By Trudy Ring
Originally published on Advocate.com February 12 2013 9:36 PM ET
In what appears to be a first for a U.S. president, Barack Obama has given his support to Orlando, Fla.’s bid to host the Gay Games in 2018.
Obama wrote a letter of support to the organizing committee for Orlando, the only U.S. city seeking to host the 2018 games, according to website Watermark. He notes the role the event has played in advancing LGBT equality, a cause he backs as well, and says Orlando is “ideally suited” to be the site of the games.
He is “almost certainly” the first U.S. president to endorse a city’s Gay Games bid, Outsports reports, adding that the British and French prime ministers have backed London’s and Paris’s respective bids. Amsterdam and Limerick, Ireland, are also seeking to host the games.
“Obama’s endorsement is another sign of the mainstreaming of gays into society,” Outsports notes. “At one time, this would have been controversial but now it’s just a matter of protocol since these events do bring in tourists (and their money).”
However, Gay Games officials are unlikely to pick Orlando, observers say, simply because that would result in two consecutive Gay Games being held in the same country. Cleveland will host the quadrennial event in 2014.