May 26, 2017 at 1:56 pm EST | by Michael K. Lavers
World OutGames sporting events abruptly cancelled

transgender discrimination, gay news, Washington Blade

The organizers of the World OutGames that were scheduled to begin in Miami on May 26, 2017, have abruptly announced the cancellation of the majority of the sporting events. (Photo by Marc Averette; courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. — The organizers of the World OutGames Miami on Friday abruptly announced they have cancelled almost all of its sporting events.

“It is with deep regret that due to financial challenges, World OutGames must cancel opening and closing ceremonies and sports programming with the exception of aquatics, country western dance and soccer,” said the organizers in an email they sent to participants.

The opening ceremony was scheduled to take place on Saturday at the Fillmore Miami Beach.

LGBT athletes from around the world were expected to take part in the games that were scheduled to take place through June 4. OutGames Miami organizers in their email said a human rights conference that began on Friday in Miami Beach and “cultural programs will continue as planned.”

“We thank everyone who has supported the effort and apologize to those who will be impacted by this difficult decision,” said the organizers.

Miami is the first city in the U.S. to host the OutGames.

Steve Rothaus of the Miami Herald reported local elected officials and tourism officials lobbied to bring the games to South Florida. The New Miami Times reported the city of Miami Beach spent at least $200,000 to promote the OutGames.

The Miami Herald reported Miami Beach officials in recent months grew increasingly concerned that game organizers were unable to meet their fundraising. It obtained a memo from City Manager Jimmy Morales on Thursday that said OutGames officials had not paid a $5,000 deposit for event permits and they owe the National Hotel, which is the games’ official hotel, a “substantial amount of money.”

“The city of Miami Beach is deeply concerned to hear that the World OutGames has decided to cancel their opening and closing ceremonies and sports programming, with the exception of soccer, aquatics and country western dance,” said the city of Miami Beach on Friday in a statement.

“City staff has worked consistently for the past several months to assist the event producers with special events planning and permitting; fundraising efforts; relocating events to low or no cost venues; assisting with local partners to provide support and access; and providing financial support to cover police staffing costs,” it added. “As a lead sponsor of the event, the city also waived all related special event and permitting fees for this event and provided cash sponsorship to the OutGames.”

The first World OutGames took place in Montreal in 2006.

D.C. is among the three finalists to host the Gay Games XI in 2022.

The Federation of Gay Games organizes the Gay Games. The Gay and Lesbian International Sport Association licenses the World OutGames.

The Washington Blade will provide further updates as they become available.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

  • Kevin Gomes

    This is a scam to raise enough money for the conference through registration fees. They knew that they did not have enough participants for months but still did not cancel it until the day before.

  • DenisLeBlanc

    Sad to see this happen at this late stage, where athletes have likely already booked their flights and hotels are left with only 3 sports.. The first Games in Montreal had 20,800 registered participants in 35 sports, 6 cultural events and a conference.

  • Peter Rosenstein

    Sad to see this happen- it is getting more and more difficult to raise money from the LGBT community for these kind of events. There are a number of wealthy LGBT individuals who could have easily stepped in to raise the money. Where are people like David Geffin and other billionaires and multi-millionaires who could make a difference. We haven’t seen them donate even to the LGBT Equality March on June 11th.

    • LesbianTippingHabits

      Well, has anyone asked them, directly, to support the event?

      Hillary Clinton certainly has their contact information. Thank you.

      • Peter Rosenstein

        That is a good question- I have been told there has been outreach from the Equality March don’t know about the out-games- maybe some one will read this and know some of the people with big money-

        • LesbianTippingHabits

          Thank you. I think it is time for the LGBTQ community to be realistic about what is possible, and what is not.

          And if early fund-raising targets are not met, well, that is a sign of a lack of the essential community support required for a successful event, and should be heeded.

          Thank you again.

  • LesbianTippingHabits

    Perhaps it’s time for the OutGames to pass into history. Thank you.

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