Hong Kong has officially bested both Washington DC and Mexico’s Guadalajara to become the host for the Gay Games in 2022.
First held in San Francisco in 1982 as the “Gay Olympics,” the games seek to promote sexual diversity through a worldwide sporting and cultural event that features LGBT athletes and artists — though you do not have to be gay to participate.
Hong Kong will become the first city in Asia to host the event with Gay Games X set to take place in Paris in 2018. Previous host cities include: Vancouver, New York, Amsterdam, Sydney, Chicago, Cologne and Cleveland.
For many, Hong Kong might seem like a strange addition to this list as a city that is known more for its conservative attitudes than its protection of gay rights. In a survey earlier this year of 100 cities around the globe with LGBT communities, Hong Kong came in 83rd in terms of quality of life for gay residents.
However, Hong Kong’s bid team were successfully able to argue that bringing the games to the city may well help change attitudes in the city, as well as the larger region, knocking down traditional cultural barriers against homosexuality.
As the announcement was made on Monday that Hong Kong had been chosen to host the 2022 Gay Games, the team erupted in celebration.
Raymond Chan, Hong Kong’s first openly gay legislator, also cheered the decision on Twitter while noting that “much work needs to be done.”
Hong Kong has been chosen to host the Gay Games 2022! We fought tirelessly and are elated to bring the games to Asia for the first time! pic.twitter.com/KFpyyIDN25
— Ray Chan (@ray_slowbeat) October 31, 2017
Afterward, Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser also tweeted out her congratulations to Hong Kong, adding that she hopes the games will “bring about equality for our LGBTQ friends there.”
— Mayor Muriel Bowser (@MayorBowser) October 30, 2017
Which would be quite the tall task. Same-sex marriage is not legal in Hong Kong with marriage being defined as a monogamous union between a man and a woman. However, LGBT activists in the city were given some hope last month after a British lesbian woman won the right to be granted a spousal visa in a landmark court case.
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