Photo by Angela Jimenez from the series, Same-Sex Ballroom: Lesbian ballroom dancers Petra Zimmermann, center left, and Caroline Privou, right, both of Cologne, Germany, compete during the Dancesport competition at the Hilton Hotel and Towers in downtown Chicago during Gay Games VII. The couple won the gold medal in the standard A division for women.
Over 12,000 gay and lesbian athletes from 60 countries are in Chicago competing in 30 sports during the Games from July 15 through 22, 2006. Over 50,000 athletes have competed in the quadrennial Games since they were founded by Dr. Tom Wadell, a 1968 Olympic decathlete, and a group of friends in San Francisco in 1982, with the goal of using athletics to promote community building and social change. The Gay Games resemble the Olympics in structure, but the spirit is one of inclusion, rather than exclusivity. There are no qualifying events or minimum or maximum requirements.