The International Federation of Gay Games (FGG) has announced Orlando as the only U.S. city to clear the first round of site selection for the 10th edition of the Gay Games. Orlando is one of seven cities to be formally considered for hosting the games. According to the FGG, the other six cities are from the European and South American continents and include: Amsterdam, Limerick, London, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, and Sao Paulo.
Converge Orlando, Inc., the official LGBT Convention and Visitors Bureau of Orlando, has been working for months to bring the games to the Central Florida in an effort to help the local economy and bring a change in equality rights to the state.
“Florida still lags most of the country on gay and lesbian rights. Orlando and Orange County officials are making huge progress towards equal rights in spite of many state and federal obstacles,” said Mikael Frank Audebert, Executive Director of Converge. “We are fortunate that our leaders here are courageous and far-sighted.”
Local city and county officials say they are on board bringing the games to the area.
“The City of Orlando is proud to support the bid for the 2018 Gay Games,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer. “The Gay Games will build on our City’s strong foundation of diversity, equality and tolerance, while bringing thousands of people to our community for the week-long event.”
City of Orlando as well as Orange and Volusia County officials say domestic partnership legislation is now on the books. Human Rights Ordinances and Domestic Partner benefits have been achieved in several surrounding Central Florida cities and counties. Large employee resource groups and/or diversity councils are active at major local employers including Disney, Universal, Symantec, Darden, and Wells Fargo Bank.
Orlando Marketing Director Paul Queen said, “Two of the applicants will be recent Summer Olympic hosts, London and Rio. So maybe it is okay to be seen as the underdog. But the bulk of the participants are American, and the highest attendance locations have also been in the US, so we do have that in our favor. Our great domestic and international air connections help our bid a lot as does our comparative low travel and lodging costs for participants.”
The FGG says the next step is the release of the Request for Proposal document which details the documents required from the bidders, due in February 2013. FGG officials add that only three cities will make it to the site selection meeting in 2013 in Cleveland, the host of the next edition of the Gay Games in 2014, where members will pick one as the host for the games in 2018.
Converge officials say there is a host city information session on August 19-20, 2012 during the Federation of Gay Games General Assembly in Sophia, Bulgaria. The LGBT Convention and Visitors Bureau is sending three representatives.
Source: Travel Out