Audience members at the Grand Opening (Pic: Magnus Ragnvid)

The second quadrennial Outgames opened this weekend in Copenhagen, Denmark featuring 5,500 participants from around the world. The nine day event aims to bring social inclusion to all regardless of gender or sexual preference, and features both sporting and cultural events for the LGBT community.

A human rights conference has also been organised as part of the Outgames, and 300 speakers from 75 countries will be taking part in identifying the successes and challenges facing LGBT recognition around the world.

Outgames chief executive Uffe Elbæk believes it is a vital part of the event. “There is still a lot of homophobia around the globe and that’s why the Outgames is so important and the human rights conference vitally crucial to understanding that,” Elbæk told The Copenhagen Post.

Despite recent reports showing that there were 178 reported cases of hate crimes against members of the LGBT community in Copenhagen in the last seven months, he believes that the city is still a safe place to hold the event.

“I’m a bit sad about some of the figures, but in the long-term it is very important that this is happening because it is the first time in Denmark that these crimes are being recorded and police are documenting hate crimes based on sexuality.”

There is also concern about repercussions some people may face when they return to their home countries in which homosexuality is criminalised. In response, organisers have allowed a number of participants to take part under aliases to protect their identities.

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