An LGBT sports community emerges in Tel Aviv

TLV LGBT Sports Club is an organized LGBT sports community that is co-directed by swimmer Sagi Krispin, who just came back fromIGLA World Championships in Edmonton, Canada with one gold medal and two bronze medals.

Sagi Krispin helped organize the LGBT sports community in Tel Aviv. (Washington Blade photo by Kevin Majoros)

In 2014, Israel sent a delegation of eight athletes to the Gay Games in Cleveland/Akron that competed in several sports. The possibility of attending the event became a reality when the athletes received travel sponsorship and housing from the Jewish community in Cleveland. The Games would inspire one of the Israeli athletes, swimmer Sagi Krispin, to begin the process of forming an LGBT sports community in Tel Aviv.

“The Gay Games were my first LGBT sporting event and it was life changing for me,” says Krispin. “When I returned to Tel Aviv, I wanted more people to experience what I had just experienced.”

Tel Aviv has a thriving LGBT community and its recent Pride celebration, with the City of Tel Aviv as a major sponsor, drew more than 100,000 people along with 10,000 tourists.

The city has a dynamic LGBT nightlife, a supportive population and impressive cultural resources. One thing that was missing was an organized LGBT sports community.

“We wanted to build the sports community one step at a time and we started with the swim team, the TLV Nemos,” Krispin says. “We took eight swimmers to the 2015 EuroGames in Stockholm,which provided us with the opportunity to compete in relays. It was a great experience.”

The next steppingstone was to create the TLV LGBT Sports Club as an organization to oversee any new sports that would be formed in addition to joining international organizations such as the Federation of Gay Games, European Gay & Lesbian Sport Federation and International Gay & Lesbian Aquatics. Krispin is now serving on the boards of all those entities.

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