Waddell was born Thomas Flubacher in Paterson, New Jersey to a Catholic German-American family. His parents separated when he was in his teens, and at the age of fifteen he went to live with Gene and Hazel Waddell, for whom he did chores; they adopted him six years later. The Waddells were former vaudeville acrobats and encouraged Tom to take up gymnastics. [Gene Waddell is one of the men in the famous photograph of acrobats balancing atop the Empire State Building.] Aware of his homosexual feelings in high school, Tom excelled in athletics as a means to compensate for them. (Picture: Tom, Sara and Jessica)
Waddell attended Springfield College in Massachusetts on a track scholarship. Originally majoring in physical education, he switched to pre-medicine following the sudden death of his best friend and co-captain of the gymnastics team, an event that moved him deeply. At Springfield, he competed on the gymnastics and football teams. In the summer of 1959, Tom worked at a children's camp in western Massachusetts, where he met his first lover, socialist Enge Menaker, then a 63-year-old man. They remained close for the rest of Menaker's life, which ended in 1985 when he was ninety years old.
Zohn Artman & Tom Waddell by Lisa Kanemoto
"About my homosexuality - I feel privileged. Sometimes I think I'm experiencing twice as much living as others who have not liberated themselves. Soon, perhaps, we can drop the labels, when we all realize that sexuality is not black and white, but a marvelous nuance."
Dr. Tom Waddell (November 1, 1937 - July 11, 1987) was an American sportsman who founded the Gay Olympics in 1982 in San Francisco. The international sporting event was later renamed Gay Games after the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) sued Waddell for using the word "Olympic" in the original name. The Gay Games are held every four years. In 1981, while founding the Gay Games, Waddell met public relations man and fundraiser Zohn Artman, with whom he fell in love and began a relationship.
Sara Lewinstein by Lisa Kanemoto
"Being a strong aggressive woman, Jewish and Gay, has not been a major asset in my past. At age 16, when I was just coming out, I was led to believe that a family consisted only of blood relations. That wasn't enough support for me, so I proceeded to challenge it - and a lot of the other ideas set forth by society. In creating a new lifestyle for myself and others, I have found many different options; I opened the Artemis Cafe; I was co-founder, with a women's bookstore, of a women's community; and now I am a mother. I love being a woman. I love being in love. Having a family of both gay and straight men and women has been a dream fantasy of mine all my life."
Waddell attended medical school at New Jersey College of Medicine, a division of Seaton Hall University. He traveled on a U.S. State Department-sponsored track and field tour of Africa in 1962, and interned at Beth El Hospital (now Brookdale Hospital), Brooklyn, in 1965. In 1965 he traveled from Brooklyn, New York to participate in the African-American Civil Rights Movement in Selma, Alabama.
Drafted into the Army in 1966, Waddell became a preventive-medicine officer and paratrooper. Entering a course in global medicine, he protested when he found out that he would be shipped to Vietnam. Expecting a court-martial, he was instead unexpectedly sent to train as a decathlete for the 1968 Olympics.
At the Mexico City Olympics, Waddell placed sixth among the 33 competitors. He broke five of his own personal records in the ten events.
After discharge from the Army, Waddell served residencies at Georgetown University and Montefiore Hospital (The Bronx). At Georgetown, he did research on viruses at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C.. In 1970, he began a graduate fellowship at Stanford University. While there, he met Lee Brian, with whom he had a five-year relationship. In 1972, in a track meet in Hawaii, he injured his knee in a high jump, which ended his career as a competitive athlete.
Waddell established his private practice on 18th Street in the Castro neighborhood of San Francisco in 1974. His medical background enabled him to find jobs easily and in exotic locals. He also served in the Middle East as medical director of the Whittaker Corporation from 1974 through 1981. Part of his job entailed serving as personal physician for a Saudi prince and a Saudi businessman and he eventually became the team physician for the Saudi Arabian Olympic team at the 1976 Montreal Olympics.
