|Graphic by YIKES,Inc.|
The International Gay Figure Skating Union has joined the Ice Skating Institute as an administrative member.
This news is exciting to the competitive gay skater for many reasons, discussed below. But for interested parties who are not skaters, the most exciting detail is that ISI competitions include the category of "Couples." Unlike "Pairs," which always means one man and one woman, "Couples" is open to any two people skating together, regardless of gender.
According to the IGFSU August 2001 newsletter, "Without hesitation, from our first contact with ISI, they have been enthusiastic about having us on board." ISI's emphasis on creative skating from athletes of all abilities means that the kind of same-sex pair skating pioneered by the gay community will be not only permitted, but welcomed.
Furthermore, the association with ISI means that the IGFSU can hold competitions without risking loss of eligibility for competitors. In other words, this will prevent disasters such as the administrative foul-up that forced the 1998 Amsterdam Gay Games organizers to cancel the figure skating competition (since any skaters who competed in that "unsanctioned" event would have lost eligibility to skate in ISU events). ISI has reciprocal agreements with skating organizations such as the Professional Skaters Association, Skate Canada, and the United States Figure Skating Association, so skaters can have more than one affiliation and participate in events without losing eligibility.
The IGFSU plans to hold skating competitions in the near future, such as an event in New York City during Gay Pride, September 23-30, 2002. To compete in an IGFSU/ISI event, you need to be a member of an IGFSU club and take ISI tests. ISI membership is open to skaters of any nationality; check the ISI website for details.
Questions, suggestions, or concerns? Contact the IGFSU at firstname.lastname@example.org.