Hong Kong’s Gay Games pushed back until November 2023

Organisers of the Gay Games have announced they’re pushing back their next outing until November 2023. The next edition of the games was due to be in Hong Kong at the end of 2022, but it’ll now be a year later.

Dennis Philipse, co-chair of Gay Games Hong Kong, described the decision as critical to enabling a successful games, citing the effects of Covid-19 as the reason behind the rescheduling.

“The unpredictable progression of COVID variants and corresponding travel restrictions continue to make it challenging for participants from around the world to make plans to travel to Hong Kong. The world today is radically different from 2017 when we won the bid to host the first Games in Asia. GGHK remains steadfast and committed to our original vision of organising the most inclusive and diverse Games celebrating its 40 year history.

“With many parts of the world, including many across Asia, still struggling to contain the virus and facing uneven access to vaccines, we felt that delaying the Games until November 2023 will enhance the likelihood of delivering on our promise to have the Hong Kong Games serve as a beacon of hope for the wider community across the region.”

“Given the ongoing uncertainty regarding the state of travel restrictions internationally and in Hong Kong, we have decided to postpone the Games now to give sufficient time for FGG member organizations to develop an appropriate training schedule for the Games, and make alternate arrangements for their 2022 tournaments.” Philipse said.

The co-chair also said it was disappointing that some local lawmakers had attempted to politicise the community building event.

“Recent attempts of a couple of lawmakers to politicise the Games have distracted the media from the true mission of the Games, an event open to all, focused on Unity in Diversity. Anti-inclusion objections from this small but vocal minority, however, have galvanised the resolve of our 300 volunteers, and brought out overwhelming support from the general public, business community, and other legislators.

Dennis Philipse also said Carrie Lam, Hong Kong Chief Executive, has also expressed her support for the event.

Commenting on the decision, Sean Fitzgerald, co-president of governing body the Federation of Gay Games, said the organisation remained committed to delivering the event in 2023.

“The FGG stands behind Hong Kong’s decision to postpone the Games, and will continue to work with the GGHK team and our member organisations to ensure that our event in November 2023 delivers on meeting our core aims of participation, inclusion and personal best to the widest possible attendance from Asia and internationally.”

The games are anticipated to bring 12,000 participants, 75,000 spectators and 3,000 volunteers from 100 countries to Hong Kong under the theme “Unity in Diversity.”

There are 36 sporting events planned including Dragon Boat Racing, Dodgeball, eSports, and Trail Running, Opening & Closing ceremonies, Festival Village, and Arts & Culture events with daily performances, a Gala Concert, LGBTQ+ art exhibitions, and memorial events to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Gay Games.

The Gay Games were first held in San Francisco in 1982 and have subsequently been held in Vancouver, New York, Amsterdam, Sydney, Chicago, Cologne and Cleveland. The Hong Kong games will be the first time the event has been held in Asia, and only the second time it’s been in the southern hemisphere.

The list of potential locations for the 2026 games has been shortened to just three contenders, Munich in Germany, Guadalajara in Mexico and Valencia in Spain. Brisbane had been a potential candidate but it’s bid did not progress.

OIP Staff

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