In 1975, he met landscape designer Charles Deaton, twelve years his senior, and they became lovers. A June, 1976 issue of People magazine featured them in a cover article. They were the first gay couple to appear on the cover of a major, national magazine.
Soon after returning to San Francisco in 1972, Waddell joined a gay bowling league. It inspired him to consider organizing a gay sporting event modeled on the Olympics. He followed through with the idea in the early 1980s. The first "Gay Olympics" was to take place in San Francisco in 1982 in the form of a sports competition and arts festival. But a few weeks before the event was to begin, the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) sued Waddell's organization over its use of the word "Olympic."
Despite the fact that the USOC had not previously protested when other groups had used the name, they alleged that allowing "Gay Olympics" would injure them. They succeeded in securing an injunction just nineteen days before the first games were to begin.
Nevertheless, the games, now re-christened the "Gay Games," went forward. They were a great success, perhaps because they emphasized sportsmanship, personal achievement, and inclusiveness to a far greater degree than the Olympics. In 1987, the United States Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, ruled in favor of the USOC. The court affirmed the USOC's right to collect legal fees from Waddell and it placed a lien on his home. In 1987, a few weeks before Waddell died, the USOC waived its legal fees and removed the lien.
In the 1980s Waddell was employed at the City Clinic in San Francisco's Civic Center area; after his death, it was renamed for him.
In 1985, Waddell was diagnosed with AIDS. To protect Jessica's and her mother's legal rights, Tom and Sara married in 1985. Although dogged by the USOC's lawsuit, Waddell lived his final years with bravery and dignity. He saw the enormous success of Gay Games II in 1986, and even participated, winning the gold medal in the javelin event.
With the enormous grace and courage that marked his life, Tom Waddell died from AIDS on July 11, 1987, aged 49, in San Francisco, California. His last words were "Well, this should be interesting."
His battle against HIV/AIDS is one of the subjects of the award-winning documentary Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt With sports writer Dick Schaap, Waddell wrote an autobiography titled Gay Olympian.
Gay Olympian: The Life and Death of Dr. Tom Waddell by Tom Waddell
Hardcover: 239 pages
Publisher: Knopf; 1st edition (May 21, 1996)
Amazon: Gay Olympian: The Life and Death of Dr. Tom Waddell
Tom Waddell perhaps did more to flout gay stereotypes than any other American. He was not effeminate; he was a world-class athlete. He was also a pheneomenon--a revelation to mainstream America when he appeared with his lover in People and on ABC's 20/20 when he was dying of AIDS. Now, celebrated sports writer Dick Schaap teams up with Waddell to offer an inspiring biography.
Muscle Boys: Gay Gym Culture by Erick Alvarez
Paperback: 316 pages
Publisher: Harrington Park Press; 1 edition (February 28, 2008)
Amazon: Muscle Boys: Gay Gym Culture
Find out why the gym has become the hottest place to work up a good sweat!
Muscle Boys: Gay Gym Culture is an inside look at the secret world of exercise and fitness that’s become one of the country’s fastest growing and most influential gay subcultures. The author, a personal trainer on the San Francisco gay gym scene for more than a decade, examines the history, sociology, and influence of bodybuilding, male body image, and beefcake media, and incorporates the results of an online study of nearly 6,000 gay and bisexual men for an in-depth look at gay body culture and its role in modern gay life.
Over the past 20 years, the physical and social trends of the gay gym have traveled far from the gay “ghettos” of New York and San Francisco, thanks to the modern gay man’s ability to travel - both online and off. What was once a lifestyle for a small number of trendy gay men in big cities has become a way of life for many and the gay gym has become a subculture all its own. Muscle Boys includes interviews and profiles, photographs, and research findings on masculinity, steroids, sex in the locker room, and much more!
More LGBT Couples at my website: http://www.elisarolle.com/, My Ramblings/Real Life Romance
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