This week in Israel the first Tel Aviv Games, a multisport event attracting LGBT athletes from around the world, will be held.
Event organizers are keeping the first iteration of the Tel Aviv Games small, hosting four sports: basketball, soccer, swimming and tennis. Organizers say they have 300 registered athletes from 20 countries. Located at the intersection of Europe, Africa and Asia, they have been able to reach athletes from Hong Kong, Belarus, Russia and France, as well as attracting athletes from as far away as the United States and Brazil.
“The TLV LGBT Sports Club hopes to create a new, sports-centric focus of LGBT tourism to Israel, in addition to the annual Tel Aviv Pride Parade,” said Tal Maoz, co-chairman of the TLV LGBT Sports Club, in a statement. “Our goal is to bring even more LGBT individuals from around the world to experience Israel’s openness to the LGBT community.”
While some of Israel’s laws are not as LGBT-inclusive as various Western countries, they are decades ahead of the laws of many of its neighbors.
The multisport event taking place over just a couple days is a model that has worked well for the Sin City Shootout, an annual LGBT sporting event held in Las Vegas on Martin Luther King Jr. weekend. Having started as a softball tournament, it has grown to include a couple dozen sports and attracts thousands of athletes every year.
You can find more information about the Tel Aviv Games on their Web site and on their Facebook page. You can also check out their welcome promo video here.