The 11th Gay Games planned to take place this year has been postponed to November 2023 and will be co-hosted by Hong Kong and Guadalajara.
The quadrennial event which is conducted to promote equality, diversity, and inclusion among humanity, was previously hosted by Paris in 2018 and welcomed over 10,000 participants from 91 countries. It is the largest and most important LGBTIQ+ sporting and cultural event in the world that welcomes athletes transcending their national boundaries, gender identity, gender expression, religion, sexual orientation, etc.
This will be the first time that the Gay Games will take place in an Asian and Latin American nation and also the first time that the event is hosted by more than one city.
What happened to Gay Games 2022?
The Gay Games 2022 which was scheduled to start this November had to be postponed to next year due to the rising Covid-19 cases in Hong Kong which would affect international travel.
The event was initially planned to be hosted solely in Hong Kong but the pandemic crisis has compelled the Federation of Gay Games (FGG) to split their next edition across two continents and chose Guadalajara in Mexico as co-host.
All participants who have registered for the Gay Games ahead of the changes will be able to choose their host city and participate in all the events that were planned.
Do I need to be a part of the LGBTIQ+ community to participate?
Not at all. The Gay Games are organized to spread universal sports values such as braveness, passion, courage, resilience, respect, equality, diversity, and teamwork along with the spirit of inclusivity and togetherness.
People from all ethnic backgrounds, religions, ages, sexual orientations, gender identities, abilities, etc. are welcomed here.
You need to be at least 18 years of age to participate in the games and should be registered in your preferred city.
The spirit of equality is enshrined in the Games’ principle of inclusion: Participation, Inclusion, and Personal Best.
Registration Process – Who is eligible? How do I enter?
Anyone who has completed 18 years of age by the start of the Gay Games 2023 (by 3rd November 2023) is eligible to participate.
Registrations have been open since October this year and organizers are inviting participants to register as soon as possible due to the slim tight schedule they are working with.
You can make your registrations from the official website of GGHK and GGGDL.
The registration fees are specified on their websites and the rate will be according to the exchange rate of the US dollar at the time of registration. GGHK is offering early bird discounts and the registration fee will include a goodie bag, an official participant’s guidebook, a pre-charged public transport card that is valid for MTR, Tram, Bus, and Minibus, a participation medal, access to the opening and closing ceremonies, and a free daily pass to the GGHK2023 Village.
What are the sporting events set to take place at the Gay Games Guadalajara 2023?
The Gay Games Guadalajara will feature 20 competitive sporting events including diving, swimming, water polo, 5k and 10k race, marathon and half marathon, athletics, badminton, basketball, beach volleyball, bowling, cheerleading, dance sports, golf, football 11’s 7’s, softball, tennis, volleyball, wrestling, and powerlifting.
Some of the exciting events also include the Pink Flamingo Gala and 3 exhibition sports – Mexican wrestling, rugby 7, and urban skate.
What are the sporting events set to take place at the Gay Games in Hong Kong in 2023?
The Gay Games in Hong Kong will feature for the first time ever Dragon Boat Racing, Dodgeball, Mah Jong, and Trail Running. There will be a total of 22 sporting events including badminton, fencing, field hockey, marathon, martial arts, open water swimming, road races, rowing, rugby sevens, sailing, squash, swimming, table tennis, and tennis.
Is Guadalajara a friendly place for LGBTIQ+ people?
Guadalajara is considered to be one of the main LGBTIQ-friendly places in Mexico and in the world. The city is home to the second largest LGBTIQ+ Pride March in Mexico attracted thousands of people due to its great cultural offer, and artistic, social, and diverse events. It is known to provide visibility and foster spaces for open reflection and for helping build an inclusive culture that upholds principles of equality and non-discrimination. The Prohibido Festival, Androgina Festival, Maguey Prize, etc. are testaments to their cause.
The public policies made in Guadalajara and the Jalisco state have also been pro-LGBTIQ with the recognition of same-sex marriages and transgender identities. Anti-LGBTIQ practices such as conversion therapies are prohibited and sanctioned and there are Sexual Diversity Offices that have been created within the State Human Rights Prosecutor’s Office and in several municipalities that are part of the city as well as the interior of Jalisco.
Is Hong Kong a friendly place for LGBTIQ+ people?
