President Barack Obama helped start off the international Gay Games in northeastern Ohio in a surprise video message shown at the games’ opening ceremonies.
Obama welcomed athletes, coaches, families and spectators from around the world to Ohio and the United States as the event began Saturday evening with ceremonies at Quicken Loans Arena downtown.
The president said the United States has come a long way in its commitment to equal rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people. He also noted some athletes come from places where publicly acknowledging their sexual orientation can put them at risk. He affirmed U.S. commitment to standing “with you and for your human rights.”
Performers Lance Bass and the Pointer Sisters helped kick off the weeklong games, where about 8,000 people are registered to participate in activities and competitions in Cleveland and Akron.