Melbourne Deputy Lord Mayor Gary Singer has officially launched the Outgames in an intimate function at the city’s Town Hall.
In the historic Melbourne Room, Singer declared the combination of Outgames sporting event and human rights conference with the annual Midsumma gay and lesbian festival next year a “stroke of genius”.
“By staging and promoting this event, Melbourne can give confidence to the millions of people struggling for freedom across our region,” he said.
“We can keep national attention on inequalities we face right here in our own country. From Jakarta to Wellington, Darwin to Manila, Colombo to Prahran we will put on a great show.”
Registration for the sporting component of the Outgames has been open for more than a month, and co-president Peter Sagar said the response has been incredibly positive.
“We’ve got hundreds of registrations from all over the region,” he said.
“This covers every state and territory across Australia, New Zealand, throughout Asia, North America and Europe.”
Organisers are being tight-lipped about exact registration numbers, but it is believed two of the 12 sports are almost full and a number of others are heavily subscribed.
Sagar said he hoped the legacy of the inaugural event would be a more competitive and participatory GLBTI local sporting community.
“I believe it’s the first time we’ve been able to attract this many people for Midsumma’s sporting component,” he said.
“We hope this will leave Midsumma with a stronger sports tournament.”
Co-president Loraine Little said the event would also be a social milestone.
“At the end of January next year there will be no excuse for people not to have a good time here,” she said.
Cr Singer also announced Melbourne had been invited by the Lord Mayor of Copenhagen to be involved in the Out Cities exhibition to promote urban diversity and tolerance during the World Outgames to be staged in Copenhagen in 2009.
From bnews – www.bnews.net

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