Sunday, November 9, 2014

Queens & Cowboys: The Gay Rodeo

The International Gay Rodeo Association (IGRA), founded in 1985, is the sanctioning body for gay rodeos held throughout the United States and Canada. It has over 5,000 registered members. 

They are the largest group coordinating rodeo events specifically welcoming lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) as well as heterosexual participants and spectators.

With its help, gay cowboys and cowgirls regularly come together not only to compete in a variety of events like bull riding and calf roping but also to share their lives, struggles, and triumphs, both in and out of the saddle.

IGRA events are intended to allow all competitors, regardless of sexual and gender identity, to compete in rodeo sports without discrimination. 

The organization helps spread appreciation for Western culture and the sport of rodeo, while serving as a fundraising vehicle benefiting many charitable organizations.

However, animal rights organizations such as Mercy for Animals, SHARK and PeTA criticize Gay Rodeo for being cruel to animals. In response, IGRA published a press release stating that their animals are well-treated and handled in accordance with established ethical guidelines.

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