This blog is part of a series of stories showcasing the cities bidding for Gay Games 2022.
Hong Kong; known as Asia’s World City, is a diverse, multicultural vortex of venues, top-notch cuisine and unique culture. Currently Hong Kong is predicted to be in the top 3 cities under consideration for hosting the next Gay Games in 2022. With a mostly temperate, subtropical climate, one of the world’s top transportation systems and a very diverse community, Hong Kong is well placed to provide all that is needed for all the sporting, cultural and educational activities that the Gay Games require.
While Hong Kong is well known as a financial and technological hub; we are well prepared for the sporting arena. Some of our past sporting achievements include hosting the East Asian Games in 2009 and the Formula-E in 2016. In addition, the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens has grown into one of the biggest rugby events on the international sporting calendar since its humble kick-off in 1976 as a vehicle to boost rugby’s presence in Asia- drawing tens of thousands of visitors annually! In addition, the Hong Kong Marathon attracts more than 70,000 runners each year, and is home to several annual Dragon Boat competitions- one of their proposed new sports for Gay Games 2022.
To help further develop Hong Kong as a “sports city”; it is important to note that both the Asian Games and the Winter Olympics will be held in China in 2022 as well. With the addition of Gay Games 2022; Hong Kong will be the place to be in 2022 for all sporting enthusiasts!
The Gay Games is also a chance for Hong Kong to introduce to the world the sports which make us unique, such as tower running, dragon boating and trail running. We have selected a total of 36 sports for Gay Games 2022; that are open to all genders to participate. Powerlifting and Bodybuilding are notable in particular, as we consider them as key sports for the LGBT+ community in Asia. By partnering with existing sport organizations- like Hong Kong Rugby Union, HK China Dragon Boat Association, HK Royal Yacht Club, etc- the Gay Games will have a time-tested, experienced leadership team and venues. The sporting events are planned to be held in venues all across Hong Kong, so that participants can experience the full extent of the local community. Moreover, Hong Kong’s barrier-free environment for disabled citizens enables easier access for athletes with disabilities to participate in the Gay Games sporting events.
In addition; Hong Kong’s complex history and diverse culture lays a solid foundation for cultural programs and events alongside the main stage of the sporting arena. We are preparing to showcase unique local artistic traditions like calligraphy, Cantonese Opera and martial arts displays with contemporary programs, performers and artists in an exciting series of cultural events, exhibitions and experiences. These events and workshops will provide opportunities to learn about Hong Kong’s history and participate in some of its oldest cultural traditions, alongside a Film Festival and Literary Festival to showcase the city’s diversity of artistic form and practice.
Asia is home to two thirds of the world’s population and Hong Kong is at its heart, with twenty countries within five hours flying time, including the largest by population, China. According to a report from Euromonitor International, China is “gaining global dominance as a destination for business and leisure tourism.” Hong Kong alone receives over 60 million visitors each year and is well equipped to handle the tens of thousands of athletes and spectators the Gay Games typically draws. Public transportation in Hong Kong is beyond excellent and includes the world-famous rapid transit railway system known as the MTR, or Mass Transit Railway. Also of note are our world-class facilities such as conference venues, medical infrastructure, transportation system, and other hard assets that will be utilized to their fullest potential for Gay Games 2022.
The Gay Games have changed the world by empowering thousands of LGBT+ athletes and artists worldwide. Stigma and discrimination are always a challenge and Asia lags behind other advanced countries in its LGBT+ rights. Hosting the 2022 Gay Games will increase the awareness of LGBT+ issues and rights in Hong Kong and Asia- enabling positive change and acceptance. Sport and culture changes minds faster and far more effectively than political agitation. The Equal Opportunities Commission and the “father of Lan Kwai Fong” Allan Zeman are among a number of high-profile backers to throw their support behind Hong Kong’s bid to host the 2022 Gay Games.
Hosting the 2022 Gay Games will be enormously beneficial to both The International Federation of Gay Games; boosting visibility and its global reputation as well as promoting LGBT+ diversity and acceptance across Asia. 2022 is the perfect time for the Gay Games to come to Asia and its World City, Hong Kong.
Daniel Ou, Korean living in Hong Kong
Athlete in the 2010 Cologne, Germany Gay Games and several GLTA World events (Tennis)
“It was incredible to be surrounded by gay athletes of all ages, demographics, ethnic background from all over the world. The atmosphere was electric, uplifting, and so inclusive because we came from all over the world to celebrate our unity and community. For anyone who has ever wanted to experience something similar to the competitive goodwill and positivity of the Olympics, the Gay Games is a wonderful once in a lifetime opportunity to do so.”
“Because Asia is such a dynamic part of the world right now, hosting the Gay Games would catapult Hong Kong into modernity and show the world how welcoming and vibrant this country truly has become. It would also help bring awareness and strengthen the LGBT community in Hong Kong which is quite significant but still rather closeted.”
Yannick Asselin, Canadian living in Hong Kong
Athlete in the 2014 Cleveland Gay Games (Runner)
“The experience of actually going to the games will be forever unforgettable for me. I had goosebumps when our city was announced and we walked into the sports center to the applause of thousands of other athletes while I proudly waved our city and country’s flag high and wide. I met hundreds of other dedicated athletes that put their best performance forward and strived to excel in their chosen sports. Stories of perseverance and dedication and love were all around. Love for the sport, love for each other, love for life, and love for a better, more open and accepting world. The Cleveland community seemed to open up more as a result of the Gay Games; helping break down barriers and stereotypes.
At Gay Games Cleveland 2014 I met a Japanese athlete, and learned that he took leave from work and didn’t tell his family why he came to America. He will not be able to discuss his experience or display his medals in his home. Yet, I could see the happiness and how proud he was to be part of our community and I realized how positive the experience was for him, to meet so many people like him and to open up to be himself freely and without constantly checking his behavior.
I can’t help but wonder at how many more athletes like him from the Asia Pacific region would be able to benefit similarly, if Gay Games 2022 are held in Hong Kong.”
Seen Meng Chew, Malaysian living in Hong Kong
Participant Volunteer in the 2006 Chicago Gay Games
“I sometimes miss the freedom, openness and passion in the U.S. – Something Asian societies are still catching up with, when compared to their western counterparts. That’s why I think bringing the Gay Games to Hong Kong, a premier Asian city, is such a cool thing! It represents an important step for Asian society in embracing diversity. It could be a unique and mind-altering experience for many Asian citizens, and also without doubt, bring a lot of fun and laughter to the people here! I hope to see Hong Kong hosting the Games in the near future – it will be a sold-out event for sure, and will also set a good example for other Asian cities to follow”
Written by Amy Kareena Anderson