Marc Naimark's writing and interviews _____________________________________________________

These Days Every Day is a Bad Day for François Hollande (and France)

Posted in France by marcnaimark on 2014/09/15

francois-hollande-et-valerie-trierweiler-sur-la-scene-de-la-bastille-10692787dsdyyIn 2012 François Hollande was elected president of France because unlike his opponent, the incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy, he promised to be just an ordinary guy. He’s certainly not extraordinary. But is “infraordinary” a word? Because not a day goes by without poor Hollande, known as Flamby (a brand of individual flans in a cup) shuddering like a bowl of Jello after new blows to his presidency. Beyond the consequences for the man, there will be an impact on the future of the French executive, and more important, on French democracy, with a real threat of a far-right (and anti-American) majority in parliament.

Hollande now rivals Jacques Chirac for the lowest approval ratings for any president of the Fifth Republic. He has brought his own party close to the breaking point, and has seen the rise of the far-right National Front become the leading vote getter in the country, ahead of the Sarkozy’s UMP, itself riven by corruption scandals and personal rivalries. (more…)

Slate / Yes, those straight guys who wed for rugby tickets are mocking marriage. What’s new?

Posted in, web by marcnaimark on 2014/09/15

blogslatenzFrom Slate

Oh, the irony: Gay folk are upset about someone attacking the dignity of marriage by getting married. That’s the line homophobes use to oppose marriage equality: Same-sex marriage somehow magically undermines the institution of mixed-sex marriage.

Yet the dignity argument is the one that’s being trotted out in response to the news that a couple of apparently straight New Zealand bros, Travis McIntosh and Matt McCormick, got married as part of a radio publicity stunt. The reward offered for two friends willing to show just how strong their friendship is? Tickets to the 2015 Rugby World Cup in England. The ceremony took place, appropriately enough, at Eden Park, Auckland’s famed rugby venue.

Australian MP Alex Greenwich was not happy. “It essentially makes a mockery of marriage. Marriage is a really important institution about love and commitment and it’s sad to see that there are people who are making a joke out of that,” he said. (more…)

Slate / A new study supports female athletes unfairly excluded from sport

Posted in Olympics,, sport by marcnaimark on 2014/09/15


I’ve had the pleasure of having a few pieces published on in Slate, in particular in Outward. None have had as much response, good and bad, as my rant against the current International Olympic Committee policy that bans women with high natural testosterone levels from competing in women’s events.

Many of the commenters on my earlier piece about the exclusion of Indian sprinter Dutee Chand from the 2014 Commonwealth Games seemed not to have read the article. No, I was not calling for an end to women’s sport. No, I do not think that people should just decide what gender to compete in. No, it is not plausible that men will declare themselves women just to get a great WNBA contract. No, banned athlete Dutee Chand was not doping. No, it clearly is not obvious who is a woman for the purposes of sport, as decades of failure have so clearly demonstrated. And no, there is absolutely no history of a man competing as a woman—all the examples cited were ambiguous cases, or intersex women, or women whose chromosomes didn’t comply with the tidy binary that our society enforces on men and women.


Homomicro / Retour sur les 9èmes Gay Games

Posted in audio, FGG, Homomicro, sport by marcnaimark on 2014/09/12

bloghomomicroAudio here.

Podcast #10-1, premier épisode de la saison 10

Comme l’an passé, Brahim et son équipe traitent avec humeur l’actualité LGBT à travers différentes rubriques.

Au sommaire :

  • Sport : Gay Games 2014
  • Santé : Ebola
  • Actu : Yagg en parle
  • Cinéma : Boys Like Us
  • DVD : Les Grimpeurs
  • L’Agenda de Septembre

Re-imagining (the) Olympics

Posted in FGG, Olympics by marcnaimark on 2014/08/31

blogreimaginingText by Marc Naimark for a presentation delivered by Leviathen Hendricks at Mansfield College, Oxford. Links follow the presentation. 

