Gay Games 2022: What It Means To Hong Kong
At a gala reception held in Paris last night, the Federation of Gay Games announced that Hong Kong—beating Washington in the US and Guadalajara in Mexico—will host Gay Games 2022, making it the first ever city in Asia to stage the sporting event.
Following the legalisation of gay marriage in Taiwan in May, and the Hong Kong court ruling to allow spousal benefits to a lesbian couple just last month, 2017 has proven to be a year of major strides for the region’s LGBTQI+ community which is estimated to include 221 million people.
Critics have, however, questioned whether the LGBTQI+ sporting event could potentially do more harm than good, citing it as a form of segregation that separates rather than unifies LGBTQI+ athletes with the wider sporting community.
Colin Symmonds, a physiotherapist and clinic manager at Joint Dynamics—a key partner of the Gay Games Hong Kong bid team—says that while it's a valid argument, it's not quite the point, especially since anyone can participate regardless of sexuality or physical ability.
“I agree with some of the criticism because, yes, we need to be inclusive. But the roots [of Gay Games] came from an organization that was trying to portray homosexuality as more than just the stereotypes that people were seeing on TV, and that saw we needed role models,” says Colin. “For the longest period of time, we felt that the gay community wasn’t represented well in sports and many gay athletes didn’t come out because they were scared to. The situation is different now than it was 15-20 years ago and many people in the LGBTQI+ community feel that ‘just because I’m gay doesn’t mean I should have to fit a stereotype. I can still be a highly competitive athlete.’”
He also adds that the event will bring over 45,000 people to Hong Kong, and "that can only be a good thing."
Hong Kong's bid team has received incredible support from partners including Asia Miles Ltd, Credit Suisse Hong Kong Ltd, Joint Dynamics and Ogilvy Public Relations to name a few. Other supporters of the cause included the Equal Opportunities Commission, the Tourism Board, businessman Allan Zeman and Cathay Pacific, whose pilots from the airline’s LGBT+ community will be flying the victorious bid team home.
Find out more on gaygameshk2022.com