Delhi Skirt Game Committee makes final decision on 2022 installment amid criticism

Critics have accused the game of being insensitive to the trans community.
Published: Mar. 10, 2022 at 9:58 PM EST
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - The organizers behind the Delhi Skirt Game decided Thursday to continue with the game’s crossdressing theme this year despite accusations of insensitivity.

The 44-year-old tradition sees men dress up like female celebrities for a charity softball game. Those wanting to change the theme of the game say it is offensive and mocks transgender individuals.

Each year, Delhi Township authorizes a contract with the Skirt Game Committee that allows Delhi Park to be the venue. Township officials recently floated the idea that the theme of the game could be changed.

The Delhi Skirt Game has been losing sponsors and attendance has been steadily dropping for the past five years, trustees said. The goal was to open up dialogue about changing the theme to ensure it is fun, family-friendly and appropriate.

Wednesday night the township board of trustees indicated they would not step in to make the change, instead letting the committee decide.

The majority of those present at the meeting Thursday of the Skirt Game Committee defended the game. Among them was Carl Idler, who has dressed as Dolly Parton, Lady Gaga, Selena Gomez and others.

“We do it,” he said, “because the kids love it and we love to have fun.”

Idler compared dressing up for the game to Halloween or Mardi Gras. But lifelong Delhi-resident Justin Maxwell countered the game could change for the better.

“I think there is some sort of cohort of people who don’t see trans-people as people,” he said. “We have a chance here to do some good.”

The committee said they are open to creating dialogue with Maxwell and others but will continue to host the game focusing on raising funds.

The Delhi Skirt Game began in 1978. It was a beer league softball game where the loser dressed up in women’s clothes to raise money for a young child hurt in a bicycle accident. The first game raised $2,500.

Since 1992, game officials say they’ve raised more than $1 million.

From left, Margo Burger, and JEssica Almasri hold signs supporting the Delhi Skirt Game during...
From left, Margo Burger, and JEssica Almasri hold signs supporting the Delhi Skirt Game during a Delhi Township Trustees meeting, Wednesday, March 9, 2022, at the Glen Carder Lodge in Delhi.(Albert Cesare/The Enquirer)

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