By Dirk Smith, M.Sc, SDL (He/Him)
Following quite the dramatic bid process that started with 20 cities and then narrowed down to eight, (Brisbane, Toronto, Taipei, Auckland, San Diego) and finally a top three, Munich, Germany, Guadalajara, Mexico and Valencia Spain. The official host of the 2026 will be Valencia, Spain.
The Gay Games bid process begins shortly after a Gay Games is held and it is a bid to host the Gay Games after the next one. So, the 2026 bid began in 2019 and is completed prior to the next Gay Games so that an official “handover” ceremony can take place. Cities initially submit an interest to bid, with viable cities being chosen by members of the Federation of the Gay Games in a voting process. The cities chosen to bid are then required to submit a “bid book” detailing their plans for the Gay Games, including sport venues, hotel/accommodation, public transport, entertainment venues as well as support from local leadership and community organizations. From there, a top three list of cities is chosen in which official inspectors selected by the members of the Federation of the Gay Games travel to each of the cities for a tour of the potential venues and other aspects relevant for that specific bid.
Finally, the culmination of it all comes down to the FGG’s Annual General Assembly held one year prior to the next Gay Games (normally 2022 but Gay Games Hong Kong was postponed to 2023). At this meeting, the inspectors share their reports with the Gay Games members and the bid cities have one final presentation before all the members vote on which city, they think will be the best host. This will be the first Gay Games ever hosted in Spain and the fourth in Europe following Amsterdam, Cologne and Paris.
In addition to the 2026 Gay Games host selection, this year’s Annual General Assembly includes recognizing the contributions of volunteers and members of the organization to the mission and ideals of the Federation of Gay Games. One of whom is our very own Tony Smith who was recognized by the FGG for his contributions to the organization as well as to sports diversity as an “Honorary Life Member’ to the Federation of Gay Games.
Honorary Life Members are former FGG board members who’ve “show exceptional service to the FGG during their tenure and those that have gone beyond the normal tasks and duties as a member of the FGG Board of Directors”. Tony was one of the site inspectors for the 2026 bid and toured all three of the bid cities. In addition, Tony is a founding member of the Compete Sports Diversity Council, Compete Sports Diversity’s Athlete of the Year in 2014 and helped his hometown of Denver win the bid for the 2019 North American Gay Volleyball Championship.
Photo Credit: Tony Smith