ST. LOUIS, Mo. – The 2016 North America Continental OutGames will be held May 27-June 4, 2016, at venues in the St. Louis metro area. St. Louis will be the first U.S. city to host the North America OutGames. Previous OutGames host cities include Calgary and Vancouver.
Known as the Equality Games, the event was awarded to a subsidiary of Team St. Louis Inc. and is being held in partnership with the City of St. Louis, St. Louis County, the St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission and the St. Louis Sports Commission.
Organizers expect 3,000 to 5,000 LGBT and allied participants from across North America. More than 20 sporting events will be held around the Gateway City.
The Equality Games will include a multi-event sports competition, ongoing cultural celebrations and a three-day human rights conference. The games’ mission is to create an experience through these three components that will honor diversity, celebrate athletic accomplishment, facilitate learning, and inspire action, with a ton of fun sprinkled across the entire week.
The games’ board of directors expressed its hope that as attendees participate in various seminars, workshops, sporting events and fun, they will undoubtedly foster or strengthen a sense of community and belonging, which then will inspire positive change within their own communities.
The Equality Games website (NAOutGames2016) provides information including venues, the sporting competition calendar, and details about the Human Rights Conference and cultural events. Registration for the sporting competitions and the Human Rights Conference will soon go live on the website, as will a call for papers, speaker proposals, and volunteer sign-up.
The week will start with the excitement and camaraderie of all participants in the Opening Ceremonies at America’s Center, including a parade of participants, music, special guests and welcome addresses. Closing Ceremonies at the end of the week will congratulate all the participants and medalists in a final celebration.
Throughout the week, the OutGames Village will be located at Union Station in the downtown corridor, providing a natural gathering space for the athletes and participants to relax post-competition. This venue will provide an entertainment stage, the central results point, medal ceremonies venue, and a great social environment.
The Human Rights Conference, scheduled for May 31-June 2, will address pressing social issues specific and current to the LGBTQIA community in North America. An evaluation of the 2011 Vancouver and 2013 Antwerp conferences will inform the committee by providing lessons learned and best practices to further improve upon this event.
The conference will include keynote speakers, break-out sessions, and events that are associated with national, regional and local human rights organizations and/or are recognized as pioneers of particular topics of interest. The venue for the conference will primarily be the Marriott St. Louis Grand Hotel downtown at 800 Washington Ave.
10K Run (May 31) – Forest Park
5K Run (June 2) – Tower Grove Park
Billiards (June 1-3) – Pink Galleon Billiards and Games
Bowling (May 31-June 3) – Tropicana Lanes
Cycling (May 31-June 2) – Corondelet Park
Dance Sport (June 1-3) – Moolah Shrine
Darts (May 30-June 1) – site pending
Flag Football (June 1-2) – Cricket Field
Golf (May 31-June 1) – Glen Echo Country Club
Half Marathon (June 4) – Forest Park
Full Marathon (June 4) – Forest Park
Indoor Volleyball (May 29-31) – Center St. Louis
Rugby (June 2-3) – Cricket Field
Sand Volleyball (June 1-3) – Wave Taco
Softball (May 29-June 3) Aviation Softball Fields, Forest Park
Sport Climbing (May 31) – Upper Limits Rock Gym
Bouldering (June 2) – Upper Limits Rock Gym
Swimming (May 29-June 3) – site pending
Tennis (May 31-June 3) – Dwight Davis Tennis Center, Forest Park