The Gay Games are adding some new sports to their roster.
While the Gay Games aren’t planned to take off in Hong Kong until 2022, preparations for the event are already underway. The eleventh annual event celebrating sportsmanship and LGBTQ visibility is not only in pre-production and logistical set up, but it has announced the addition of two new sports.
It appears that dodgeball is a trending sport right now. While Michelle Obama and James Corden are going viral for hosting a star-studded dodgeball game, the Gay Games have announced it as an official sport of the international event. In addition, esports have now been added to the list.
“While compiling the list we wanted to make sure that we struck a good balance between traditionally popular sports among Gay Games participants from around the world, and sports enjoyed in the region like Dragon Boat Racing and Dodgeball, as well as new disciplines like E-Sports,” said Gay Games Hong Kong sports director Sabrina Yang. “It was a bit of a challenge, but I think we have succeeded.”
That said, these additions aren’t the only changes to the event’s lineup. There have been some losses as well. Namely, billiards, vertical running, mountain biking, and even beach volleyball have all been removed from the list of sports. The Federation of Gay Games cited lack of participation and venue space as the main cause.
While dodgeball may not be any real surprise, there may be some who question the addition of esports. There has been great debate over esports joining international sports competitions. While the Sin City Classic added the esports to its mix, there was great pushback when the Olympics considered doing the same.
That said, Esports has become a multi-million dollar industry with several notable LGBTQ players. Dominique “SonicFox” McLean is openly gay and has won several esports tournaments. The 20-year-old also won the Best ESports Player of 2018 award and stated during his acceptance speech:
“I wanna give a super shoutout to all my LGBTQ+ friends that have always helped me through life. Obviously I’m a furry, so shout out to the furries…. Guess all I gotta really say is I’m gay, black, a furry — pretty much everything a Republican hates — and the best esports player of the whole year I guess. Thank you so much!”
In addition, South Korean gamer Hyeon came out as bisexual at the end of the last year. The man nicknamed EFFECT made this announcement by saying:
“It is true that I am bisexual. I’ve been hiding it since young and never even showed a hint ot anyone except my family (even they got mad immediately). I finally putting down this burden after the hard time of hiding. Sorry for causing the confusion with such sudden announcement [sic].”
But it’s not just gamers who are coming out as LGBTQ. Adam Fletcher, who’s a Twitch streamer and Blizzard Entertainment’s Esports product lead for Warcraft III: Reforged and StarCraft: Remastered, came out as gay earlier this year.
“I’ve typed this tweet maybe 10+ times this year because I haven’t figured out a proper way of saying it… I’m gay,” wrote Fletcher on Twitter.
So, it seems that more and more LGBTQ people are coming out and representing us in the world of gaming and esports. As such, making the sport an official part of the Gay Games seems only right. This inclusion will give more visibility for LGBTQ people in gaming, in sports, and in multiple facets of life. And ultimately, that’s what the Gay Games are all about.