Gay Games Kick Off in Cleveland, Ohio

Human Rights Campaign

Gay Games 9 is off to an epic start in the heartland of America, and HRC has had an unprecedented presence.  Nearly 8,000 athletes from over 65 countries have converged on Cleveland + Akron to participate in nearly 40 sporting events from cycling and rowing, to ice hockey and bodybuilding.

The official Opening Ceremonies kicked off last evening with the parade of nations and states at Quicken Loan Arena - home of Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.  Blue and gold equality flags could be seen throughout the march.  President Obama delivered a surprise video address and long-time HRC friend Senator Sherrod Brown and his wife Connie Schultz gave the opening remarks.  It was a historic moment for the Games.  U.S. Olympic champion Greg Louganis inspired the athletes with his words, and former N*Sync band member Lance Bass entertained the crowd of nearly 20,000 spectators.

This morning, HRC and our army of local volunteers hosted the official opening brunch in partnership with Paladar Latin Kitchen & Rum Bar. Several hundred members dined on fabulous Latin foods from around and celebrated the successful start of the Games.

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Gay Games Kick Off in Cleveland, Ohio »