The second major international LGBT sporting and cultural event within one month, this time in Montreal, is set to kick off this Saturday.

Montreal was the original city meant to host the 2006 Gay Games, but, following a dispute with the Gay Games Federation who own the Gay Games license, decided to hold its own event. Chicago was then chosen as the replacement city.

More than 12 000 athletes are expected to converge on Montreal for the OutGames, with an anticipated 250 000 people watching and taking part in related events, such as the city’s Pride celebrations.

The opening ceremony takes place on Saturday, featuring performers like K.D. Lang, Martha Wash, Deborah Cox and Cirque du Soleil, while the closing ceremony, on the 5th of August, will include Liza Minnelli.

Montreal will also be hosting one of the largest international LGBT rights conferences ever held, with 2000 people from around the world set to debate and assess the state of lesbian and gay rights. The event will be opened by the United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights, Louise Arbour.

The Chicago Gay Games concluded last weekend having seen around 11 000 people participating in around 30 sports. “We had tremendous support from the city, sponsors and volunteers as well as the board and staff of Chicago Games, Inc.”, said Roberto Mantaci, Co-President of the Federation of Gay Games.

The next Gay Games, in 2010, will take place in Cologne Germany.

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