In June 2018, the Federation of Gay Games made history when it chose Hong Kong as the host for the 2022 Gay Games, making it the first Asian city ever to host the quadrennial international LGBTQ sporting event.
But now, a year and three months later, Hong Kong is embroiled in ongoing protests against a bill that would allow Hong Kong police to detain and extradite citizens to China under demand by Chinese authorities.
The protests have shut down an airport and major transit lines and spurred violent clashes between demonstrators and police, causing the FGG to question whether Hong Kong will remain best suited to securely handle the tens of thousands of international visitors expected in 2022.
Sean Fitzgerald, co-president of the FGG, told the Washington Blade, that he considers the situation in Hong Kong “unsettling” but adds that the local team that assembled Hong Kong’s bid to host the 2022 Gay Games has been “mindful of the importance of safety and security... [and is] working closely with the Hong Kong Government Special Administrative Region, Hong Kong Tourism Board, security companies, and other key stakeholders to develop, amongst others, a full security plan to ensure that we deliver a safe and inclusive event for all participants and spectators.”
The Hong Kong Gay Games organizing committee will debrief the FGG Board of Directors about the region’s security at the FGG’s annual General Assembly meeting in Guadalajara, Mexico during Oct. 31 to Nov. 2.
Fitzgerald added that other major trade fairs, events and exhibitions currently scheduled to take place in Hong Kong over the next few months have remained on track despite public unrest.
NBC News estimated over 12,700 participants from 91 countries visited Paris for the 2018 Gay Games. Hong Kong Gay Games organizers thought the thousands of LGBTQ tourists visiting for the 2022 Gay Games could positively transform the public perception of queer people in eastern Asia.
Hong Kong was one of three cities considered as a possible host for the 2022 Gay Games; the other two were Washington D.C. and Guadalajara, Mexico. It’s unclear if either of these cities would become the host city if Hong Kong can no longer host.