No, you didn’t read that wrong. This competition, held every four years, is basically the gay Olympics… only in these games, the only flag that matters is the rainbow flag.
The Gay Games were invented in San Francisco in the 80s, right when the LGBT movement was really starting to kick off on an international scale. They were designed to show off the athletic prowess generally considered the exclusive domain of heterosexual men using the pageantry that has become the calling card of the gay rights movement. The 2018 Gay Games are currently being hosted in Paris, despite a 15% uptick in the number of violent crimes committed against homosexuals in France since 2016.
When watching the incredible performances of these athletes — including a swimsuited gay revival of Romeo and Juliet — it is crazy to think that only five years ago, gay marriage was still illegal in France. But with some of the country’s largest conglomerates sponsoring the event, this will be a big, flashy sign to the world that France is here, France is queer, and everyone should get used to it.
To hear the athletes discuss their experience, check out this video: