Hong Kong to ‘co-host’ postponed Gay Games with Guadalajara

Updated at 1728 EAT on FEB 14th 2022

What you need to know:

  • Besides being ensnared by Hong Kong’s Covid measures, the Games have also been caught up in the city’s turbulent politics as China remoulds the finance hub in its own authoritarian image.
  • After the passage of a national security law — which China has used to stifle dissent — Taiwan decided against sending a delegation to the Games, fearing its athletes could be arrested.

Organisers of Hong Kong’s Gay Games said Monday they had proposed the international event be co-hosted with Mexico’s Guadalajara in 2023, the latest setback for the increasingly isolated city as it clings to its “zero-Covid” policy.

Modelled after the Olympics, the Gay Games are held every four years and feature both LGBTQ and heterosexual athletes, to promote a message of inclusivity and equality.

In 2017, Hong Kong beat more than a dozen other cities for the chance to host the event in November 2022, the first time an Asian city has been chosen.

But the event was postponed to November 2023 amid Hong Kong authorities’ decision to maintain some of the world’s toughest quarantine rules as part of mainland China’s strict “zero-Covid” strategy.

And on Monday organisers announced that Guadalajara would be named “presumptive co-host”.

“Faced with continued challenges brought on by the Covid pandemic, with the desire to ensure more participants can join the Games regardless of locations, GGHK (Gay Games Hong Kong) recently proposed the concept of a co-hosted event,” said GGHK co-chair Lisa Lam.

Citing the need to be “agile and adaptable”, Lam said the Games would be “accessible to participants across two locations”, which would make it easier for travelling athletes. It remained unclear how co-hosting duties would be divided.

“We will still be holding the first Gay Games in Asia, but potentially for the first time in Latin America as well, welcoming the widest possible audience to both cities,” Lam added.

Unlike Hong Kong, Mexico remains open to tourists, and Guadalajara — a bustling cultural hub — was already among the top contenders to host the Games when the 2022 bid was first announced in 2017.

Hong Kong in recent weeks has clamped down even further as coronavirus case numbers tick up under an Omicron-fuelled wave.

Gatherings of more than two people are now forbidden and flight bans from several countries — including Britain and the United States — have been extended.

Besides being ensnared by Hong Kong’s Covid measures, the Games have also been caught up in the city’s turbulent politics as China remoulds the finance hub in its own authoritarian image.

After the passage of a national security law — which China has used to stifle dissent — Taiwan decided against sending a delegation to the Games, fearing its athletes could be arrested.

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