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President Obama delivers surprise video address at International Gay Games kickoff

President Barack Obama appeared on the big screen at the Quicken Loans Arena, in Cleveland, as the International Gay Games' opening ceremonies kicked off on Saturday.

"Since 1982, the Gay Games have given lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender athletes and supporters around the world a chance to come together to compete, celebrate, and inspire others," he says in the video. "It's been remarkable to see the Games thrive over the years. We've come a long way in our commitment to the equal rights of LGBT people here (in America) and around the world."

Thousands of athletes and spectators converged on Cleveland and Akron for the week-long event, and Obama noted the bravery it takes for some athletes who hail from less tolerant countries.

"Some of you have come from places where it requires courage, even defiance, to come out, sometimes at great personal risk," he says. "You should know that the United States stands with you and for your human rights."

Watch the full address in the video, below. --Sarah Eberspacher