Sydney Star Observer: Melbourne goes gay for summer (Nov 8)

Thursday, November 8, 2007


Clear your calendar in January and February 2008 and have your sunscreen, cameras and racquets at the ready: Melbourne’s biggest queer sporting event is about to arrive. The annual Midsumma Festival and Pride March will join forces with the inaugural Asia Pacific Outgames (the latter to be held from 30 January to 3 February) to form one giant cultural, sporting and political celebration.

There’ll be competition in 12 sports: badminton, dancesport, field hockey, lawn bowls, rowing, running, squash, swimming, tenpin bowling, tennis, volleyball and water polo.

Outgames co-president Peter Sagar says these sports were chosen because of the strength of the Melbourne clubs, which will host the competition and provide teams as well as officials.

The decision, Sagar says, was also based on numbers.

“A regional or continental Outgames is to be smaller with eight to 12 sports than a world Outgames which may have 25 and more,” he said.

Although registrations are not yet final, up to 3,000 competitors are expected from within Australia and overseas.

Outgames will include a two-day human rights conference. Two keynote speakers have been announced. Rosanna Flamer-Caldera, from Sri Lanka, is the co-secretary-general of the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) and Dede Oetomo is an Indonesian academic, AIDS activist and health worker.

Already both the sporting events and conference have attracted interest from across the Asia-Pacific region, in particular New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, India, China and Taiwan.

The organisation has instigated a Champions program with representatives in various Australian cities and across the Asia-Pacific region to promote the event and encourage participants to attend, especially those who face severe discrimination in their home countries.

For more information about registering to compete, volunteer, or become a sponsor, and event times and dates, visit or the QSAM website,