Under the banner “Love of Freedom, Freedom to Love”, the 2009 World Outgames in Copenhagen will be a celebration of the global GLBT community with flair, frill and festivity – focusing on sport, culture and human rights.
The Games will cater for 38 sport disciplines at the event, ranging from tennis and swimming to the more obscure like roller racing and the popular winter sport, curling.
While the Melbourne Outgames concentrate upon the Asia-Pacific, the Outgames in Copenhagen have global focus, having the majority of their participants from Europe, North America as well as Australia.
As well as the official competition, event coordinators have organised workshops for region-specific sports such as open water and pétanque to be taught to unfamiliar cultures.
“We are hoping that in exchanging sports, groups will exchange ideas and issues facing their respective communities. It’s all about coming together and learning from one another,” World Outgames Sports Director Tommy Kristoffersen told SSO.
“In my experience, when people meet, something happens … new networks form and people from around the world inspire each other.
“Contestants can register individually, but also in teams with participants from other countries. Sport brings with it an incomparable camaraderie … the perfect vehicle for global change.”
The event is not limited to sport-related activity. Art, dance, design, fashion, film, literature, music, theatre and other performing arts events will also be sprawled all over the culturally enriched city with contributions of registered artists from all over the world.
Project Out Cities, the cultural component of the event, will see cities from around the world exhibiting their art, education and entertainment to produce an atmosphere of diversity, tolerance, understanding and inclusion. Melbourne has accepted their invitation to represent the Asia-Pacific at this gathering.
The year 2009 marks the 40-year anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion that saw the spontaneous protest against prejudice and brutality in New York City and the 20-year anniversary of the legal recognition of homosexual partnerships in Denmark – milestones in the community.
“It’s like the Olympics in 3-D, where sport is accompanied by two equally important dimensions: a wide-ranging cultural program and a carefully calculated human rights conference focusing on issues important to the GLBT community,” event director Uffe Elbaek said.
As a follow-up to the Montréal Declaration, a primary objective of the human rights conference in Copenhagen will be to gather and disseminate good practices and tools for promoting diversity and tolerance.
More than 1,000 delegates from around the world are expected to attend with strategic partners including Amnesty international, Institute for Human Rights and IBM. Preliminary topics and themes include homophobia in sports and business and the status of the gay liberation movement across the globe.
With a minimum of 6,500 athletes alone expected to compete in Copenhagen from at least 80 different nations world wide, all interested applicants must be diligent with registrations, flights, accommodation and all other arrangements.
“In Montréal registrations for sailing and swimming closed in less than 15 hours and will be even faster next year,” regional representatives told SSO.
For further details and newsletter visit www.copenhagen2009.org.