4 JULY 7. 2006
www.houstonvoice.com HOUSTON VOICE
Houston athletes join thousands for Gay Games
GAY GAMES, continued from Page 1
likely goalkeeper for the combined
Houston/DaUas soccer teams. For preparation, Lopez is mainly trying to get accustomed to the heat.
"For me, personaUy, the hard part is that
we're playing in the afternoon," he said. A
full soccer match should be 45 minute halves,
at two or three o'clock. Chicago weather this
time is very close to Houston weather. Some
of the teams coming from the colder parts
aren't going to be used to it."
These three athletes will be joining more
than 100 other Team Houston members in
Chicago. Although they sometimes play with
competitors from other states or even countries (de Bram's '96 mixed doubles partner is
from France), they are Team Houston for the
opening ceremonies. As an added bonus,
they get to use the Team Houston pin.
"Most countries and most of the people
in the United States will design a pin based
on the logo for either your country or your
state for your uniform.' de Bram said.
"When you meet someone, or even when
you play against an opponent, I would
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Gay Games VII
trade pins. By the end of the Games, I probably had 25 or 30 pins, and they're all colorful and say the date and the countries."
Team Houston exists as a non-profit
organization with two missions: to promote
the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender
sport experiences, and to organize Team
Houston for the Gay Games. Each city team
varies, but typicahy the role is helping to
facilitate registration, team uniforms, and
team events both at home and away. Its corporate structure has been in place since the
1992 Gay Games in Vancouver, although
Houston athletes have been competing in
the Gay Games since its inception.
Recruitment drives like this one were held all over town to get gay athletes to compete in the Gay Games.
"Some of my competitors from '86 are
going to be there," Marzke said. "It's nice
that every four years y'all get together. I'm
excited to see everyone again."
The next Gay Games is set for 2010 in
Black churches preach acceptance for gays
102 congregations join
inaugural 'Faithful Call'
event for LGBT equality
By JOSHUA IYNSEN
More than 100 churches, most with predominantly black congregations, stood up
last month for gays and gay rights as part
of a nationwide event to bring gay worshippers into the fold.
Faithful Call to Justice, held in churches and synagogues across the nation June
24 and 25, was supported by a wide variety
of denominations, including Baptist.
Catholic and the United Church of Christ.
The event was organized by the National
Black Justice Coalition.
Organizers said the event's theme —
that gays have "God-given rights to life,
love, liberty and equal justice under the
law" — reached more than 100,000 people.
Rev. Michael Eric Dyson, chair of the
coalition's religious advisory board, said
sermons given at the 102 participating
churches reflected God's love for all.
"Too often, our pulpits and places of
worship can transform into soapboxes for
bigotry," he said. "I try to speak out against
venomous characterizations of LGBT folk,
especially those of color, and help them
speak truth to power."
Dyson said churches, especially those located in black communities, must continue to welcome and affirm gay members and visitors.
"We aU need affirmation, and as black
people of aU backgrounds, if we can't find
Rev Rice Rollins, pastor of the Breath of Life Fellowship Community Church in Tampa, Fla., encourages his
mainly gay congregation to invite heterosexuals to join them during worship services.
that through religion and faith, where else
should we turn?" he said. "It's time to heal,
and love, and truly seek justice for all."
Supporting gay rights
Churches that participated in Faithful
Call signed a statement supporting gays
and gay rights.
"As faith leaders, we acknowledge the spiritual worth of our gay lesbian, bisexual,
transgender and same-gender loving brothers and sisters," the statement says. "We welcome their fellowship in worship, and we
affirm their God-given rights to life, love, liberty and equal justice under the law."
Churches from New York to Los Angeles
were asked to demonstrate their support by
delivering a sermon, or offering other messages, that affirmed gay rights.
Faithful Call organizers said many of
the sermons were extemporaneous, and
were unable to provide any transcripts.
But Rev. Rice Rollins, pastor of Breath
of Life Fellowship Community Church in
Tampa, Fla., said he challenged his predominantly gay congregation to be true to
themselves and their neighbors.
"The mainstream church community is
so quick to talk about the homosexual
lifestyle," he said. "It is so important that
we let people know that this is not a preference, nor a lifestyle. It is who we are."
RoUins also asked his congregation to
seek and welcome straight worshippers, just
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National Black Justice Coalition
17251 St NW, Suite 300
Washington, DC 20006
as predominantly straight congregations
should seek and welcome gay worshippers.
"It's die l/ird's house," he said. "No one
shr mid feel uncomfortable in the Lord's house."
Mandy Carter, a coalition board member who attended a Faithful Call worship
service in Charlotte, N.C, said she had "an
absolutely amazing time."
"On my drive back home to Durham,"
she said, "I remember feeling that my
heart and spirit were full."
Some churches opposed event
But while many black churches joined
in Faithful Call, others declined to participate. Rue said the NBJC invited hundreds
of churches to participate. Many pastors
didn't respond. Others expressed outright
She said one coalition aUy advocated a
"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy on gay
parishioners and was against them openly
Among the churches that participated.
Rue said Faithful Call was well received.
She said there were no indications that
attendance or offerings were down at participating churches during Faithful Call weekend.
II really excited a lot of people," Rue
said. "It got a lot of interest. There really
was a buzz out there about it."