Melissa Etheridge Becomes Gay Games Ambassador

Mon. August 2, 2004 12:00 AM

Chicago, IL - Internationally acclaimed rock-star Melissa Etheridge signed on today as the newest Gay Games Ambassador, joining a growing list of athletes, artists, activists and celebrities supporting the movement in advance of Gay Games VII, scheduled for 15-22 July 2006 in Chicago. Registration for the quadrennial event opened 1 July 2004 online at

The Federation of Gay Games (FGG) made the announcement jointly with Chicago Games, Inc., the host of Gay Games VII. "Melissa Etheridge is a cultural icon and highly regarded proponent of human rights," said FGG co-president Roberto Mantaci, from his home in Paris. "We are deeply honored to have Ms. Etheridge serve as an ambassador of the Gay Games movement. For 25 years the Gay Games has promoted fairness, inclusion and equality through sports, culture, and community. Melissa Etheridge's commitment to human rights is unparalleled. We look forward to working with her in making progress toward a better world for all."

Etheridge, a two-time Grammy Award winner with more than 25 million albums sold worldwide, courageously came out as a lesbian at a 1993 inaugural party for newly elected President Clinton, causing a media sensation, and paving the way for dozens of other closeted celebrities who were emboldened by her public announcement. Since that time, Etheridge has devotedly worked on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights by performing at events such as the March on Washington, the Human Rights Campaign's "Equality Rocks" concerts, speaking out against efforts to amend the USA Constitution to prohibit lesbian and gay marriage, and lending her support to countless fundraisers.

"As a musician, I have seen how powerfully the arts can break down the barriers that divide us," said Etheridge from her Los Angeles, California home. "The Gay Games bring people together around sports and culture, inspiring us to build a world without bigotry. I support the Gay Games because it is a joyful international celebration of diversity, individuality, and equality. `Participation, Inclusion and Personal Best' isn't just the Gay Games credo - it is a vision of the future that focuses attention on our joint humanity. That's the future that I want for myself and my children and I'm happy to lend my enthusiastic support to the legacy of the Gay Games."

The L.A.-based singer/songwriter has garnered 2 Grammy® Awards, and more than a dozen Grammy nominations during a remarkable 15-year career that includes 8 albums, a catalogue of more than 100 songs, and hundreds of sold-out concerts. Etheridge is best known for international radio hits like "Bring Me Some Water," "I'm The Only One," "I Want to Come Over," "Come To My Window," and "Yes I Am," many of which went on to gold, platinum, and 5x certified platinum.

"Melissa Etheridge is a role model not just for aspiring musicians, but for all kinds of people - young and old, gay and straight, men and women - striving for excellence, embracing their identities, and standing up for that in which they believe," said Chicago Games, Inc., Sports Co-Chair Suzanne Arnold. "We are very proud to have Melissa in our corner in support of the Gay Games."

Melissa Etheridge joins a list of Gay Games Ambassadors supporting the Gay Games movement in Chicago and beyond including baseball star Billy Bean, actor and director Amanda Bearse, photographer Tom Bianchi, Olympic gold medal swimmer Bruce Hayes, former USA Ambassador to Luxembourg James Hormel, and actress Judith Light.