President Obama welcomed the thousands of fans, volunteers, and competitors at Gay Games 9, which kicked off this weekend in Cleveland.
In a video shown at Quicken Loans Arena's opening ceremony, Obama mentioned that the last U.S.-based games were held in his hometown of Chicago in 2006, and he says many LGBT rights have advanced since then. But he also acknowledged competitors who traveled from places where being open is not very easy.
"I know some of you come from places that require courage and defiance to come out, sometimes at great personal risk," he said. "You should know the United States stands with you and for your human rights, just as our athletes stand with you on the field in these games. After all, the very idea of America is that no matter who you are, what you look like, where you come from, or who you love, you can make it if you try. That's who we are, and that's who we continually strive to be."
Correction: A previous version of this report said the last Gay Games were held in 2006. They were held in 2010 in Cologne, Germany.