Paris is hosting the 10th Gay Games, a sport contest modelled after the Olympics aimed at promoting the rights of the LGBT community.
“The Gay Games are the most inclusive in the world, anybody can participate, from an 18 year old to someone who's 99,” Manuel Picaud, co-president of the event, told franceinfo on August 4.
“The principles are simple: participation, inclusiveness, surpassing oneself but not necessarily absolute performance, virilism or patriotism,” added Picaud.
The event, which is being held in various venues all over the French capital from August 4 to 12, has received broad support from the French government.
In pictures: Paris 2018 Gay Games kicks off
Participants of the South African team head on to the field during the opening ceremony of the 2018 Gay Games at the Jean-Bouin Stadium in Paris on August 4, 2018. © Photo: Lucas Barioulet/AFP
A man wears a costume of the Statue of Liberty during the inauguration of the Gay Games village in front of Paris's city hall. © Photo: Lucas Barioulet/AFP
French fashion designer Jean-Paul Gaultier (R) speaks with Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo (L) during the opening ceremony of the 2018 Gay Games, August 4, 2018. © Photo: Lucas Barioulet/AFP
A long rainbow flag is displayed on the facade of Paris's city hall during the inauguration of the Gay Games village. © Photo: Regis Duvignau/REUTERS
Athletes compete in the fencing event of the 2018 Gay Games at the Salle Armand Massard in Paris on August 5, 2018. © Photo: Lucas Barioulet/AFP
Members of the Mexican team walk on to the field during the opening ceremony of the 2018 Gay Games in Paris, August 4, 2018. © Photo: Lucas Barioulet/AFP
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, Sports Minister Laura Flessel and French fashion designer Jean-Paul Gaultier attended the opening ceremony, during which athletes paraded behind their respective national flags like in the Olympics.
Raise awareness about gay rights
Several participants come from countries where homosexuality remains a crime. Fifty-eight participants are from Russia, which in 2013 passed a law banning “propaganda for non-traditional sexual relations”, while one athlete holds a passport from Saudi Arabia, where homosexuality is punishable by death.
Egypt and other Muslim countries where gays have been arrested and sent to jail will also be represented in one of the 36 sporting disciplines, spanning from football to swimming, and volleyball to sailing.
France itself has been grappling with a recent surge in anti-gay acts as it eyes legalising assisted reproduction for gay women in 2019 – a campaign promise by centrist French President Emmanuel Macron.
According to French gay rights charity SOS Homophobie, the number of physical attacks due to homophobia jumped by 15 percent from 2016 to 2017.
Gay Games organisers have said they expected the gains for the local economy to amount to around €58 million.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP, REUTERS)
Date created : 2018-08-06