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Volunteering at GG9

On Friday, August 15th, we spent much of our last day volunteering for Gay Games 9 in the Volunteer Hospitality Room in Tower City just as we did on Thursday. We left Tower City about 3:30pm and headed over to Festival Village to help out at the Stonewall Democratic Club Booth. Once again we enjoyed visiting with friends and with people who stopped by just to visit as we handed out stickers and collected names for the club's email list. Our co-worker at Margaret W. Wong and Associates, Mr. Gordon Landefeld, along with his lovely wife and daughter, stopped off to say hello.

We were happy when the democratic candidate for Governor, County Executive Ed Fitzgerald stopped by the Stonewall booth and talked with us for about 20 minutes about the pertinent issues facing Ohio before he left to go on a tour of Festival Village. We were equally impressed when Cleveland Heights City Councilwoman Janine Boyd, who is also the democratic candidate for Ohio State Representative in District 9, stopped off for a few minutes and ended up staying with us for two hours.

We talked to Ms. Konstantin Iablotckii, a figure skater from Moscow who has immensely enjoyed his visit to Cleveland. In fact, he believes that we in Cleveland are more accepting of the LGBT than they were in Amsterdam when the gay games were held there in 1998.

We also had conversations with people visiting the United States from France who were in the next booth promoting the 2018 Gay Games which will be held in Paris.

Ms. Nelly Naugain said that their goal was to "collect as many people as possible for Paris in 2018." Ms. Naugain really liked being in Cleveland for Gay Games 9 and said that once could "feel the hospitality" of the Clevelanders who notice the participants' shirts and badges and subsequently initiate a conversation in order to make sure that all is well for them on their visit to Cleveland and to talk about their various contests. When she is not working to promote the 2018 games, Ms. Naugain is an active member of Frontrunners which is a club for LGBT runners that has chapters all over the world and is employed by a "big company" where she works in the Finance Department.

In addition to Ms. Naugain, we spoke to Mr. Christian Camus who is Director of Development for the 2018 games. Mr. Camus echoed Ms. Naugain when he said that it has been "amazing" about the kindness of the people of Cleveland, and went on to say that "we really felt like we were welcome here." What's more, Mr. Camus thinks that "Cleveland put the bar on a very high level" and just hopes that Paris is as welcoming.

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