Gay Games seeks contributions for scholarship athletes

FGG seeks $20,000 to send additional deserving athletes and artists from Asia, Middle East, Africa and Central America to the 2010 Gay Games in Cologne, Germany

06 January, 2010

Scholarship athletes and artists point to their home countries at a special event before the 2006 Gay Games ©FGG
SAN FRANCISCO — Thirty four lesbian & gay athletes from countries as diverse as South Africa, China, Chile and The Philippines have even greater reason to celebrate the New Year. The international Federation of Gay Games has awarded scholarships to these 34 sports & cultural participants so they can attend and participate in the 2010 Gay Games in Cologne, Germany, from July 31 to August 7, 2010.

Ten additional deserving applicants from Indonesia, Jamaica, Mexico, Pakistan, Philippines, South Africa, and Sri Lanka have been approved, but won’t be able to go to Germany unless $20,000 in additional scholarship funds are raised. (Games Cologne is separately funding some athletes from Eastern Europe.) Contributions can be made online at www.gaygames.com.

“Many of these athletes face challenges that most of us will never experience,” said Paul Oostenbrug, co-chair of the FGG Scholarship Committee. “Where being openly gay or lesbian can risk life or limb, participating in the Gay Games may seem like a luxury. But the experience is extremely moving for them, and offers our scholarship athletes a chance to learn how the LGBT sports movement can be a vehicle for change in their own community. Without a full scholarship, participation would be impossible.”

Gay Games scholarships include travel, room and board, and waived registration fees, plus special leadership and organizational development programs designed to help participants build local capacity for LGBT sports & cultural programs. The FGG’s Scholarship Fund works in cooperation with the host city scholarship program. For the 2010 Gay Games, Games Cologne is separately funding as many as 200 participants from Eastern Europe. There were more than 100 scholarship recipients at the 2006 Gay Games in Chicago.

Approved and funded scholarship athletes are from countries like South Africa, Argentina, Chile, China, Jamaica, Kenya, Philippines, Taiwan, and Brazil, and include the Chosen FEW, the South African women’s soccer team that won people’s hearts – and a bronze medal – at the 2006 Gay Games in Chicago. The 10 athletes on the waiting list are from countries as diverse as Indonesia, Jamaica, Mexico, Pakistan, Philippines, South Africa, and Sri Lanka.

The ten “waiting list” applicants have been notified that their applications were approved but that the FGG lacks the funding to be able to bring them to Germany. The FGG has redoubled its efforts to secure the funding and is asking individuals and companies to make a donation to the FGG Scholarship Fund so that the final group of athletes on the waiting list can be fully funded. If more than $20,000 is donated, additional scholarships may be awarded, or the FGG will use the funds to support Games Cologne’s efforts in Eastern Europe.

“We ask that everyone with the ability to donate make a contribution this holiday season,” said Oostenbrug. “$30 pays for one night’s housing. $250 covers one person’s participation fees, and $1,600 will fully sponsor one athlete.” – Issued by Gay Games

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