Hong Kong has become the first Asian city in history to host the 11th edition of the Gay Games in 2022. The city won the hosting rights after beating out Washington, DC, and Mexico's Guadalajara.
The Federation of Gay Games (FGG) selected Hong Kong as the venue on Monday in Paris. At least 17 cities from the around the world had shown interest in hosting the sporting and cultural event.
"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.
The Gay Games, called the largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) sporting and cultural gathering, takes place once every four years. It is open to people of any sexuality.
"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," Reuters quoted Alfred Chan, chairperson of Hong Kong's Equal Opportunities Commission, as saying.
What is Gay Games? When did it start?
Gay Games, also known as Gay Olympics, started in San Francisco in the US, in 1982 thanks to Olympic decathlete Tom Waddell. Around 1,300 athletes from 12 countries participated in the 1982 Gay Games.
But more than two weeks before the inaugural of the games, a lawsuit was filed against Waddell for the use of the word Olympics. The legal battle between the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) and Waddell continued for five years over the name change and in 1987 it was changed to the Gay Games.
"The Gay Games is built upon the core principles of Participation, Inclusion, and Personal Best. Based on these values, since 1982, the Gay Games have brought together people from all over the world, with diversity, respect, equality, solidarity, and sharing. The Gay Games is open to all, young or old, athlete or artist, experienced or novice, gay or straight," FGG said in a statement.
The sporting event got recognition as more and more people started participating in it.
The second Gay Games was held in San Francisco 1986, followed by Vancouver, Canada, in 1990, New York in 1994 and Amsterdam in 1998. Then came Sydney in 2002, Chicago in 2006, Cologne, France, in 2010 and Cleveland and Akron 2014.
The next event will take place in 2018 in Paris, and more than 15,000 participants from 70 countries are expected to participate.