Next July will see the 7th quadrennial international Gay Games happening in Chicago. In 2002 there were 11,000 athletes participating and in 1998 13,000. For Gay Games VII they are expecting to exceed 12,000 participants.
Opening Ceremonies will be held on July 15th at Soldier Field, home of the Chicago Bears. Closing Ceremonies will be held at the Chicago Cubs’ Wrigley Field.
Of course, corporate sponsorship plays a major role in achieving game viability, just like any sporting event. The Gay Games are beginning to get some big players backing them.
Recently, Kraft Foods, the largest producer of consumer foods in the US came under fire from the “religious right”, namely the American Family Association, in an attempt to derail Kraft Food’s support for the Gay Games VII.
As we know, when a similar tactic happened to Microsoft for their support of Marriage Equality in Washington State, Microsoft caved in immediately, withdrawing their support for equality. Microsoft, supposedly representing wonderous things for our future – revolutionary changes, etc.
But here we have Kraft Foods, an old and venerable company, standing tall and unphased by the pressure of these hate groups. In an internal memo to employees from Marc Firestone, the Executive Vice President, Corporate Counsel of Kraft Foods, Marc write:
“It can be difficult when we are criticized. It’s easy to say you support a concept or a principle when nobody objects. The real test of commitment is how one reacts when there are those who disagree. I hope you share my view that our company has taken the right stand on diversity, including its contribution to the 2006 Gay Games in Chicago.”
But perhaps Kraft Foods is just purely evil, and Microsoft is good. After all, Kraft Foods is owned in the largest majority by the Altria Group who also own the great tabacco giant, Philip Morris.
However, as a smoker, and someone who still likes, though it’s not easy to admit, processed cheese spread on Triscuits, and also being someone who dislikes Microsoft’s products and tactics — not to mention that I like men — I have to say I side with the smoking cheese eaters who like to sweat over the grovelling little weasles.
Hmm. Maybe I’ve been living out here in Kent too long this time. Naw…