CLEVELAND — In 2014, Cleveland and Akron hosted the Gay Games, where an estimated 8,000 athletes from more than 50 nations participated in 37 sports and cultural events.
Eight years later, Cleveland is set to host another great event that welcomes all LGBTQ+ and ally athletes when the Stonewall National Tournament & Summit comes to town for a weekend of competition and fun.
Both the Tournament and Summit will be held in Cleveland July 8-10 and features seven different sporting events for LGBTQ+ participants and ally athletes including kickball, dodgeball, tennis, bocce, sand volleyball and billiards.
Monica Gustin, who is the National Tournament Chair for Stonewall Sports couldn't be more excited for this event to be coming to Cleveland.
“To have full community support in Cleveland, to host this event for LGBT athletes is incredible," Gustin recently told WKYC. “It’s a space where everyone can be their authentic self, you can bring your competitive self, you can bring your partying self, bring your family, whatever it is, you know there’s a place here in Cleveland to live, play, compete, all of it.”
Gustin says in order to gain a true appreciation for the Stonewall National Tournament & Summit, you have to be there to take in all the fun.
"Very high energy. Some competitiveness going on. Plenty of opportunities to get engaged," Gustin explained. "Through sports, parties every night, social gatherings, after parties after that, it’ll keep going all weekend."
Having the Stonewall National Tournament in Cleveland is another opportunity for the city to show its acceptance and inclusion and it will also have an economic impact on Northeast Ohio as well.
The Greater Cleveland Sports Commission estimates an economic impact of $1.2 million being pumped into the local economy just from the Stonewall National Tournament & Summit alone.
"It makes us incredibly proud to host this event that really shows the open community that Cleveland is," President and CEO of the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission David Gilbert said recently in a Zoom interview.
The Tournament will be held at different sites such as Gordon Park, Mall C, Cleveland State University, Cocktails Cleveland and Mulberry's Cleveland.
Gustin says in order to pull something like this off, the organization definitely needs full community support.
"It's something that we're so excited to showcase [here in a Midwest City]," Gustin said with a smile. "You can come here, you can compete, we can build community together and we can make some lifelong friends and lasting memories. It's so much more than just seven different sports that we have and we're very excited to showcase our city accordingly."
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- A Turning Point: How Northeast Ohio organizations are helping to spread inclusivity
- A Turning Point: Transgender high school athlete wants Ohio Statehouse to 'listen' as they consider banning her from competition
- A Turning Point Panel: What is the latest on LGBTQ+ protections in Ohio?
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