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2006 Notebook

News, Notes and Photos from Chicago

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(This story was published in 2006).

TODAY - FRIDAY, JULY 14

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l The weather looks to be brutal in Chicago this weekend and next week, with the heat index climbing over 100. Better bring your SPF30 sun screen! - CZ

l USA Today: "Former NFL player Tuaolo feels ‘free' to participate." Tuaolo, as the article says, will be playing football with Team Outsports (Jim and Cyd organized the team). By the way, the author of this article, Ross Forman, will be contributing to Outsports' Gay Games coverage next week. - CZ

l Trash talking is in full swing in flag football. In the article about Tuaolo, Chicago Flames captain Will Ward lays down some smack: "I hope he's not ashamed to be on the team that wins the silver (medal), because we're gonna win it all." Gosh, thanks Will. At least now I'll be ready when your team crushes us. Thanks for the warning! - CZ

l While most of the participants at the Gay Games are from North America, dozens of countries are represented. That includes a lesbian softball team from Taiwan, MoreLes. They are here in part thanks to the Gay Games scholarship, which is also helping participants from Uruguay, Croatia, India, Chile, Tanzania, Kenya, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka and China.

We caught up with their captain, Amy Fu, earlier this week:

Outsports: How long has your team played together?
Fu: MoreLes Softball Team is the only existing lesbian softball team in Taiwan. It was established in November 2001. We practice every Sunday for three-and-a-half hours.

OS: Have you or anyone else on the team been to the Gay Games before?
Fu: Yes, five of us actually participated in Sydney 2002 women's basketball event. That was the first time the flag of Taiwan appeared at the Gay Games. I was the captain and also the organizer for that team as well. Since 2004 we have been promoting the Gay Games among the gay and lesbian communities in Taiwan by sharing our experiences.

OS: What are you most looking forward to about the Gay Games?
Fu: I am a competitor. Other than taking our team up the international level, I am looking forward to meeting local Asian gay people and players on other teams. This will be an awesome chance for me and my teammates to do some cultural exchange and bring the experiences back to Taiwan.

OS: Is the Taiwanese culture generally accepting of gays and lesbians?
Fu: No. In 2002, a week before departure to Sydney, one of the basketball players had to drop out because her parents found out her sexual orientation. She was locked-up and communication was cut off. Fortunately, this year everyone was able to make it. Many of our players have no choice but to live away from home because they don't want to risk the chance of being found out by their family. My girlfriend, who is the manager for the team, came out to her parents. They practically disowned her and simply don't want to hear anything about "it". So it's a big taboo in Taiwanese culture. Although there had been gay parade or gay pride events sponsored by the Taipei government in the past five years, we are still very much underground at work and at home.

OS: What are the laws surrounding gays and lesbians in Taiwan? Are they protected from discrimination?
Fu: I believe there is no law protecting us from discrimination against gay and lesbians. The media often associate homosexuals with murder cases, sex, AIDS, drugs, and other illegal activities with much negative exaggeration.

OS: Are there other gay sports teams in Taiwan?
Fu: There might be some gay swimmers coming to compete. But we didn't correspond after I gave them the information.

Their team plays Monday at 9:10am and 12:40pm and Tuesday at 10:20am. - CZ