Hello everybody! Welcome to the 2014 Gay Games. And to the
thousands of athletes, coaches, family and spectators from around the world, welcome
to Ohio and the United States of America. Since 1982, the Gay Games have given lesbian,
gay, bisexual and transgender athletes and supporters around the world a chance to come
together to compete, celebrate and inspire others. It’s been remarkable to see
the Games thrive over the years. We’ve also seen America change in that
time, even since 2006, when the Games were last held in the United States in my hometown
of Chicago. We’ve come a long way in our commitment
to the equal rights of LGBT people here and around the world. I’m proud of my Administration’s record and of the citizens who have helped to push for justice.
I know that some of you have come from places where it requires courage, even defiance,
to come out, sometimes at great personal risk. You should know that the United States stands
with you and for your human rights, just as our athletes stand with you on the field at
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 whom you love, you can make it if you try. That’s
who we are, that’s who we should continually strive to be.
We’re also a country that loves competition, so let’s get these games underway.
Good luck to the athletes, have a great time in Cleveland and Akron, and go Team U.S.A.