The Paralympics held their opening ceremonies last night, with fireworks and spectacle, and a parade of 4300 blind and disabled athletes from 164 countries, who have come to London to compete in the thirteenth Paralympic Games. Quadriplegic physicist Stephen Hawking began the night by telling the crowd of 80,00 in his computerized voice, they should “Look up at the stars, and not down at your feet.”
The chairman of the London Organizing Committee Lord Sebastian “Seb” Coe, a two-time gold medal winning Olympic runner, greeted the athletes with the words “Welcome home to a movement that shows what sport is all about. Sport refuses to take no for an answer.” Then Queen Elizabeth declared the games open.
These are the largest Paralympics games yet, with 21 events taking place over the next eight days. A record 2.4 million fans have purchased tickets. Among those competing in the 2012 games, we know of two out and proud gay Paralympians, both from Great Britain.
Lee Pearson is an out and proud equestrian who began his medal quest today with a first place finish in the Team Test first round. He also rides in three other equestrian events. Out and proud Claire Harvey, a Sitting Volleyball player, plays her first game tomorrow morning.
The New Civil Rights Movement will keep you apprised of Lee and Claire’s quest for gold, along with any other out and proud gay Paralympians we hear about. Watch for biographies of the 2012 gay Paralympians to be added to our library of out and proud gay Olympians during the games. We wish Lee and Claire and all the Paralympians the joy of sport, the thrill of victory, and echo Stephen Hawkings entreaty, Look up at the stars, not down at your feet.
Jean Ann Esselink is straight friend to the gay community. Proud and loud Liberal. Closet writer of political fiction. Black sheep agnostic Democrat from a conservative Catholic family. Living in Northern Oakland County Michigan with Puck the Wonder Beagle.
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