Dana Ginsberg, a 35-year-old figure skater from Oak Park who describes herself as “straight, but not narrow,” is looking forward to competing in Gay Games VII held in Chicago and other venues including Oak Park.
For Ginsberg, who works three days a week at the Riverside Public Library as a processing clerk, participating in the Gay Games is a political statement as well as an athletic event.
“We live under a presidency in which banning gay marriage is more important than advocating universal health care,” said Ginsberg, a passionate Democrat and activist. “In other countries homosexuality is so much more widely accepted than in the United States.”
Ginsberg trains at the McFetridge Sports Center on Chicago’s Northwest Side, which is hosting the figure skating competition at the Gay Games. Last year she was participating in a the annual Spice on Ice skating event to benefit the Human Rights Campaign, which advocates for equal rights for gays when she learned that the Gay Games were coming to Chicago.
After some thought she decided she wanted to be part of the Gay Games, which welcomes participants of all sexual orientations.
Ginsberg grew up in Oak Park, but only skated sporadically as a child and never did anything more than a few local competitions. Her childhood was mostly focused on academics she said.
But for as long as she can remember she loved figured skating.
“I got inspired by the skaters I saw on T.V. and I often told myself when I was younger I would love to be able to do that,” recalls Ginsberg.
So at age 23 she embarked on an adult career in figure skating. She started from scratch and competed in her first competition a year later.
At the Gay Games, Ginsberg will skate a 2.5-minute program that includes an axel, half loop and flip combination and her most difficult jump, a double salchow to the music from the 1979 movie “The Electric Horseman.”
Figure skating is a big part of Ginsberg’s life.
“It’s a big part of what makes me me,” said Ginsberg.