So I am in Chicago at the Gay Games supporting my favorite hockey player but also doing some pre-dissertation research.
We went to the opening ceremonies last night. They were good--very long and a lot of unnecessary interpretative dance (i.e. the GG were trying to be a little too much like the Olympics) and it was incredibly hot and humid. But it was cool to see a giant rainbow flag made by lights being held by queer athletes on the same field where "manly men" play football, grrr.
Today we drove over an hour from where we are staying to Crystal Lake to see the rowing. Rowing only took place today and it was a very controversial event because the people of Crystal Lake were not too hot on a gaggle of queers invading their fair town. So we felt we should go to support the athletes and make our presence known. We have only ever been to one other regatta but we liked it so we were looking forward to it. Alas it was disappointing. First of all the event was supposed to start at 10 and run to 4ish. We arrived at 12:30 and it had not yet begun. Apparently the program was wrong (or rather the program was printed before someone decided to mess with the schedule which seems to be a common occurrence at the games) and it did not begin until 2pm. The program also reported the event was free which it was in that GG was not charging admission. But the beach where one could view the event did charge. I wouldn't have minded paying if I knew it was going to GG but the money goes to the city of Crystal Lake so we weren't so hot on the conservative city getting our gay dollars.
And then we couldn't really see the race. We only saw the very end and the finish line was not very obvious. I know I sound like a Debbie Downer but in the end it was totally worth going. Many of the spectators were townspeople sporting rainbow ribbons and showing their support for the event and participants. Every boat that crossed the (ambiguous) finish line got a huge ovation. And though there were protesters with signs about homosexuality as a sin and so on, when we walked out a gay liberation group had set up their own banners and people in the "First Amendment protesters" area. (I have a picture I will upload here later).
So all in all we are glad we went. I even got a little tan--okay it's more red right now but I think by morning it will definitely be tan. Tomorrow's agenda includes flag football and softball and a special discussion panel of out athletes in the evening.