Re-Imagining (the) Olympics
Oxford – 2 Sept 2014

How the Gay Games re-imagine the Olympic Games


The Gay Games were born in relation to, and in opposition to, the Olympics. The Federation of Gay Games has maintained an attitude of emulation, opposition, and indifference to the Olympic Movement. Currently the intent of the FGG is to provide constructive engagement to encourage the International Olympic Committee to take on the issue of human rights in the Olympic Movement, and in particular, homophobia in sport. A focus for the FGG’s engagement is the host selection process, for which the FGG submitted a contribution focused on human rights as part of the IOC Agenda 2020 process.

The Gay Games were founded by an Olympian as an alternative to the Olympics that consciously emulated the structure of the Olympics while promoting a different mission for the Games: the Gay Games were to be games for all, where participation was more important than performance.

Our participation in the workshop is aimed at reviewing how the Gay Games have developed with the Olympics as a model and anti-model, and at how the Federation of Gay Games hopes to engage with the Olympic Movement to promote the values at the core of the Olympic Charter, with a focus on submissions from the FGG and other organizations to the Agenda 2020 process.

We will be represented by Leviathen Hendricks, a member of the organizing committee of Pride House London 2012 and the FGG External Affairs committee. (more…) / Au revoir Cleveland, bonjour Paris !

Posted in FGG, France, sport, web, Yagg by marcnaimark on 2014/08/22


La neuvième édition des Gay Games c’est fini. Le pari osé de la Fédération des Gay Games (FGG) qui en 2009 a préféré la candidature de Cleveland à celles de Boston et Washington était-il gagnant?

Pour la Fédération, c’est un oui massif. Il y a eu bien entendu des hics, des choses n’allant pas comme on l’aurait voulu. Le nombre d’inscrit.e.s était en deçà des prévisions, manque à gagner financier compensé on peut le croire par le formidable travail de recrutement de sponsors commerciaux et associatifs réalisé par le comité d’organisation.

Les épreuves étaient en majorité bien gérées et les sportifs/ves ravi.e.s. Il y a eu des histoires passionnantes, comme cette grand-mère de 99 ans qui a établi un record du monde dans les 100m lors du meeting d’athlétisme. La visibilité des sportifs/ves trans’ n’a jamais été aussi forte, avec des médailles pour le dynamophile Kinnon McKinnon, le triathlète Chris Mosier, ou la cycliste Hana Pinard, parmi d’autres. (more…) / Sex verification in women’s sports is humiliating and unnecessary

Posted in Olympics,, sport, web by marcnaimark on 2014/07/31


When the Indian team entered Celtic Park in Glasgow, Scotland, last week for the opening ceremony of the 20th Commonwealth Games, one athlete was missing: Dutee Chand, a sprinter disqualified shortly before the Games because of excess levels of testosterone in her blood.

Chand was not found guilty of doping. Because of privacy concerns, the Indian authorities have not released details about the athlete, and indeed, they did not even name Chand, who soon confirmed that she is the athlete in question. The Sports Authority of India had simply declared: “Preliminary investigations indicate that the athlete is not fit for participation in a female event due to female hyperandrogenism.” This follows the regulations of the International Amateur Athletics Federation, which since 2011 has declared that naturally high levels of testosterone make women athletes ineligible for women’s competitions.

After 90-plus years of women’s sport, governing bodies continue to fight a losing war against an imaginary foe: the presence of male interlopers in women’s competitions. The casualties of this war are the women who are subjected to humiliating screening and testing, a minority of whom will be designated by sports authorities as not “real” women, or at best, women ineligible to compete as women. (more…) / No one can agree on what “homemade” means: France’s new labeling law was doomed from the beginning

Posted in France,, web by marcnaimark on 2014/07/27


As you enjoy your coq au vin this summer in a quaint Parisian bistro, you may find the staff even surlier than usual. The reason for restaurateurs’ consternation is a law that came into effect on July 15 intended to protect “real cuisine” from the onslaught of industrial food that’s served in up to 70 percent of restaurants in France, according to some estimates.

