The Gay Games is an important piece of new social history, examining one of the largest sporting, cultural and human rights events in the world. Since their inception in 1980, the Gay Games have developed into a multi-million dollar mega-event, engaging people from all continents, while the international Gay Games movement has become one of the largest and most significant international institutions for gay and lesbian people. Drawing on detailed archival research, oral history and participant observation techniques, and informed by critical feminist theory and queer theory, this book offers the first comprehensive history of the Gay Games from 1980 through to the Chicago games of 2006. It explores the significance of the Games in the context of broader currents of gay and lesbian history, and addresses a wide range of key contemporary themes within sports studies, including the cultural politics of sport, the politics of difference and identity, and the rise of sporting mega-events. This book is important reading for any serious student of international sport or gender and sexuality studies.