HK pride soars as Gay Games host

Top News | Amy Nip 1 Nov 2017

Hong Kong has won the right to host the 2022 Gay Games, beating out Guadalajara, Mexico, and Washington, DC.

The Gay Olympics will stretch over nine days in November 2022, with 15,000 participants and an expected 40,000 spectators, said Dennis Philipse, founder and chairman of the Hong Kong bid team.

"We are happy and excited to bring the games to Asia," he said.

The SAR was chosen by the San Francisco-based Federation of Gay Games and announced by Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo at a gala reception.

Held every four years for more than 32 years, the games are the largest LGBTI - lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex - sporting event in the world. The games promote equality, diversity and inclusion.

The festival covers three themes: sports, arts and culture, and academic conference. Participants, regardless of their sexual orientation, can join the games.

Philipse and his 40-strong team of volunteers spent two years on the bid.

The federation executive made a site visit in June to Hong Kong, which won the final round based on its world-class sporting infrastructure, support across Asia as a host, and evidence of growing diversity and inclusion.

Asked if the games would help locals fight for gay marriage rights, Philipse said: "We don't ride on any political agenda."

But he expects hosting will allow people to get involved in LGBT issues.

In the future, his team will work with the government on venue issues for the sports and cultural events.

People Power lawmaker Raymond Chan Chi-chuen, who has come out as gay, hopes the games can facilitate legislation banning discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Hong Kong's bid was supported by various parties - including the Tourism Board and Equal Opportunities Commission - although the government initially had reservations.

The games will take place in Paris from August 4 to 12 next year.

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