Archbishop Desmond Tutu has expressed his enthusiastic support for the bid to bring the quadrennial Gay Games to Johannesburg in 2010. In a letter addressed to the Co-Chairs of the Gay Games VIII Johannesburg 2010 Bid Committee, the former Archbishop of Cape Town, and a Nobel Peace Prize Winner, has again lent his name to assist in securing the equal rights of lesbian and gay people within society.

“The vision of the Gay Games: Inclusion, Participation and Personal Best, are values South Africans understand and celebrate,” the letter from The Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town reads. “We are learning that our differences are in fact enriching and that our strength lies in inclusion rather than exclusion. Hosting the Games would reinforce these values and would be an important message to convey to our sisters and brothers in other parts of our continent”, Archbishop Tutu wrote.

The purpose of the Federation of Gay Games is to foster and augment the self-respect of lesbian and gay people throughout the world and to engender respect and understanding from the non-gay world, primarily through an organised international participatory athletic and cultural event held every four years, and commonly known as the Gay Games.

The Gay Games is the largest ongoing event on the international LGBT calendar, with more than ten thousand participants taking part in approximately 30 sports, band and choral events. Groups from Cologne, Johannesburg and Paris have submitted letters of intent to bid for the eighth edition of the quadrennial Gay Games, to be staged in 2010.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu is renowned for his outspoken support for the fight against homophobia in Africa and around the world. In 2004 Archbishop Tutu wrote the foreword for “Sex, Love & Homophobia”, a book published by Amnesty International UK, in which he wrote that homophobia is a “crime against humanity” and “every bit unjust” as apartheid.

“We struggled against apartheid in South Africa, supported by people the world over, because black people were being blamed and made to suffer for something we could do nothing about: our very skins”, wrote Tutu in his foreword. “It is the same with sexual orientation. It is a given”, he added.

In his letter to the Gay Games VIII Johannesburg 2010 Bid Committee, Archbishop Tutu concludes by saying: “Our democracy is young and vibrant. I believe we can offer a unique environment for this event that will greatly enhance the enjoyment of our visitors and will strengthen our economy. I am confident that South Africa and Johannesburg in particular will be an outstanding venue for the Games and the participants are assured of a very warm welcome. God bless you”.

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