Organizers of the Gay Games announced the host city for 2022, and for the first time the international sporting event will be held in Asia.
Hong Kong will host the 2022 Gay Games, beating out bids from a record 17 cities, including Washington, D.C. and Guadalajara, Mexico. The games are expected to bring more than 15,000 participants to the city and $128 million to the local economy.
“This is a big step forward for Hong Kong itself to be able to win this world game … and it is also a big step for diversity inclusion,” said Alfred Chan, chairman of Hong Kong’s Equal Opportunities Commission.
First held in San Francisco in 1982, the Gay Games were the brainchild of Olympic decathlete Tom Waddell. Whether the 2022 Games will fuel progress on LGBT rights in Hong Kong remains to be seen: Marriage equality is still not recognized in the former British colony and sexual orientation and gender identity are not included in anti-discrimination laws.
“The impact that the Gay Games has in host cities is incredible in terms of culture, sport, economic impact, history and most importantly, elevating all matters of LGBT+ equality,” the Federation of Gay Games said in a statement.
A government spokesperson told Reuters that Hong Kong “is committed to promoting equal opportunities and fostering in the community the culture and values of inclusiveness and mutual respect.”
The Games will next be held August 4 to 12, 2018 in Paris, with 36 sports represented and participants from more than 70 nations.