As Hong Kong eyes up hosting the 2022 “gay Olympics”, the international federation behind the global sports event says it could ultimately choose the Asian city in a bid to shine a light on its poor same-sex rights record.
Hong Kong was listed as one of 17 other cities in the running to host the Gay Games, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington DC, Tel Aviv and Cape Town – but the territory could be the first and only Asian city to be nominated to host the competition.
The Gay Games was first hosted by San Francisco in 1982 and since then has gone on to become the largest international sport and cultural gathering for athletes, musicians and artists.
The 2014 games was hosted in Cleveland, Ohio, featuring 10,000 athletes from 60 countries and 37 sports. The next hosts in 2018 will be Paris.
Speaking to the Sunday Morning Post, Leviathen Hendricks, a board member and the international development officer for the Federation of Gay Games, said: “There is certainly an argument, often conjecture about why a particular city has won the bid to host in the past, and some cities have made that argument before “the Gay Games needs to come here because we need to improve LGBT rights in that area” so that could be an element of someone’s decision to vote for a particular host, to make a real human rights change in that area.”
LGBTI sports organisation Out in HK is leading the bid for Hong Kong 2022. Since its founding in 2014, it has organised more than 230 events, and is making the big leap undertaking a bid to organise a major sports event.
”Hosting the games in Hong Kong will make change because the guy in Starbucks or the taxi driver will have a completely different awareness of the LGBT people,” Dennis Philipse, founder of Out in HK, told the Post. “In its 40th anniversary, it is time to take the Gay Games back to its founding aims by planting a flag in fresh fields, where the promotion of its principles can have the greatest effect.”
Out in HK promotes the city as a bidding team ready to host with the unrivalled transport infrastructure, wide range of sport facilities, entertainment venues and huge accommodation capacity that will ensure a smooth and efficient experience for participants and visitors.
With government backing and funding from the private sector, the LGBT sports group hopes to hold the opening ceremony at the Hong Kong Stadium.
One study of the economic impact of the Cleveland Games found a boost to the economy to the tune of US$52 million (HK$400 million).
The Federation will select the 2022 host in October 2017.
The Federation of Gay Games (FGG) has announced that 17 cities from around the world have expressed an interest in bidding to host the Gay Games in 2022.
The 17 cities (in alphabetical order) are:
- Anaheim (US)
- Atlanta (US)
- Austin (US)
- Cape Town (South Africa)
- Dallas (US)
- Denver (US)
- Des Moines (US)
- Guadalajara (Mexico)
- Hong Kong (China)
- Los Angeles (US)
- Madison (US)
- Minneapolis (US)
- Salt Lake City (US)
- San Antonio (US)
- San Francisco (US)
- Tel Aviv (Israel)
- Washington (US)
FGG co-president Kurt Dahl:
‘We consider the choice of a host for the Gay Games one of the Federation’s most important tasks. We extend words of support to the bidding groups as they take the next steps in this process. Only three of these groups will make it to the site selection meeting in late 2017 in Paris, the host of Gay Games 10 (in 2018). This is when the FGG Board and our member organizations will choose one of them as the presumptive host of Gay Games XI..
First held in 1982, the Gay Games have so far been held in the following cities:
- San Francisco (1982)
- San Francisco (1986)
- Vancouver (1990)
- New York (1994)
- Amsterdam (1998)
- Sydney (2002)
- Chicago (2006)
- Cologne (2010)
- Cleveland (2014)
- Paris (will be held in 2018)