At Gay Games IV in New York of 1994, 38 percent of the participants were women, and at Games V in Amsterdam, their participation rate reached 42 percent. At both events organisers made a concerted effort to achieve gender parity, and while they didn’t quite achieve the desired number of women, there was always room for improvement at Gay Games VI.

At the moment, we’re hovering around the 29 to 30 percent mark, says Jackie Braw, Women’s Project Officer for Sydney 2002. We’re expecting that the locals -“ and that includes New Zealand -“ will register late. But if we can convey in any way, shape or form that people should register now, that would be brilliant.

To this end, the Women’s Advisory Group (WAG) is hosting a lunch to support women’s involvement at Lovedale in the Hunter Valley on Saturday 18 May, as part of their Spread The Word campaign. Imagine a bus packed with happy lesbians for a two-hour drive north of Sydney. Once there, you’re treated to a lip-smacking three course lunch and complementary wine from four delightful wineries. There will also be an auction of fabulous prizes on the bus ride home, which should please even the most acquisitive among us!

The event is a fundraiser for the games, but WAG’s goals go beyond the scoring of the more sporty goals, including the provision of women-only spaces during the games.

We also have a free -˜hosted housing’ program available to all women, explains WAG member and luncheon organiser Helen Evans. Elements of this program include subsidised childcare in the -˜Olympic Village’ in Hyde Park from 7am to 7pm each day.

WAG will also offer scholarships to women on low incomes from Australia’s rural and regional areas and in Asia and the Pacific. The scholarships will provide a range of benefits, including covering accommodation costs where appropriate, plus living expenses.

Braw added that the Hunter Valley bus trip would have the added bonus of being escorted by Dykes On Bikes. They’re just so keen to be involved, she laughed. It’s really sweet. In fact, one of the prizes we’re auctioning off is a weekend away with the Dykes On Bikes to their mansion down south and that’s just the beginning. A dance party is also in the planning stages as part of the campaign.

If you can’t attend, but want to know more about Sydney 2002, Evans notes that we do have people available to come to your group and talk to you regarding participation; they can answer all your questions.

 

For more information about WAG, go to www.sydney2002.org.au or phone Jackie Braw at the Gay Games office on 9235 7040. Bookings to the lunch at Lovedale are essential.

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