The local organizers of next year's Gay Games have launched a campaign designed to present Northeast Ohio as a gay-friendly region. ideastream's David C. Barnett reports it's partly an attempt to counter some of the negative publicity that Cleveland has generated - much of which has gone global.
The Gay Games are an Olympic-style sporting competition that were launched in San Francisco in 1982 as a way of promoting inclusion in sports. Local Gay Games executive director Thomas Nobbe says all are welcome, regardless of skill.
THOMAS NOBBE: We refer to people who register as "participants" and not "competitors".
Organizers are expecting about 10,000 people from around the world who will be participating in over 35 sports and cultural events in Cleveland and Akron, next August. But, recent news reports have raised questions about safety in Northeast Ohio --- everything from an assault at a local gay bar, to last Spring's story about three women freed from a decade of captivity. So, Tom Nobbe says a special outreach campaign was devised
THOMAS NOBBE: This campaign was really a way to say to folks who may have read something somewhere about Cleveland: "Is it safe? Am I going to be safe there?" To say: Absolutely you are. Not only safe, but you're going to feel the love.
That love starts with a postcard. Everyone who is registered for the Games will be mailed a personal greeting from Northeast Ohio, welcoming them here.
The global governing body of the Gay Games will be having its annual meeting in Cleveland, this weekend. Among those present will be representatives from London, Paris and Limerick, Ireland--- the three cities vying to host the 2018 Games.