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22 LGBTQ+ athletes represent New Zealand at the Gay Games

Proud to Play NZ – Media Release
22 LGBTQ+ athletes represent New Zealand at the Gay Games

Gay Games – Paris 2018

The Gay Games are an international sporting and cultural event held every four years and one of the world's largest sporting and cultural events.

Launched in 1982, the Games invite participation from all athletes—regardless of sexual orientation, race, gender identity, sex, religion, nationality, ethnic origin, political beliefs, athletic or artistic ability, age, physical challenge or health status. The Games offer a safe environment for LGBT competitors and are open to anyone 18 years or older. Typically, about 10% of participants are non-LGBT, often friends and family who participate to show their support. The first Gay Games was held in San Francisco in 1983.

This year Paris are hosting the 10th Gay Games and more than 10,000 athletes from 90 countries, will compete in 36 sports.

New Zealand LGBTQ+ athletes have been attending these events since the beginning and this year 22 athletes represented New Zealand.

New Zealand’s strong culture of sports has often led to discrimination and lack of involvement from the LGBTQ+ community. However throughout New Zealand there are a number of sports groups who meet regularly to practice and compete with neighbouring teams.

Proud to Play, which is a charity in New Zealand to promote these types of events, was setup in 2016 when Auckland hosted it’s own Asia Pacific inclusive games.

Canterbury of NZ has supported the athletes by providing them with their team kit included branded T-Shirts, bags, shorts and other training clothing.

Craig Watson, founder of Proud to Play has praised Canterbury of NZ for supporting this community saying, “it is organisations like these, getting in behind these athletes, that really give them a sense of mana and give them the drive to do well and make New Zealand proud”.

“We are committed to the game and that also means a commitment to diversity in the game. We are proud and excited to support the team in Paris and wish them the best of luck at this wonderful event” says Managing Director of our APAC region, Jamie Meikleham

The Gay Games opened on Saturday 4 August and will continue through until the 12 August.

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