By Dirk Smith, MSc, SDL
In 2020 at the onset of the Covid pandemic, one of the very last big LGBTQ+ sport events to take place was the 2020 International Gay and Lesbian Aquatics Championships held in Melbourne, Australia in February 2020. After then it was a rough year for LGBTQ+ athletes with the cancellation of major LGBTQ+ sporting events including the Eurogames, LGBT Powerlifting Championships, Sin City Classic and so many others. With the closure of pools, gyms and other training facilities; exercise, physical activity and general training has been greatly reduced as cabin fever has set in with the ongoing lockdowns. Fortunately, with vaccine distribution ramping up, there is a light at the end of the tunnel as we’re all eager for some semblance of normality to return.
In a post-covid lockdown society, what can we expect to happen as we all grow eager to get back into training and competition? Unfortunately, it’s too early to tell with any certainty what all will happen this summer in terms of travel plans, lockdown restrictions and whether or not the events scheduled will take place.
The upcoming Eurogames in August due to be held in Copenhagen as part of World Pride is still scheduled to go on after last year’s cancellation of the Eurogames in Düsseldorf. According to the host organization, the plan is for the full program to go ahead but with several contingency alternatives should that not be possible based on different scenarios that will unfold in the next few months based on vaccine distribution, expert recommendations, travel accessibility and rules surrounding gatherings of people in sports settings.
For the 2021 LGBT International Powerlifting Championships, the plan is to host the event as scheduled in July 2021 in Blackpool, UK based on the development of the UK vaccination program. LGBT IPC founder and meet organizer, Chris Morgan, is optimistic that the event will proceed as planned.
Unfortunately, the 2021 International Gay and Lesbian Aquatics Championships due to be held in May in Salt Lake City is cancelled, the first time in IGLA’s history since its founding in 1987. The 2022 IGLA will be held as the aquatics portion of the 2022 Gay Games in Hong Kong in November 2022 as the organization is soliciting bids for the 2023 event.
Speaking of Gay Games Hong Kong 2022, there is a lot of questions and uncertainty regarding the organization of the first Gay Games taking place in Asia. While there is no doubt in the abilities and passion of the host committee to organize a successful event, the Covid pandemic, protests and political instability in Hong Kong as well as the rise of anti-Asian racism in western countries has led to some worries regarding the events future. Despite this, Gay Games Hong Kong is continuing to move forward with plans to open up event registrations and a more aggressive marketing push to encourage people to take part.
The next couple months are crucial to determine what will happen this summer and whether or not us athletes will be able to find ourselves traveling and competing again. Hopefully as the vaccinations increase, we will be back on the field, pool and gym in no time.