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2019 International Gay and Lesbian Aquatics Championships Celebrates Stonewall 50

This upcoming June is going to be host to one the world’s largest ever Pride events. As New York City is preparing to host World Pride in conjunction with the 50th Anniversary of the riots at the Stonewall Inn it will be the first time World Pride has been held in the United States and will include celebrations and events from June 1st up to the World’s Largest Pride Parade on June 30th.

As part of the festivities, the International Gay and Lesbian Aquatics Association, in conjunction with Team New York Aquatics will be hosting their annual championship event on June 23rd through the 30th with the grand finale being the Pride Parade set to step off on June 30th. The IGLA Championships will include swimming, diving, water polo, synchronized swimming and open water swimming, the world famous (or infamous) Pink Flamingo and a wide variety of IGLA hosted parties and social events. In addition to celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, the 2019 IGLA will also host the 25th Anniversary of Gay Games IV which was a monumental turning point and growth for the Gay Games and Gay Sports movement and included Olympic Diver Greg Louganis coming out as gay for the first time.

Participants of IGLA will get a good seat at the Stonewall 50 Opening Ceremonies on June 26th. There will also be a Q&A Panel with several LGBTQI Olympians sharing their stories as well as a sunset boat cruise on the Hudson river, the IGLA traditional Hosted Dinners and various parties including a women’s party. The aquatics events themselves will be contested June 23rd through the 29th at various venues throughout New York City. It is set to be one of the biggest IGLA Championships ever and a monumental event in the history of LGBTQ Sports.

The Olympian Q&A Panel will feature Bruce Hayes, Betsy Mitchell and Daniel Kowalski who will be sharing their stories in a panel discussion moderated by “Morning Swim Show” and USA Swimming “Deck Pass” host, Jeff Commings. According to the Olympian Q&A Event Page…

Bruce Hayes was the first Olympic swimmer to come out as gay. Bruce anchored the epic 1984 men’s 4×200 freestyle relay touching out Michael Gross and the West Germans while setting a new world record.

Daniel Kowalski became the first swimmer in 92 years to medal in the 200-meter, 400-meter, and 1500-meter freestyle races in the same Olympics at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.

Betsy Mitchell was a three-time Olympic medalist from 1984 and 1988. She held the world record in the 200-meter backstroke for five years, and the U.S. record for the 200-meter backstroke for 19 years. Betsy also qualified for the World Championships in rowing in 1994.

Tickets for the panel start at $10. More information and registration can be found at https://www.facebook.com/events/2228173620537659/

In addition, IGLA 2019 will also be hosting a screening of the film “Light in the Water” telling the story about the birth of the LGBTQI swim movement with West Hollywood Aquatics.

LIGHT IN THE WATER chronicles the history of the West Hollywood Aquatics from their founding in 1982 for the first ever Gay Games, through the AIDS crisis, and up to the present day. It premiered on Logo TV last June, was recently nominated for an Emmy Award and has now screened at over 12 film festivals in cities around the world — including Paris, Glasgow, Kansas and Palm Springs, where it was voted “Best of Fest” by audiences.

Several founders of West Hollywood Aquatics and the film’s producer, Nathan Santell, will be onsite at the screening as well as participating in the IGLA competition.

Tickets start at $16.45. More information and registration can be found at https://www.facebook.com/events/2355506231401520/

At the conclusion of the competiton, all the participants are invited to march with TNYA at the World Pride/ Stonewall 50 Parade and March. With several million people expected to take part in the march, it will definitely be one to remember! Find more information at https://www.facebook.com/events/2372446066320594/

By Dirk Smith

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