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LGBTI

Hong Kong a step closer to hosting ‘Gay Games’ after inspection of venues

Officials praise passion of the bid team, but anti-gay pressure group claims most people in the city are opposed

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 21 June, 2017, 8:35pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 21 June, 2017, 10:18pm

Hong Kong’s chances of hosting the 2022 “Gay Games” have improved after organisers praised the quality of the venues and the opportunity to bring the sporting event to Asia for the first time.

Federation of Gay Games officials wrapped up their inspection of Hong Kong in scrutinising the city’s bid to be the next host of the LGBTI sporting event.

They toured potential sporting and cultural venues and met officials, lawmakers and members of the business community, including executive councillor Anna Wu Hung-yuk, equalities chief Alfred Chan Cheung-ming, and youth leader Lau Ming-wai.

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Hong Kong is lined up against Washington DC and Guadalajara in Mexico in contesting for the right to host the games after making the final shortlist.

“What we’ve seen in the last four days is the passion of the bid team,” federation site inspector David Killian said. “Normally, it’s [the winning host] based on the venues, the capacity of the bid team to host the games, as well as the passion of the bid team. That is very important.”

The fact that the event had never been hosted in Asia was not lost on the bid team.

“The Gay Games has never been hosted in Asia before, so we strongly believe Hong Kong has a very good chance to bring it here,” said Dennis Philipse, co-chairman of the bid.

Among the key backers is the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC).

“The mission of the Gay Games is entirely consistent with the work of the EOC,” the watchdog’s legal counsel Peter Reading said.

“If the Gay Games comes to Hong Kong, we hope it could transform it from not just being Asia’s world city, but a world city that fully embraces diversity and equality.”

In the autumn, the bid team will head to Paris, host of the 2018 games, to make its last pitch in front of the federation’s delegates, where the winning bidder will be revealed.

Gay Games a chance to boost tolerance in Hong Kong

Concluding the site visit, anti-gay groups tried to make their opposition heard and attempted to face-off with the site inspectors.

An organisation called Family School SODO Concern Group, headed by Roger Wong Wai-ming, attempted to disrupt the proceedings.

“It is not appropriate for Hong Kong to host,” Wong said, claiming a Post poll showed 80 per cent of people did not want the city to be the 2022 venue. “This is against the will of Hong Kong people. It is a gay parade disguised in a format of games, which I think is not honest with people.”

First hosted in San Francisco in 1982, the Gay Games is the largest global sporting and cultural gathering open to all, regardless of ability, age, sexual orientation, race, gender, nationality, political or religious beliefs, ethnic origin or HIV status.

Hong Kong’s bid for the games features 36 events including local favourites trail running and dragon boat racing alongside traditional track and field events. The government, through the Home Affairs Bureau, is providing assistance to the bid team to secure venues for 2022.