(Cleveland) - People who came from out of town, and out of the country, for the week long Gay Games in Cleveland and Akron say they're heartened by the warm welcome they've received from a region without a reputation as a destination for members of the LGBT community.

People interviewed at the beach volleyball competition Thursday said others have been friendly and helpful, especially when directions were needed.

Among the spectators was Jason Garrett of San Francisco, who says Northeast Ohio is an ideal location for the games precisely because it's not known as an especially gay-friendly place.

The 44-year-old Michigan native says he hopes society has reached a point where sexual orientation no longer matters.

The games end Saturday evening with closing ceremonies in downtown Cleveland.

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(Photo by Ken Robinson/WTAM)