Thirty-four lesbian and gay athletes from countries as diverse as South Africa, China, Chile and the Philippines have an even greater reason to celebrate the New Year: the international Federation of Gay Games (FGG) recently awarded them scholarships so they can attend and participate in the 2010 Gay Games in Cologne, Germany.
The news isn’t all so good though — 10 additional deserving applicants from Indonesia, Jamaica, Mexico, Pakistan, the 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 via donations from the public.
“Many of these athletes face challenges that most of us will never experience,” the co-chair of the FGG Scholarship Committee, Paul Oostenbrug, said in a statement.
“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 organisational development programs designed to help participants build local capacity for LGBT sports and cultural programs.
The 10 ‘waiting list’ applicants have been notified that their applications were approved but that the FGG lacks the funds to be able to bring them to Germany.
“We ask that everyone with the ability to donate make a contribution this holiday season,” Oostenbrug said. “Thirty dollars pays for one night’s housing. $250 covers one person’s participation fees, and $1,600 will fully sponsor one athlete.”
Contributions can be made online at

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