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Tewksbury, Mark (b. 1968)  
page: 1  2  3  

Before the show took place on December 15, 1998, two reporter friends of his, Patty Young of the Toronto Globe and Mail and Pamela Wallin of the CBC television network, approached him about doing coming-out stories. Eventually he agreed to their requests, with the proviso that they withhold the information until after he had done his show. Both agreed, but the editorial board of the Globe and Mail decided to put Tewksbury's story on the front page of the December 15 morning edition.

A brief media furor ensued, and in its wake a spate of letters, mostly supportive. Tewksbury felt relief that he had finally identified himself publicly as a gay man, but, he wrote, "the journey of coming out, declaring who you are and what you stand for, never really stops."

Part of what Tewksbury stood for was integrity in sports, and by 1999 he "had a complete crisis of faith in the leadership of amateur sport," including the IOC, from which he resigned that February. With a number of others, he then founded Olympic Athletes Together Honorably (OATH), a group dedicated to reforming the IOC to eliminate cronyism and a "lack of real accountability." A 2000 IOC Commission took note of the OATH report and agreed with some of its conclusions, but, wrote Tewksbury, "many recommendations were implemented, with just enough adoptions to have the appearance of change without ultimately changing anything."

In 2001 Tewksbury became a member of the Montreal tourism committee bidding for the 2006 Gay Games. Although Montreal apparently had the nod, sports politics once again intervened, and after disagreements between the Federation of Gay Games and the Montreal host committee, the Games were awarded to Chicago instead.

After an acrimonious parting of the ways with the Gay Games Federation, Tewksbury co-founded the Gay and Lesbian International Sports Association (GLISA), which became the sponsor of the first World Outgames, beginning July 25, 2006 in Montreal. In addition to sports competitions in 35 disciplines, the Outgames feature musical and dance activities, and are also the forum for the International Conference on LGBT Human Rights.

The timing of the inaugural Outgames was controversial, with its opening only four days after the completion of the 2006 Gay Games in Chicago. Most amateur athletes cannot afford the time and expense required to participate in two competitions so close together. Outgames organizers decided to avoid further conflict by scheduling their next event for 2009 in Copenhagen instead of maintaining a quadrennial schedule.

In late 2004 Tewksbury was shocked to receive an e-mail in which the long-ago trasher of his school locker confessed but claimed--honestly, Tewksbury believed--that he and the other boys who took part did not realize at the time that he was actually gay. It was "just some guys being jerks," wrote the correspondent. Tewksbury accepted that the act was "just a stupid prank," but, he wrote, "that stupid prank almost killed me."

In retrospect, Tewksbury considered the painful experience pivotal, the first step down a long path that took him from feelings of shame to self-acceptance and then on to pride and the determination to work for glbtq rights.

In 2006, as part of the Toronto Pride Festival, Tewksbury was one of a handful of Canadians honored for having demonstrated extraordinary commitment to life.

Linda Rapp

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social sciences >> Overview:  Canada

In 2005 Canada became the fourth country to recognize same-sex marriages; the milestone victory solidified Canada's position as a leader in the struggle for glbtq equality.

social sciences >> Overview:  Montreal

In the last two decades, Montreal has become friendly to and supportive of its glbtq citizens and visitors.

arts >> Overview:  Olympic Equestrians

Gay equestrians are among the most successful and respected athletes in their sport, and a number of them have participated in the Olympic Games.

arts >> Overview:  Sports: Gay Male

While sports, at least on the major competitive level, may be the final closet for gay men, there have nevertheless been a number of gay male elite athletes.

social sciences >> Overview:  Toronto

Toronto's glbtq community has gone from being a hidden subculture to a power base in politics, the economy, and the arts.

arts >> Gay Games

A quadrennial sporting and cultural event designed for the glbtq community, the Gay Games has become a lucrative attraction for host cities.

arts >> Kowalski, Daniel

Australian Olympic medalist Daniel Kowalski remained closeted during his competitive swimming career but found the courage to come out publicly in 2010.

arts >> Louganis, Greg

Widely regarded as the greatest diver in history, Olympic champion Greg Louganis has acknowledged both his homosexuality and his status as a person living with AIDS.

arts >> Mitcham, Matthew

Out gold medal diver Matthew Mitcham earned the highest score in the history of the sport on his final dive in the ten-meter platform event at the 2008 Olympic Games.

arts >> Nyad, Diana

Long-distance swimmer and respected sports commentator has in more recent years spoken out on issues of glbtq rights.

arts >> Orser, Brian

Olympian Brian Orser, known for both his athleticism and artistry, led a resurgence of Canada as a force to be reckoned with in men's figure skating; after being outed in a palimony suit, he has become an advocate for glbtq rights.

arts >> Outgames

The first world Outgames, held in Montreal in the summer of 2006, inaugurated what promises to be a quadrennial athletic and cultural event that combines the pursuit of athletic excellence with the joyous celebration of community.

social sciences >> Robinson, Svend

Svend Robinson, the first openly gay Canadian Member of Parliament, has championed human rights throughout his long political career.

arts >> Waddell, Tom

Olympic decathlete Tom Waddell is best known for founding the Gay Games, a sports and arts event modeled on the Olympics.

arts >> Weir, Johnny

Flamboyant figure skater Johnny Weir won three United States Championships and twice represented his country as an Olympian; although there had been widespread speculation that he was gay for several years, he did not come out publicly until 2011.


Howse, John. "Winning Smile, Winning Stroke." Maclean's (July 27, 1992): The Summer Games, 53.

International Swimming Hall of Fame.

Outgames Montréal 2006.

Tewksbury, Mark. Inside Out: Straight Talk from a Gay Jock. Mississauga, Ont.: John Wiley & Sons Canada, 2006.


    Citation Information
    Author: Rapp, Linda  
    Entry Title: Tewksbury, Mark  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2006  
    Date Last Updated July 21, 2006  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2006 glbtq, Inc.  


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