The inaugural LGBT International Powerlifting Championships took place in London in late July, where athletes represented nine countries (Australia, Belarussia, Canada, France, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, the United States and host nation Great Britain). And while they might have been held an ocean away, event organizers closer to home will want to be ready to welcome a new and growing population of athletes to their events.
Held in reaction to the absence of powerlifting from the 2018 Gay Games in Paris — despite the sport being part of every other Gay Games’ program since the event’s inception in 1982 — the LGBT International Powerlifting Championships also marked the formation of the LGBT Powerlifting Athletes’ Union. The goal is to give the sport and its participants representation with the Federation of Gay Games and mainstream powerlifting associations to grow the sport globally, according to LGBTpowerlifting.org. Participants in union-related discussions included Gay Games veterans dating back to 1982, as well as rookies for whom London was their first championship.
“It is very important that LGBT powerlifters are given the same opportunities as I’ve enjoyed over the last 18 years in the sport,” Chris “Chunky” Morgan, a highly accomplished powerlifter from London, told Outsports.com. “LGBT lifters are very much a minority in the sport of powerlifting and it is important that we are able to come together as a group to compete at least once a year. We have never had our own annual international championships, so to bring everyone together in London 2017 [was] a very special occasion.”
“With powerlifting not being included in the Gay Games in 2018, there was a real danger that LGBT powerlifting could disappear entirely,” Morgan additionally told San Francisco’s Bay Area Reporter. "Having started my career at the Gay Games in 1998, there is no way I could allow that to happen.”
As the paper’s Roger Brigham explained: “Small individual sports such as martial arts, wrestling and powerlifting struggle to be part of large LGBT sports festivals such as the Gay Games, as event organizers are reluctant or unable to provide the intensive, granular support the sports require. But they go to the heart of an inclusive mission, as they provide opportunities for athletes who may not fit into speed- and size-based team sports.”
The 2018 LGBT International Powerlifting Championship weekend will be held in London in July, with a bidding process now underway for 2019, 2020 and 2021.
The LGBT Powerlifting Athletes’ Union hopes to help reinstate powerlifting for the 2022 Gay Games, which will be held in one of the following cities: Guadalajara, Mexico; Hong Kong; or Washington, D.C. The FGG is expected to announce the host city in October.