Now Reading
Why the 2022 Gay Games should come to Hong Kong

Why the 2022 Gay Games should come to Hong Kong

gay games hongkong

I met a Japanese athlete at the 2014 Cleveland Gay Games. I learned that he took leave from work and didn’t even tell his family why he came to America. It upset me to know that he wouldn’t be able to share his Gay Games experiences with his colleagues or display his medals back home, simply because he’s still in the closet.

Yet, I could see his happiness and how proud he was to be part of a community of LGBTQ athletes. I realised how positive the experience was for him, to have met so many people like himself. His participation at the Games had helped him break out of isolation and for once feel connected and safe.

This encounter made me wonder how many more athletes like him from the Asia Pacific region would be able to enjoy such an amazing and life-altering experience if the 2022 Gay Games were to be held in Hong Kong.

Last year when the bidding for the 2022 Gay Games opened, Hong Kong was one of the 16 cities to send in a tender. It’s the first ever Asian city to bid for the Games.

To me, Hong Kong is an ideal location for the Games because it has all the necessary sporting, transport and lodging infrastructure to make it happen. Moreover, there is a large and active LGBTQ community consisting of locals and expats who would be ready to participate or volunteer for the Games.

Dennis Philipse, founder of Out in HK, the LGBTQ sports organisation responsible for the bid, believes that the Gay Games could bring about a great impact for LGBTQ community in Hong Kong as well as the region, where legal rights and protection for LGBTQ citizens are severely lacking. This can’t be more true.

Going back to my personal experience at the 2014 Gay Games, I saw the Cleveland community open up more to the LGBTQ community because of the event. Athletes who descended upon the city helped demonstrate another side of our community while breaking down stereotypes that stemmed from ignorance. In fact one of the taxi drivers I met told me, ‘I love you people, you are so much friendlier and more respectful than the Republican convention’s attendees.’ Because of the Games, I think the residents of Cleveland not only learned that LGBTQ people can be healthy and become athletes too, they also saw by our large number that the Games did bring a economic benefit to the city.

The LGBTQ communities of Asia Pacific Region need more visibility. We have so much to share with the world, so many stories waiting to be told. Therefore it is crucial for Hong Kong to be the host for the 2022 Gay Games. I foresee it would be a strong push for better LGBTQ rights in the region.