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Pink and active

One of the persisting stereotypes about the gay community is the supposed inability of gay men to get actively involved in sports. But things may now be changing, since – with the likes of The Straits Games (TSG), an annual sports event that promotes friendship and healthy lifestyle in the LGBT community – now enter being pink and being active.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE 'TUTU RUNNER'
PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE 'TUTU RUNNER'

PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE ‘TUTU RUNNER’

For some, being gay and being sportsminded may not jive.  This is no thanks to (unfortunately persisting) stereotypes that dissociate being gay with being sporty.  But things may now be changing.

Enter being pink and being active.

Tutu Runner2As an out gay man, Noel Contreras said it is “not really harder to get engaged in sports.”

In fact, even as a little kid, Contreras remembers already being into sports.

“My parents exposed me to different kinds of sports at a young age, and this sparked my interest,” he said.  “I attended summer swimming classes with my sisters when I was four years old; I took bowling lessons when I was seven; I started playing tennis and volleyball at the age of 10; I learned basketball and golf in high school… I’m still exploring and learning new sports as of today.”

Contreras – actually a two-time winner for the individual bowling competition of the Bowlibining Pilipinas Universe, besting 80 other bowlers – has, by and large, “an active lifestyle – I can’t seem to stay at home and just watch TV the whole day, which is why I’m into a lot of things. I run as the ‘Tutu Runner’, play tennis, volleyball, badminton, basketball, bowling, golf, I also paddle for the Triton Dragon Boat Team, I swim, bike (mountain bike) and I regularly go to the gym…”

One of the sports events that Contreras joins is The Straits Games (TSG), an annual sports event first initiated by the Malaysia’s Leadership Program for Gays (LPG) and Singapore’s MenAfterWork (MAW) to foster friendship and promote a healthy lifestyle in the LGBT communities.

“TSG for me is a reunion; like a family that has not seen each other for a long time, It gives us an opportunity to reconnect with old acquaintances, learn from different cultures, build new friendships and create beautiful memories while sharing our strong passion for sports,” said Contreras, who was “lucky enough” to be part of the first Philippine delegation in TSG 2008 in Malaysia. “It was so much fun. I had a wonderful experience.  More than playing the sports, it was really the bond that we created during those three days we spent together. It was really a family gathering. “

This year, the Philippines is slated to host TSG 2013 from October 18 to 20. TSG has, thus far, generated interest from the LGBT community in different countries in the Asian region, such as Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand, Japan, China, Vietnam and Guam.

This is the first time the Philippines is hosting the event. In its 12th year, the country makes use of the Department of Tourism slogan: ‘Friendship. More Fun in the Philippines’.

Different sports like badminton, bowling, volleyball, billiards, darts, swimming and tennis will be held in selected locations in Metro Manila from October 18 to 20. Other events will include the Welcome Party, Social Nights, Tours, Gala Dinner and Club Parties, all expected to also highlight TSG Manila.

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For TSG in the Philippines, Contreras will be playing tennis, and at the same time, will be part of the committee for the bowling competition.

As he encouraged more LGBT people to get involved in sports, Contreras said starting somewhere, anywhere is good enough.  “Everyone has to start somewhere.  If you are really passionate about trying something new, may it be a sport or something else, don’t mind what other people will say or think, just go for it and have a great time,” Contreras ended.

All the details are on the TSG2013MANILA FB page. Else, for those interested, PM Dennis Corteza at (+63) 9185338826.

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"If someone asked you about me, about what I do for a living, it's to 'weave words'," says Kiki Tan, who has been a writer "for as long as I care to remember." With this, this one writes about... anything and everything.

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