Friendship is the name of the game for Dianne Jackson – the Outgames participant was able to make it to the Wellington Outgames event today for a very special reason.

Jackson’s air fares and entry fees were paid for by two members from the Green Island Bowling Club in Dunedin, Lisa and Sarah.

The sponsorship was a a thank you of sorts, Dianne said, for her support of the women. “[They paid for my fees] so I could see them play and play with them.”

Dianne has been bowling for 15 years – and when 12 out lesbian women arrived at her Dunedin club for a ‘have a go’ night, she took them under her wing.

“The whole club really embraced the girls,” Jackson said.

“There are a lot of people at the club in their 70s and this was the first time they had really been exposed to gay people – but their acceptance of the gay community has been fantastic.

“A lot of these people from that age group can be old codgers – but these guys have been great.”

While Dianne wasn’t out when the women joined her team, she said her new club members soon figured it out.

“We were all telling her that we were going to [the Outgames] but we weren’t sure how it would be received,” one team mate said.

In response to that, Dianne just laughed. “If I wasn’t out before, I’m out now!” she said.

Sixteen people from Green Island Bowling Club were at the Outgames today, competing under the team name Purple Passions.

| Anna Loren,

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