To: Federation of Gay Games Board, Assembly and HLMs

Re: Discussions at 2011 Toronto FGG Annual Meeting 13 October 2011 Dear FGG Colleagues,

Wrestlers WithOut Borders has held discussions regarding many of the motions and actions that will be on the agenda in Toronto with our delegates so that we have clear organizational consensus. But there are specific points we wish to share with our colleagues. I will be brief.

1QE: We categorically oppose any change to the name "Gay Games" and/or addition of conferences to the main event. We are particularly conscious of the importance of the Gay Games to low-income athletes who raise funds and use up scant vacation days to attend the Gay Games. We need to assure them that we are providing a low cost, sports intensive experience and not using their money and time to subsidize conferences. There are many suitable LGBT human rights groups who would be eager to conduct sports-rights conferences that could be held in a time and location to enhance the Gay Games without financial imposition on Gay Games athletes and artists. We will not support subsidize conferences through athlete registrations, host resources, or FGG bandwidth.

Site selection: As a member of the General Assembly with the legal voting rights that entails, we oppose any move that will give site selection voice to non-Assembly/Board members.

Core sports: There is consideration within the Sports Committee of changing the language on Gay Games sports, substituting something such as "Strongly Recommended" for what is currently "Core Sports." WWB opposes this move. We want the designation "core" to be kept.

There are clear implications to the word "core" which are missing when another word is used. We feel it is important for potential hosts to understand the "core" nature of these sports and what they mean to guarantee our events have the athletic diversity we strive for. Removing the word "core" would make it more likely that important sports with strong Gay Games traditions, especially the "small number" individual sports such as wrestling, martial arts, figure skating, physique and powerlifting, would end up being dropped by hosts less attuned to the unique diversity of Gay Games recreational sports.

Neither the importance of that athletic diversity, nor the strength of the commitment these sports bring, can be overstated. Both may be easily misunderstood with those not well versed in the behind-the-scenes aspect of Gay Games sport. In most cases, these sports offer an opportunity to excel for athletes who do not fit in psychologically or physically with size/speed-based team or mass participation sports. Yet they also offer some of the most demanding physical challenges in the LGBT sports world. We have already seen what happened to these sports in Copenhagen, Montreal and, to a lesser degree, Cologne, with hosts not as attuned or committed to that diversity as the FGG has been. We should strengthen our sports program language, not dilute it.

Give and take: The most comprehensive community "directives" the FGG has ever received regarding the future of the Gay Games as the premiere quadrennial global LGBT sports and cultural festival were the participant surveys taken in 2003 and 2010, which overwhelmingly supported the historic Gay Games model and experience. The blueprint for maintaining that was expressed in the Image of the Gay Games paper adopted by the board in 2003. In addition to being clear in their support of the Gay Games sports and cultural programs, the surveys and the Image of the Gay Games paper were also clear that they were actively opposed to the addition of conferences as prominent components of the Gay Games.

WWB is proud of wrestling's involvement with the Gay Games. It is the only sport that has been sanctioned at every Gay games and this has provided through the years an effective means of engaging the mainstream federations and changing the attitudes and perceptions of their members. WWB was formed 20 years ago in order to help organize the Gay Games wrestling tournament and to share in the year-round responsibilities of producing the Games and their supporting policies. Our members have contributed far more money, material donations, volunteer hours and board service to the Federation than to our own organization or members. We have supplied the Federation with the best technicology skills of our members to build and maintain Federation communications. We have been active participants in some of the most ground-breaking work of the Gay Games sports program, including the launch of women's wrestling and the inclusion of transgender wrestlers, and have been active in every policy development, from anti-doping in sports to strategic planning for the Federation itself.

So we are not the lunatic fringe in raising the issues we raise. We are solid Gay Games supporters in every sense of the word and proud of our history with the Games.

In the recent teleconference discussion on 2018, questions were raised by other parties as to what does GLISA bring and what does GLISA want vis a vis 1QE. We believe those are vital questions that must be answered before any joint project can be undertaken, but two even more important questions that have not been addressed are what do Gay Games supporters and participants want, and what are they unwilling to give up?

What we want, what we have had, are fun, well-organized ceremonies and cultural events to share in celebration with our fellow athletes. What we want, what we have had, is the ability to choose hosts who can run relatively low-cost affairs that enable representative participation from all parts of our community demographics and athletic diversity. What we want, what we have had, are deep, highly competitive fields in every sport, run not by the rules of a mainstream sports lacking our commitment to hammer away at homophobic restrictions (as in figure skating) and elitist barriers to the physically handicapped or health-impacted. We want affordable, inclusive sports run by ourselves, according to our needs, our perspectives, our sensibilities.

Those are things we are unwilling to give up. Those are the things that have made us loyal and passionate about the Gay Games. Those are the things we have seen lacking under the WOG model thus far. They are the things for which we shall fight the fiercest.

On behalf of WWB,

Roger Brigham

Chairman, Wrestlers WithOut Borders