HRC And Community Groups Thank The Salt Lake Olympic Organizing Committee

On January 29th, The Human Rights Campaign joined gay and lesbian
leaders in Utah at a press conference praising the Salt Lake Olympic
Organizing Committee for including the gay and lesbian community in
organizing the international event. The panel also discussed the
unprecedented participation of the lesbian and gay community in the 2002
Olympic games.

In 2001, two members of Utah's gay and lesbian community were
invited by the Salt Lake Olympic Organizing Committee (SLOC) to serve on the
group's "Volunteer Work Group." Michael Marriott and Laura Milliken Gray
are among a group of community leaders who have served on a committee
dedicated to promoting volunteerism at the 2002 Olympic games. Group
members include individuals from Utah's African American, Latino, Native
American and Gay and Lesbian communities.

Marriott and Gray believe that this is the first time that an
Olympic Organizing Committee has officially involved the gay and lesbian
community in its organization of the games. According to Gray, "Mike and my
appointment to the Volunteer Work Group shows a new level of inclusiveness
for the gay and lesbian community in Utah, as well as nationally and
internationally. Utah's growing gay and lesbian community is energetic,
well organized, and is participating positively in the Olympic games and in
Utah at large."

Added Marriott, "Gay men and lesbians are volunteering their time at
the games, opening their homes for the families and partners of Olympic
athletes, and are serving on a SLOC committee. Our community has arrived
and has taken its place at the table.

SLOC's inclusion of the gay and lesbian community reflects a greater
trend to recognize the value of all citizens, and the growing clout of gay
men and lesbians in our society," continued Marriott.
"Lesbian and gay Americans are proud to be involved in all facets of
participating in and organizing the 2002 Olympic games," said HRC
Communications Director David M. Smith at the press conference. "Our
community's level of participation is unprecedented thanks to the Salt Lake
Olympic Organizing Committee's inclusive policies that respect all residents
who want to help make this the most successful Olympics ever."

"This past year, SLOC reached out to the gay, lesbian, bisexual,
transgender community living along the Wasatch Front," said Paula Wolfe,
executive director, the Gay & Lesbian Community Center of Utah. "Not only
did they appoint two representatives to the Volunteer committee, they asked
GLBT community members to participate in a Minority/Cultural Committee.
SLOC contacted the Gay & Lesbian Community Center of Utah asking for help in
developing community housing, especially for 'gay' athletes and attendees,"
continued Wolfe. "They used GLCCU as a distribution site for information
about the Olympics including opportunities to volunteer or apply for paying
jobs. From our perspective, SLOC ensured the inclusion of the gay, lesbian,
bisexual, transgender community in the 2002 games."

"The influx of thousands of employees for the Games and
event-related companies has created a more cosmopolitan feel to Salt Lake
City and especially the gay/lesbian community. Gays and lesbians here
working to make this the best Winter Games ever have become part of our
community, taking part in fundraisers, working with community organizations
and bringing outside perspective and experience. We'll be sad to see many
of them leave."

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