Reprinted by permission from Boom. Any claims about participation numbers are not endorsed by Outsports.
Participant and volunteer registration for the 2016 North American Continental OutGames kicked off this week with early bird fees in effect until Feb. 15.
Three to five thousand lesbian gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) and allied participants from across North America are expected to meet in St. Louis May 28 - June 4, 2016 for this dynamic event, to be held at venues in and around the Metro area.
In April 2014, the St. Louis Equality Games LLC, a subsidiary of Team Saint Louis, Inc., was officially awarded the quadrennial sporting, human rights and cultural event to be held in the Gateway City, host of the 1904 Summer Olympic Games. The Gay and Lesbian International Sports Association (GLISA) is the governing body responsible for sanctioning World OutGames every four years and Continental OutGames on the intervening years.
The 2016 North American OutGames is being held in partnership with the City of St. Louis, St. Louis County, as well as the St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission and the St. Louis Sports Commission.
The LGBT gathering will include a multi-event sports competition, on-going cultural celebrations and a three-day human rights conference. The mission of the OutGames is to create an experience that will honor diversity, celebrate athletic accomplishment, facilitate learning, and inspire action, with a ton of fun sprinkled across the entire week.
The Equality Games Board of Directors believes that shared ideas grow in strength: "It is our hope that as attendees participate in various seminars, workshops, sporting events and fun, they will undoubtedly foster or strengthen a sense of community and belonging which then will inspire positive change within their own communities," said organizers.
The 2016 North American OutGames website (www.naoutgames2016.org) provides detailed information, including OutGames venues, the sporting competition calendar, Human Rights Conference and various cultural event details.
MEET US IN ST. LOUIS
The 2016 North America OutGames unfolds with the pageantry, excitement and camaraderie of the Opening Ceremonies at America's Center on May 28. Ceremonies will include a parade of participants, music, special guests, welcome addresses and more.
The week-long festival of sports, human rights and culture will culminate with Closing Ceremonies to congratulate all the participants and medalists at the riverfront along Leonor K. Sullivan Blvd on June 4th.
Also featured throughout the week will be the OutGames Village located at historic Union Station in the downtown corridor. The Village will provide a natural gathering space for the athletes and participants to relax post-competition. This venue will provide an entertainment stage, the central results point, medal ceremonies venue and a great social environment.
Continuing the reputation of conferences on the state of human rights for LGBTQIA+ people around the globe, this event will present a conference addressing pressing social issues specific and current to the LGBTQIA+ community in North America. According to organizers, an evaluation of the 2011 Vancouver and 2013 Antwerp conferences will inform the committee by providing lessons learned and best practices to further improve upon this event.
The Human Rights Conference at the 2016 North America OutGames will take place May 31 - June 2, 2016 and will include key note speakers, break-out sessions and events that are associated with national, regional and local human rights organizations and/or are recognized as pioneers of particular topics of interest. The venue for the Conference will be held primarily at the Marriott St. Louis Grand Hotel.
St. Louis is the first U.S. city to host the North America OutGames. Previous OutGames host cities include Calgary and Vancouver, respectively.
General registration for the 2016 North American OutGames starts at $50 per person and will increase to $70 on Feb. 16. Volunteers are encouraged to register at no charge.
Registration for individual events is separate from general registration. Athletic events include:
10K Run (5/31) - Forest Park
5K Run (6/2) - Tower Grove Park
Billiards (6/1-6/3) - Pink Galleon Billiards and Games
Bowling (5/31-6/3) - Tropicana Lanes
Cycling (5/31-6/2) - Corondelet Park
Dance Sport (6/1-6/3) - Moolah Shrine
Darts (5/29) - R-Bar; (5/30) - Just John
Flag Football (6/1-6/2) - Cricket Field/Forest ParkOutGamesarticle2article
Golf (5/31-6/1) - Glen Echo Country Club
Half Marathon (6/4) - Forest Park
Full Marathon (6/4) - Forest Park
Indoor Volleyball (5/29-5/31) - Center St. Louis
Rugby (6/2-6/3) - Cricket Field/Forest Park
Sand Volleyball (6/1-6/3) - Wave Taco
Softball (5/29-6/3) Aviation Softball Fields/Forest Park
Sport Climbing (5/31) - Upper Limits Rock Gym
Bouldering (6/2) - Upper Limits Rock Gym
Swimming (5/29-6/3) - Site Pending Contract Negotiation
Tennis (5/31-6/3) - Dwight Davis Tennis Center/Forest Park
Track & Field (5/31-6/3) - Site Pending Contract Negotiation