Hong Kong announced it will hold the 2022 Gay Games, winning the honor amid U.S. and Mexican contenders and becoming the first Asian city to host the event.
“We fought tirelessly and are elated to bring the games to Asia for the first time. Thank you all for your love and support,” chairperson Dennis Philipse said.
Paul Choi, director of government relations responsible for Hong Kong’s participation, said he hopes the event will be a “catalyst” to the abolition of homophobic policies in politics.
Bid supporters called the decision a victory for the status of the region's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
“This is a big step forward for Hong Kong itself to be able to win this world game ... and it is also a big step for diversity inclusion,” said Alfred Chan, chairperson of Hong Kong’s Equal Opportunities Commission, which supported the bid.
The games are expected to attract more than 15,000 participants and provide a US$28-million boost to the economy, the Hong Kong bid team said in a statement.
The Federation of Gay Games chose Hong Kong over Guadalajara, Mexico and Washington D.C., in a Monday vote in Paris. A record 17 cities had expressed interest in hosting the 2022 Gay Games, 13 in the United States alone.
Among the 36 sports events will be some local favorites, namely cross-country, dragon boat racing, and badminton, among some of the more traditional track and field events.
“The impact that the Gay Games has in host cities is incredible in terms of culture, sport, economic impact, history and most importantly, elevating all matters of LGBT+ equality,” the Federation of Gay Games said in a statement.
According to organizers, the events will take advantage of a number of the city’s existing venues such as Tseung Kwan O Sports Ground, Victoria Park swimming pool, and Kai Tak Cruise Terminal.