While it may be dubbed the LGBT Olympics, the Gay Games is not just a global sporting event that promotes the acceptance of sexual diversity – it’s also a cultural festival. As well as athletes competing in 36 sports, the games – to be hosted in Hong Kong in 2022 – will also feature a raft of cultural activities, helping to draw an expected 40,000 people to the city. Since its inception in San Francisco in 1982, the Gay Games has proudly had an arts section dedicated to spreading the message of diversity. And like the sporting contests, it is open to people of all sexual orientations. Exhibits just have to share the ethos of diversity and inclusion, says Scott Hessels, director of the Diversity Arts Festival that will be held during the 11th Gay Games in Hong Kong. The festival will be underpinned by two major art exhibitions: Sunpride Foundation’s “Spectrosynthesis”, Asia’s largest touring LGBT contemporary art exhibition; and a new-media exhibition co-curated by Videotage, a Hong Kong-based non-profit promoter of video art. There will be five groups of performances at the games “village” – a social hub at the Central Harbourfront Event Space serving food and drinks – featuring dancers, singers, bands and performers from around Asia with special skills such as kung fu and cheerleading. There will also be online games so anyone, anywhere can participate in the Gay Games, says Hessels, an artist and associate professor at City University of Hong Kong. From heartbreak to bringing the Gay Games to Asia for the first time Hong Kong businessman Patrick Sun Kai-yit, founder of Sunpride and of its impressive art collection, says he looks forward to bringing “Spectrosynthesis” to his home city after taking it to the Taipei Museum of Contemporary Art in 2017 and the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre this November. He is optimistic that major art institutions in Hong Kong will be as supportive as their counterparts in Taipei and Bangkok. “We want the exhibition to be held in a public institution because that’s the only way to reach out beyond the echo chamber of our community. We are talking to potential venues and I tell them that in 2022 around 40,000 visitors are coming to Hong Kong for the Gay Games, and they can’t pretend it’s not happening,” he says. “I hope the [public galleries and] museums in Hong Kong [that aren’t involved with the games] will come up with their own programmes that are relevant to the games and its values.” Isaac Leung Hok-bun, chairman of Videotage, says it has been part of Hong Kong’s LGBT history since being founded in 1986, and is eager to play its part in helping the Gay Games engage the public through accessible and tech-related art. Leung says he took refuge in the arts at school when there was nobody he could talk to about his sexual orientation. “Thank goodness for Zuni Icosahedron, which made plays that I could relate to,” he says, referring to the Hong Kong theatre group with which early co-founders of Videotage, such as the queer artist Ellen Pau, worked closely with in the 1980s. “Art was the only thing which allowed me to feel myself, and so this is why we are joining [the Diversity Arts Festival]. View this post on Instagram Paris 2018 - Gay Games 10 Closing Ceremony! Cheers and gratitude to Paris organizers, participants, volunteers and supporters! Welcome to our next host city, Gay Games 11 - Hong Kong 2022! Follow all the excitement at www.gaygameshk2022.com @gaygameshk2022 @paris2018 . . #paris2018 #gaygames #france #allequal #allchampions #hongkong #gghk2022 #unityindiversity #divercity #lgbt #equality #instagay A post shared by Federation of Gay Games (@gaygames) on Aug 13, 2018 at 1:21am PDT <!--//--><![CDATA[// ><!--\n\n\n//--><!]]> “New-media art is so important in a tech-savvy city, a place where people are so willing to try out the latest technology. How do you leverage on that kind of energy? New-media art, including the use of augmented reality and apps, is one way of making art more accessible,” he says. Besides the two exhibitions and the daily performances, choirs will perform during the Gay Games’ opening ceremony at Hong Kong Stadium, and a memorial service will feature sections of the Gay Games Memorial Quilt, made since 1990 to commemorate people who died of Aids.