Copenhagen's gay games put spotlight on rights

Fri Jul 24, 2009 10:34am EDT
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COPENHAGEN (Reuters Life!) - Same-sex tango dancing is among the disciplines in a 9-day homosexual sporting event in the Danish capital that organizers said aims to boost tolerance.

Around 5,500 athletes from 98 nations are expected to take part in the second World Outgames from July 25 to August 2, the organizers said.

"This is about more than sports. This is about human rights and the right to engage in sports without being discriminated against," Copenhagen's culture mayor Pia Allerslev said in a press briefing earlier this week.

"We want to signal that there shouldn't be discrimination because of such an unimportant thing as sexuality," Allerslev said.

The first World Outgames were held in Montreal, Canada, in 2006 and the next are scheduled to take place in Antwerp, Belgium, three years from now.

The games are for competitors at all levels in both conventional and less conventional sporting events from soccer to country-and-western dance.

Parades, parties and a human rights conference addressing issues and concerns of the gay and lesbian community will be held alongside the Games.

(Reporting by Henriette Jacobsen; Editing by Steve Addison)