Sunday, July 30, 2006

Out Games: Out of Touch?

So this may be my ignorance, but I really don't understand the Out Games. So I've looked into it. According to the website,

The Event: Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Sport has the power to transcend culture, nationality, religion – in essence,“difference”. It levels the playing field; not just in sport,in life. It brings people together in a way unlike any other activity, breaking down barriers and building bridges.

From 26 July to 5 August 2006, the 1st World Outgames will do just that,bringing together lesbian, gay,bisexual,and transgender (LGBT) athletes from around the world in unprecedented numbers for a celebration of sport, culture and human rights.In the spirit of true inclusiveness, the Outgames are open to all,regardless of sexual orientation; all are welcome to participate.
Then, from 30 July to 5 August, the Outgames sport programme will offer competitions in 35 disciplines, with events for everyone from seasoned athletes to recreational players. The culture programme will bring participants together for 6 distinct musical, dance and social activities. Expertly organised events in world-class venues – get ready to shine!

The list of sports seem to be the same that all heterosexuals can participate (other than Outsplash...not sure on that one)

And the goals of the program are:

The Participants
The plan established provides for 16,000 participants in sports, culture and the conference.

Based on the principles of Participation and Celebration, Respect and Fairness, Innovation, Diversity and Empowerment (PRIDE), the games welcome everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation, age, gender, race, religion, nationality, ethnicity, physical challenge, political beliefs, physical ability, athletic/artistic skills or HIV/ health status. There are no minimum athletic standards to qualify for the Outgames. The only requirement is the desire to support the ideals of the Outgames. People with specific needs or disabilities are integrated as full-fledged participants, volunteers, officials and spectators. By accepting the Outgames' challenge, all Outgames participants automatically become winners.

The Outgames are a safe and accepting environment where participants may express themselves openly and enjoy the camaraderie and rewards of sport, culture and art. In fact, the experience can be the highlight of a lifetime!

As individuals, participants celebrate personal achievement; as a collective, we experience group solidarity and celebrate the diversity and scope of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities. Through the athletic and cultural activities of the Outgames, stereotypes are challenged and barriers broken down.

Ok so that's great and all, but I don't understand the big kafuffle KD Lang is making about Harper not making an appearance:

MONTREAL -- Prime Minister Stephen Harper has chosen to "support intolerance'' by refusing to attend an international gathering of gay athletes, singer k.d. lang said Friday.

lang was critical of her fellow Albertan for failing to support the World Outgames, which is expected to attract up to 13,000 gay, bisexual and transgendered athletes when it begins Saturday.

"It's a sad statement that the national leader of a country that's one of the most progressive countries in the world chooses to support intolerance,'' she told a news conference at the Olympic Stadium.

But lang added that the gay community shouldn't take Harper's absence personally.

"It's our job to see that as an unfortunate ignorance, rather than as a statement against us,'' she said. "It's just that he hasn't got there in his heart.''

I'm sorry, but K.D. you're way out of touch with reality. Just because a PM doesn't show up to an event with gay people doesn't mean he's intolerant. If the PM was from the Liberal party and was unable to attend, would there really have been this much attention on the PM not being able to make an appearance?

Why is it that if Harper doesn't show up to the Highland Games that the Scots don't make statements that hit the newspapers. Or if the PM does not attend the World Lacrosse Championship or World Inline (both held here in London this summer and two summers ago) he's not labelled "ignorant". But if he doesn't show up to an event with gay people he's labelled a "intolerant"? or in liberal terms: anti-gay.

Shane at The High Places has an interesting perspective on it as well:

I mean, really. It is ignorant for the Federal Government to show up grinning at the stupidly concieved [sic] “Outgames“? I don’t think so. We are talking about an event for people who have no handicap, who should have no reason why they cannot compete in the Olympics, having their own “special” olympics. What were they thinking in making this up? I mean it creates a perception that homosexuals have some kind of handicap that prevents them from competing with heterosexuals. It also creates a perception that homosexuals are not welcome to compete at the Olympics. As far as I know, they are. If they weren’t you can be sure that homosexuals everywhere would be protesting the “bigoted” IOC for forbidding their participation. Since that isn’t happening I think I am safe in saying they are welcome.

I know the issue is deeper than this because of the 'human rights issues' and the issues faced by homosexuals of feeling like outsiders in a "heterosexist" world.

Let me be clear, I believe that homosexuals are born that way, and I believe you can't help who you are attracted to, but I am getting tired of the "gay" events that taxpayers and politicians have to support or they are criticized.

We don't know the exact origins of sexuality, therefore people are also entitled to their beliefs (religious or not), and it is a sensitive issue. I think the key is mutual respect. As with same-sex marriage, there needs to be mutual respect. As stated,

In regards to a “separate but equal” partnership registration, a Law Commission in New Zealand states,

This is not to require gays and lesbians to be content with an inferior, second-class institution. Toleration of diversity is a two-way street. If there is available to same sex couples a system of registered partnerships conferring rights and obligations virtually identical to those resulting from marriage then gays and lesbians should be prepared to acknowledge that they are not harmed by a legal code designed to avoid giving what may be seen as gratuitous offence to those for whom matrimony is a holy estate (Kitzinger and Wilkinson, 2004:180).

Unfortunately, the GLBT community, they are making a lot of demands for their respect but not considering that they truly do not have a right to make many of the demands that they make. More on this later.

I wrote a 30 page (9000 word) paper on SSM in the Spring, so I know a lot of the issue, but can't comment on it all right now.

Hat Tip: The High Places


Blogger Temujin said...

Greg Louganis did quite well at the Olympics in 1982, 1984, and 1988. I think those victories speak more to the equality of homosexuals than having a separate Gay Olympics.

Although Louganis did take part in the Gay Games in 1994, no one remembers that. They all remember him cracking his skull on the board during a dive, and then coming back and still winning the gold medal.

Sun Jul 30, 12:27:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Humble Beginnings said...

Harper not showing does not mean he's intolerant. I mean harper didn't show up to my ordination but that doesn't mean he's against religion.

Tue Aug 01, 10:27:00 AM EDT  

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