By David “Dirk” Smith, M.Sc., SDL (He/Him)
Inspired by the Gay Games and his own experiences in LGBTQ+ sports, Shamey Cramer launches the first annual Diversity in Sport Day which seeks to “CELEBRATE trailblazers, triumphs, and milestones; MOTIVATE others to set new standards of inclusion, and ADVOCATE for universal equity in sport and society at large.”
In the last decade or so, a lot of question has risen around the purpose and usefulness of LGBTQI sports events, especially as more professional athletes are gradually coming out of the closet without facing the career consequences that have burden so many in the past, as well as recent accomplishments toward greater civil rights for LGB people, including marriage equality. I would often (and still am) asked, “why do we need a Gay Games?” Of course, this seemingly simple question comes with a bit of a loaded answer, for while I will often reference the “we will get there when we get there” joke from The Incredibles, since there is a lot to talk about.
Eight groups of fans and supporters for soccer across Europe and North America released a statement calling out FIFA and the Qatar 2022 World Cup organizers for their unwillingness to discuss LGBTQ+ rights concerns ahead of the event.
By Dirk Smith, MSc, SDL (He/Him).
During the last week of November, I sat down at my desk, microphone set up and ready to record a discussion with my friend Ken Felts for NPR’s StoryCorps podcast. Being my first ever podcast, the premise was for Ken and I to talk about our friendship and impact on each other’s lives. Flashback to the Spring of 2020 as the Coronavirus Pandemic was starting to cause major worldwide disruptions to everyday life. Ken Felts is a 90-year-old man living in Colorado posted a Facebook message that would forever change his life. For the first time in his life, Ken came out as gay
By Dirk Smith, MSc, SDL (He/Him).
This has been a common question for many years now, people questioning “why” are LGBTQI sports events still a thing in a so-called “post equality” society. I have been a staunch defender of the relevance of LGBTQI sports events such as Gay Games, Sin City Classic and other events on a local, national and international level because I truly believe they are relevant. Even despite the disasters of recent LGBTQI sports events including the 2015 and 2019 Eurogames as well as the 2017 Outgames (as well as the Outgames brand as a whole).
However, I am starting to question this resolve myself. Why do we need LGBTQI sports events? I ask this because the LGBTQI is now facing an existential crisis that has been a long time coming, but only now exasperated by Covid-19. In the last 5 years, 3 of the biggest LGBTQI sports events have been unmitigated disasters. Plagued by overconfidence, incompetence and straight up crookery, these events and the people behind them have damaged this community in ways that have left athletes broke and running away from it forever. Sure, with large events you can’t expect everything to go perfect and everybody has bad days. But when you start to see patterns of bad behavior emerge without any real resolve, you start to question the validity, relevance and future of the movement. Most importantly, as an athlete who would be paying hundreds if not thousands of dollars for event registration, travel and lodging expenses, you ask “is this event worth investing in?”
David "Dirk" Smith M.Sc, SDL, CSCS, (He/Him) is a sport psychology expert, strength & conditioning coach, swimming coach, sports diversity leader, published research scientist, teacher, writer, journalist, and athlete. He brings over 12 years of experience, education, and training to empower athletes to build self efficacy, strength, confidence, and express themselves through sport.