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The 1st World Outgames in Montreal

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DanielMark:
Outgames seeks social change through sports

Montreal's Outgames
 
CTV.ca News Staff
 
Wed. Jul. 26 2006

The 1st World Outgames began in Montreal Wednesday evening, marking a  milestone in the history of the gay and lesbian community.

The games will run from July 26 to Aug. 5, and will kick off with the International Conference on LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) Human Rights.

The conference will run from July 26 to 29, and will bring together 2,000 delegates from every continent and more than 100 countries around the world.

It will include 200 workshops and discussions led by internationally recognized human rights leaders, scholars and trade organizations.

"Countries like Britain, Canada, the U.S., where we are progressive in terms of our rights ... we have to be showing the way to other countries," Waheed Ali, a member of the U.K. House of Lords and a keynote speaker at the conference, told CTV Montreal.

"We have to give encouragement to gay and lesbian men and women throughout the world, and say 'look, we've been able to achieve this, we can help you, we want to help you, we want to empower you too."

The list of keynote speakers at the conference includes Alice Nkom, a lawyer who is currently defending 11 men imprisoned for being gay in Cameroon, Walter Schubert, founder of the Gay Financial Network and the New York Stock Exchange's first openly gay member, and Ashok Row Kavi, HIV activist and founder of Bombay Dost, India's first official gay magazine.

Tennis champion Martina Navratilova and Canadian Olympian Mark Tewksbury will also be involved in the conference, presenting the Declaration of Montreal, a document drafted as a demand to the United Nations for action on human rights for the LGBT community around the world.

The workshops will include subjects such as Transgender People in the Workplace and Real and Perceived Barriers to Being Out in Pro Sports.

The close of the conference will precede the opening ceremonies of the sports and culture component of the games.

The events are open to competitors of all sexual orientation, and will include 35 disciplines for participants ranging from seasoned athletes to recreational participants.

"There are no minimum athletic standards to qualify for the Outgames. The only requirement is the desire to support the ideals of the Outgames," reads the games website.

The cultural events will include competitions in the areas of music, dance and social activities.

The slogan of the Outgames is "social change through sport."

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