Are the 2022 Gay Games in trouble?
Back in October of 2017, we were excited to hear that Hong Kong would be hosting the Gay Games. The announcement meant that Hong Kong would be the first Asian city to host the international competition. And with LGBT rights becoming an increasing focus in Asia, the visibility created by the Gay Games presented a wonderful opportunity.
Unfortunately, that location is also causing some concern for the global event.
According to the Bay Area Reporter, many Gay Games supporters are worried about the increasingly volatile political climate in the Chinese province. Despite the fact that Hong Kong is supposed to be a semi-autonomous area, major conflict has sprung up in the past few months. This is because of China starting to overreach with its power.
ICYMI: A fight broke out among Hong Kong lawmakers over a controversial extradition bill opponents fear will reduce Hong Kong's autonomy pic.twitter.com/TQLCiLTM3j
— Bloomberg TicToc (@tictoc) May 12, 2019
Earlier this year, an extradition law was introduced to Hong Kong’s parliament. This law would allow the deportation of accused criminals to countries, specifically China, without a formal extradition agreement. Many lawmakers within Hong Kong saw this law as a thinly veiled attempt at giving China more power over Hong Kong’s affairs. This ultimately led to both verbal and physical fights in the region’s parliament (including one involving Hong Kong’s only openly gay lawmaker). In addition, this law led to mass pro-democracy protests and clashes with Hong Kong’s police.
Eventually, lawmakers repealed the extradition law from the parliamentary floor. But, the damage had been done to the political and social landscape. Now, vocal members of the Gay Games circuit are questioning whether Hong Kong should be the host city for the 2022 games.
If it were decided to find a new location, Guadalajara, Mexico and Washington, D.C. are both up for consideration. Both cities were finalists in the bidding for the 2022 event back in 2017. That said, D.C. is still hurting in global popularity after Donald Trump was elected as U.S. President.
As for Guadalajara, it is the second-largest city in Mexico, incredibly LGBTQ-friendly (which, we’ve shared before), and has hosted several prior sports events. If chosen, it would be the first Latin American country to host the Gay Games, a solid consolation for losing the opportunity in Asia.
That said, there are some who say it is becoming too late to make the switch.
“Canceling the Gay Games would be hugely disruptive and unfortunate,” Ken Craig, a local martial artist and board member of both Team San Francisco and International Association of Gay and Lesbian Martial Artists, wrote in an email to The Bay Area Reporter.
“If the announcement was made early enough to prevent financial losses on the part of attendees, then it would simply be an organizational challenge for the Federation of Gay Games as to why the games could not be re-located,” he added. “If the games were canceled at the last minute, much as the Outgames in Florida were, it would be a catastrophe for LGBT international sporting events in general as it would encourage many to consider the FGG as inept and incapable as the (now-defunct) GLISA organization.”
With so much political unrest happening in Hong Kong, would it be a problem to hold an LGTBQ sports event there? And if so, is it too late to make the switch? These are questions that LGBTQ sporting coordinators are considering right now. And hopefully, they’ll decide which side they land soon… before it’s too late.
Sources: Bay Area Reporter