The 2022 Gay Games that were to be held in Hong Kong will be postponed for a year because of coronavirus.
The postponement presents an unfortunate delay to Asia’s inaugural hosting of an event that activists hoped would help increase tolerance and acceptance of LGBTQ people in the region, organizers told Reuters.
Hong Kong was to host the games in November 2022 but the strict coronavirus quarantine regulations that are in place to prevent Covid-19 from taking hold in the financial hub have defeated organizers logistically. Access to vaccines in the region was also a problem.
The Gay Games, last held in Paris in 2018, also drew some opposition from the city’s pro-Beijing establishment who are on guard against promoting what they see as anti-Chinese values. In the region, LGBTQ rights are seen as a Western agenda.
Junius Ho, a prominent pro-Beijing member of Hong Kong’s assembly, said the games posed a threat to national security and the city should guard against “harmful culture.”
Ho said the games were “disgraceful” and any revenue generated by them was “dirty money.” This homophobic comment was dismissed by the city’s leader Carrie Lam, who called it hate speech.
Dennis Philipse, co-chair of the organizing team, said in a statement: “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.”
The 2022 games were expected to draw 12,000 participants, 75,000 spectators and 3,000 volunteers from 100 countries for 36 sporting events, including Dragon Boat Racing, Dodgeball and eSports.
The Gay Games, which were established in 1982, were seen as an opportunity by activists to progress LGBTQ rights in Asia. Taiwan is the only place on the continent recognizing gay marriage.