President Michael D. Higgins hosted members of Team Ireland in Áras an Uachtaráin this week, as over 90 Irish athletes prepare to take part in this year’s Gay Games in Paris.
The Gay Games were created to celebrate diversity and promote the visibility of gay people in sport. Over 10,000 athletes from across the globe will travel to Paris in August to compete in this tenth edition of the event.
“There can be no doubt that the Gay Games has been an inspiring leader in creating a fair and even playing field for sporting fans,” said President Higgins at the reception. He praised the fundamental principal that “no individual shall be excluded from participating on the basis of sexual orientation, gender, race, religion, nationality, ethnic origin, political belief, athletic ability, physical challenge, age, or health status.”
In a touching address, President Higgins continued, “Sadly, too often in the past, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people have been excluded from that right of full participation in society, denied a visible presence or a voice. Indeed, some of you here will have experienced a time when orientation and identity was something that was forced to be a hidden secret in order to avoid discrimination or harassment in the workplace, in social situations, and often even at home.
Recent years have seen Ireland make considerable progress in developing a genuine possibility of a culture of equality, tolerance and respect for every person.”
In a rousing finish, our President told the athletes gathered, “Some of you will return bearing medals, some of you may not. But may I say that, whether or not you gain medals, you participate as excellent role models, truly participative members of society, who have the courage to stand up in support of sport becoming a source of tolerance, fairness and equality.”
Team Ireland are supported by Teamwear.ie, a longstanding member of Sports for Business, who have been involved in providing the official kit with their hugely popular Stanno Teamwear brand.
Make sure to follow our athletes progress and cheer them on from August 4!
© 2018 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.