If gays want to play football or darts, Chicago is the place to be. The
2006 Chicago Gay Games, which opened on July 15, lasts a week. The pairs
figure skating and ballroom dance, both staged
last Wednesday, are unmistakably, incontrovertibly gay. They are also
among the most popular events for spectators.
The events provide one of the precious few venues for same-sex couples
to participate in activities like figure skating and ballroom dancing
without enduring jeers or sideways glances.
"That they can for once hold hands with a man here is uplifting," said
Stina Rogal, who is co-organizing the Gay Games figure skating
competition. "It makes all the years they spent working as hard as anyone
else pay off."
At the downtown Hilton Chicago, women twirled women while wearing
matching sequined dresses or with one dressed
conservatively as the leader and the follower decked out in a hot pink
Men spun across the floor with other men, often dressed in identical
black tuxedos. One follower wore a flowing pink scarf that trailed behind
him on the dance floor.
"If two men dance Latin together, it's very powerful," said Ursula
Hegglin, 40, of Switzerland. "Their elegance across the floor is
And two women can be a more graceful pairing.
Hegglin and Loredana Conte, 45, who are both dance partners and a
romantic couple, wore matching one-piece
jumpsuits with Hegglin in pink and Conte in black.
"She leads and I follow," Hegglin said. "It's great to be here with
these people and do what we feel like doing."
Another team, Latin dance veterans from New York, said dancing as a
same-sex couple offers more options than in traditional ballroom dancing.
"You can show so many more things and be so much more versatile with
your dance," said Jacob Jason, 26, who danced with Willem Devries, also
26. "It's much more artistic."
But there can be difficulties as well. Men need to adjust to dancing
with a partner who has equally big hands. And the difficulty for women?
Well, four breasts take up more room than two in close dance positions,
noted Tara Walsh of northern