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Fears for gay participants of World Outgames

Nell Frizzell June 18, 2009
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LGBT people may face imprisonment or even capital punishment after taking part in the annual World Outgames, a policitian has warned.

Eighty-five of the participants taking part in the World Outgames in Copenhagen this year come from countries where homosexuality is illegal.

Copenhagen city councillor Manu Sareen, who represents the Social Liberal party, has warned of the possible repercussions for these participants.

“If these participants will have problems returning home after being in Denmark, then we need to find some solution,” Sareen told The Copenhagen Post.

It is feared that if it people from countries where homosexuality is illegal are found to have taken part in the games, they may put themselves at risk imprisonment or even death.

Some councillors have argued that council leadership should lobby the state to grant such participants political asylum or residence on humanitarian grounds.

The World Outgames describes itself as “a joyous and celebratory event, but that this celebration springs from the deeply serious social oppression that is a fact of life for many peope in the global LGBT community.”

The nine-day event will include competition in 38 different sports disciplines, various city-wide arts and cultural activities and a three-day international Human Rights conference.

Thorbjørn Nesjan, the head of security for the games, has said that they have allowed participants to take part using an alias and that in order to protect their safety, they may choose not to take part in the public opening and closing ceremonies. So far 13 people have asked to do so.

The World Outgames will be held from 25 July – 2 August 2009 in Copenhagen, Denmark.

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