystal Lake is likely to see the biggest splash.

Some 70 rowers will compete Sunday in the city, a location that drew the ire of many suburban residents this spring when hundreds packed Crystal Lake park board meetings to weigh in on the local competition. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Making Points at Gay Games Both Sides of Gay Rights Debate See Competition as Chance to Spread Message
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.