The 11th Gay Games Hong Kong (GGHK) organising team have announced that the Games, originally slated to be held in November 2022, will be postponed to November 2023.
An exact date in 2023 will be announced after consultation with the Federation of Gay Games (FGG), the international governing body for the Games which has endorsed this decision.
“The unpredictable progression of Covid variants and corresponding travel restrictions continue to make it challenging for participants from around the world to make plans to travel to Hong Kong,” said Dennis Philipse, co-chair of GGHK.
“The world today is radically different from 2017 when we won the bid to host the first Gay Games in Asia. GGHK remains steadfast and committed to our original vision of organizing the most inclusive and diverse Games celebrating its 40 year history.”
“With many parts of the world, including many across Asia, still struggling to contain the virus and facing uneven access to vaccines, we felt that delaying the Games until November 2023 will enhance the likelihood of delivering on our promise to have the Hong Kong Games serve as a beacon of hope for the wider community across the region.”
“Given the ongoing uncertainty regarding the state of travel restrictions internationally and in Hong Kong, we have decided to postpone the Games now to give sufficient time for FGG member organizations to develop an appropriate training and rehearsal schedule for the Games, and make alternate arrangements for their 2022 tournaments and events.”
“Recent attempts of a couple of lawmakers to politicize the Games have distracted the media from the true mission of the Games, an event open to all, focused on Unity in Diversity.”
“Anti-inclusion objections from this small but vocal minority, however, have galvanized the resolve of our 300 volunteers, and brought overwhelming support from the general public, business community, establishment legislators and even the Chief Executive.”
“We have enjoyed a surge in enquiries from potential corporate sponsors and private venue partners since June, when the Games were first debated in Legco.”
“The Hong Kong Games play a critical role to bolster our city’s modern, cosmopolitan image internationally. Chosen over 17 other cities, Hong Kong is also the first destination in Asia to host the 11th Gay Games, providing a highly visible platform for Hong Kong to show a global audience how and why it truly is Asia’s World City.”
“Given the ongoing uncertainty regarding the state of travel restrictions internationally and in Hong Kong, we felt that a postponement now will increase the likelihood that our city’s return to the world stage would be a triumphant one which would most closely mirror our initial projections,” said Mr Dennis Philipse.
Commenting on the decision, Sean Fitzgerald, co-president of FGG, said, “The FGG stands behind Hong Kong’s decision to postpone the Games and will continue to work with the GGHK team and our member organizations to ensure that our event in November 2023 delivers on meeting our core aims of participation, inclusion and personal best to the widest possible attendance from Asia and internationally.”
Image: Hong Kong Contingent at the Opening Ceremony of the Paris Gay Games 2018 – courtesy of Gay Games Hong Kong