Gay Games Brought Global Spotlight to Northeast Ohio in 2014
Clevelander Rob Smitherman grew-up with a passion for basketball. But, he says, as a gay man, he couldn't find a role model in the macho world of sports. In the 1990s, things started to change --- especially when the internet came along.
ROB SMITHERMAN: One day, I typed in "Gay Basketball", and all these things came up. And I found a team, and they were going to the 1998 Gay Games.
Fast forward to 2014, Smitherman played in and was associate director of this year's Gay Games. He said it's still a powerful experience.
ROB SMITHERMAN: People are accepting you as you are. The first time that you feel that, it's so affirming and so amazing.
The event was held in the Cleveland/Akron area, this past August, attracting 20,000 visitors from around the world who spent over 52-million-dollars at local hotels, restaurants and stores.