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Exploring participants' experiences of the Gay Games: intersections of sport, gender and sexuality

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Sport is a social institution that has a considerable impact on the shaping of gay and lesbian subjects. On the eve of the 2006 Gay Games in Chicago and its new rival, the Outgames, in Montreal, this article explores dimensions of participation in such gay and lesbian sports events through a study (based on participant observation and interviews) of their most recent major predecessor, the Sydney 2002 Gay Games. In particular, it points to the centrality to many participants' experiences of both individual and collective forms of identification, including those associated with sexuality and nation. Through their participation in the event, respondents must negotiate the significant tensions that underpin the ideals and demands of these often-contradictory forms of identification. The article suggests that it is this negotiation of competing identities and subjectivities that illuminates the broader political significance of the Gay Games.
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Keywords: Gay Games; gender; sexuality; sport

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: The University of Western Sydney, Australia. 2: The University of Newcastle, Australia.

Publication date: 01 July 2006

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  • The International Journal of Media and Cultural Politics is committed to analyzing the politics of communication(s) and cultural processes. It addresses cultural politics in their local, international and global dimensions, recognizing equally the importance of issues defined by their specific cultural geography and those that traverse cultures and nations.
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