French restaurateurs seeking to maintain the tradition of quality have increasingly complained of unfair competition from eateries that, most often unbeknownst to diners, simply microwave ready-made meals, defrost frozen products, or slice off a length of hard-boiled egg in a tube for your oeuf mayonnaise.

Whenever there is a problem in France, there are legislators ready to respond with a law. The new fait maison law requires that restaurants serving homemade food say so by means of a special logo that looks like a saucepan with a roof over it. If all the food served in a restaurant is homemade, a poster suffices; if only some dishes are homemade, they must be tagged as such on the menu. If you’re the kind of consumer who likes to know where your food comes from, this might sound like a pretty good idea, but au contraire: This law is as flawed as they come.

(more…) / The fairness fallacy is destroying women athletes

Posted in insidethegames, Olympics, sport, web by marcnaimark on 2014/07/27


Sport and fair play go together like peanut butter and jelly. We speak of playing on a level playing field, we worry about doping, match fixing, diving and flopping, of cheating, all in the name of “fairness”.

For women athletes, the unobtainable quest for absolute fairness has profound consequences, leading to shaming, invasive medical examinations, lurid speculation, mutilating surgery, and more. In the following paragraphs, I’ll share some thoughts on how an obsession for “fairness” has lead to this deplorable state of affairs, and why it’s time to admit failure.

The latest victim of the current International Olympic Committee (IOC)/International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) gender policy is Dutee Chand, an Indian sprinter banned from the 2014 Commonwealth Games because her natural testosterone levels are too high.

This policy arose from the controversy over South African runner Caster Semenya. Rather than attempting to determine the gender of an athlete, the policy claims to simply limit participation in women’s events to athletes with a testosterone level within what the sports organisations decide is the normal range for women. Federations have adopted their policy in the name of fairness for women athletes.

But what does “fairness” mean in the context of sport? Certainly cheating, flouting the rules, fixing matches, intentional doping, etc. are unfair.

(more…) / Can dotHIV turn ICANN’s domain name boondoggle into an opportunity to do good?

Posted in internet,, web by marcnaimark on 2014/07/07


You are creating a business, like derivatives on Wall Street, that has no value,” Esther Dyson, the founding chairwoman of ICANN, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, once said about ICANN’s project to create hundreds of new generic top level domains, known as gTLDs.

Aside from the opportunity to use non-Latin alphabets, the new gTLDs are a solution in search of a problem, a multi-million-dollar boondoggle, generating income of more than $300 million in ICANN application fees alone. (Paradoxically, this may result in only minimal net revenue for the corporation.)

That sum does not include the operating costs of the hundreds of applicants seeking to become the registry for a given gTLD (registries “own” top level domains under contract with ICANN and in turn contract with registrars such as or GoDaddy, which sell domain names using the TLD to individuals, businesses, nonprofits, etc.), nor the ongoing costs to brand owners, who arealready seeing the negative consequences they feared at the launch of the program.

These new gTLDs offer real risks to the LGBTQ community. I have written here and here about the travails of dotgay LLC in its attempts to secure the .gay gTLD.  After granting a commercial operator the rights to .lgbt, ICANN will soon decide whether dotgay LLC’s community priority application will succeed for .gay, or whether the string will be awarded to the highest bidder for purely commercial operation. If the latter comes to pass, both .gay and .lgbt, the two names under consideration of the greatest interest to the LGBTQ community, will be operated solely to benefit commercial interests, with no protection against possible abuse of these names, no community involvement, and no funds returning to the community.

But there is a third gTLD that also concerns many in the LGBTQ community: .hiv. It has enjoyed a much better fate than .gay and offers some good from the ill wind ICANN has been blowing on the web.

The new .hiv domain name was successfully proposed by dotHIV, a Berlin-based nonprofit corporation that signed a registration contract with ICANN in late March, with a first batch of “sunrise” domain launches to begin later this month, and .hiv opening to all applicants in August.



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.