CHICAGO (AP) – Twin sisters Dee and Nono Grant, one gay and one straight, will play soccer together at the seventh Gay Games this week on a team called Bent Like Beckham.

“I got roped into this,” teased Nono Grant, the straight sister, from Dallas. Others on the women’s soccer team hail from France and England, and the Grant twins are natives of Ireland.

“We haven’t decided who we’re going to march with yet,” said Dee Grant just hours ahead of Saturday night’s opening procession of 12,000 athletes, a ritual modeled on Olympic ceremonies. “It’s either going to be Team Ireland, Team France, Team U.K. or Team Dallas.”

Organizers predicted 60,000 spectators would attend the opening ceremonies at Soldier Field, hear a scheduled welcoming address from Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley and witness a spectacle that would include more than 400 dancers, a 500-member choir and fireworks.

James Hormel, a gay philanthropist who served as ambassador to Luxembourg in the Clinton administration, was scheduled to give the keynote address. Other scheduled speakers and performers included comedians Margaret Cho and Kate Clinton, singer Holly Near, actor George Takei, actress Megan Mullally and diver Greg Louganis.

The games, held every four years, started in 1982 in San Francisco and are open to participants, gay and straight alike, regardless of physical ability. A competing event called the Outgames will begin July 29 in Montreal. The new event resulted from a dispute between the Federation of Gay Games and organizers in Montreal, where the Gay Games originally were scheduled to be held.

Some groups have objected to the Gay Games and the corporate sponsors supporting them. The Illinois Family Institute announced a schedule of speakers for every day of the games “as an alternative to the Gay Games’ message of celebrating homosexuality,” according to a statement from the group.


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