It was about the time the first EuroGames took place in Den Haag, that some people gathered to start the LGBTIQ Sports community in Düsseldorf. Soon there were three clubs to show the rainbow flag in the city’s sports world. We all became a visible sign in the city and beyond, with teams participating in the EuroGames since their very first beginnings. Together we also have a huge record of projects for inclusion, campaigns and initiatives. To mention a few, we have organised many campaigns against homo- and transphobia in sports, have participated in the regular sports leagues as open gay teams and are part of the city’s work to include many refugees in our society.
Inspired by the EuroGames in Munich 2004 and Utrecht 2005, we found it was time to offer the LGBTIQ world a tournament, and soon the Düssel-Cup, the Gay German Open in tennis and the Dancing Grand Prix were born. Surprisingly successful and attracting a huge number of participants all three tournaments continued to grow and became milestones in the year’s sports calendar. Up to now, around 10,000 participants have come to Düsseldorf and taken part in our tournaments.
To open LGBTIQ Sports to countries where living a life in freedom and acceptance is not possible, we started our outreach programme in 2011. Since then more than 200 sports-people have been supported to come to Düsseldorf. Given that Moscow is the twin city of Düsseldorf, we lay an emphasis on Russia.
It was at the fifth Düssel-Cup that our participants asked us why we didn’t want to try to add to the EuroGames legacy. We were thrilled by the idea, but thought we were not ready yet. Still, the idea was born and it became our dream to one day host the EuroGames. It was the experience many shared at the EuroGames 2015 that brought us together to seriously start a bid. We found it was time to focus more on sports and to assure the core of the EuroGames: to do sport together and therefore show visibility and be inclusive in what we do. If people lose faith in the ability of the EuroGames, we would lose a major asset that we love. With our long-time background of organising LGBTIQ tournaments in eleven of the EuroGames core sports we believe we will be able to organise the EuroGames on a high-quality level.
Since we started our bid, the whole city has joined in on our journey which is driven by the city’s five LGBTIQ sports clubs. The city of Düsseldorf, the Lord Mayor and two secretaries of the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia have shown continuous support of our LGBTIQ issues and have organised multiple campaigns against homo- and transphobia in sports and in general. The council of Düsseldorf has already voted on a financial sponsorship to organise the EuroGames 2020.
The whole bid has been put together by volunteers who are enthusiastic about bringing the EuroGames back to Germany after 16 years. Although we think it is not about countries, we think it is about cities and the people behind it. We have always been EuroGames people and want to add to the EuroGames legacy, to prove big EuroGames can be hosted by volunteer member organisations of the EGLSF, just as our friends in Helsinki did with the games in 2016, which had deserved more participants. We are part of the EuroGames and want to give back something in return.