The Hong Kong games have faced heavy criticism from local politicians and the LGBTQ community in mainland China has seen a state-run media attack on “effeminate men”. The shutdown of WeChat accounts of LGBTQ university students and pressuring streaming platforms to censor references to a lesbian character from the NBC sitcom Friends are some of the questionable behaviors from certain groups in the region.
However, homosexuality is not a crime in Hong Kong and there are an estimated 481,000 LGBTQ people in the region who represent a small, lively, and open scene there. Annual LGBTIQ events like Pink Dot, HK Gay, and Lesbian Film Festival, and HK Pride attract thousands of people there.
The Hong Kong government sees the value of GGHK and has given its support through several organizations so the Gay Games are expected to turn out great.
How many participants and visitors are expected in Hong Kong?
The Gay Games Hong Kong expects around 7,000 participants and over 25,000 visitors during the month of November 2023 for the event. The Hong Kong-hosted games may bring together 70,000 individuals from all parts of the world to celebrate this global experience.
Do participants need to prove their gender for registration?
The FGG and the hosting bodies of Hong Kong and Guadalajara recognize that the traditional binary male and female gender categories are opposed to the inclusivity principle of the Gay Games. They have developed a special Gender Inclusion Policy that aims at optimal inclusion of all genders and safeguarding fairness and level playing ground for all across all sporting and cultural events planned.
According to the policy, participants are allowed to take part in the specific gender category that they feel reflects their identity. Only participants can identify their gender and no participant should feel left out or forced to take part in a Gay Games competition that does not align with their identity.
What are the cultural events at the Gay Games?
The Gay Games Cultural Festival will invite all participants, and visitors to celebrate the arts, the creator-artists, and the community as a whole.
There are four core events – Band, Chorus, Visual Arts, and the International Rainbow Memorial Run – which are the pillars of this century’s broader culture program.
The International Rainbow Memorial Run opens the Gay Games week which remembers the stellar character who has left inspirational marks on the Gay Games movement.
More than 1000 singers hailing from New Zealand to Greenland have lined up and will be bringing their vocal talents to the Festival Chorus.
A wind ensemble and symphony orchestra will unite many of the most talented amateur instrumentalists found in the world.
The Visual Arts exhibits will include photography, painting, and fine arts, are expected to open the Games to meaningful sponsorship by local LGBTQ+ community centers and business venues.
The NAMES Project / Aids Memorial Quilt assembles an emotional response to all who come to bear witness to the grief that is collectively shared.
During the 2018 Paris Gay Games, the cultural festival soared high with non-stop programs on the main stage at the Festival Village and at over 30 venues throughout the city which gave unprecedented opportunities for participants and visitors to immerse themselves in opera, comedy, theater, self-expression, etc. at the Cafes Philosophiques, dance lessons, and poetry readings.
The Pride Cheerleading Association energized spectators with athletic exhibitions around the city. Next year’s Gay Games will have Cheerleading as a team sport with competitor teams vying for gold, silver, and bronze.
The exhibition events will continue to raise funds for the FGG Scholarship Fund as well as locally-selected nonprofits.
History of Gay Games:
The Gay Games began as the Gay Olympics in 1982, founded by the Olympic decathlete and medical doctor Tom Waddell along with others such as Brenda Young, in San Fransico, California.
They had to change the name owing to a lawsuit from the International Olympic Committee and the United States Olympic Committee.
Promoting the spirit of inclusion and participation as well as the pursuit of personal growth in a sporting event is the flaming spirit behind the original event which is still carried today.
Waddell wanted to recreate the power of the Olympic games to bring people of various cultural and ethnic backgrounds together through the international love for sports and games. The organizers of the 1982 event worked to accommodate the differences and achieve gender parity.
Since 1982, the Gay Games have taken or will take place in seven countries, selected by the Assembly in an extensive process, including Hong Kong in 2023. The thousands of participants in the Gay Games have come from more than one hundred countries.
Many participants have even set Masters world records in sports like swimming. It is currently the world’s largest sporting and cultural event that is open to all competitors with no qualifying standards.
The international Federation of Gay Games (FGG) is the global governing body for the quadrennial Gay Games which is the world’s largest sports and cultural event that is open to all.
FGG was founded in 1982 by Tom Waddell after he had to deal with prejudice towards gay athletes and the inability to openly participate in sporting events. The FGG is responsible for overseeing and managing the continued organization of the Gay Games every 4 years. They raise funds to bring people to the Gay Games and offer support to the LGBT+ community through scholarships for underprivileged members.
The FGG is a fully volunteer-run, transparent non-profit organization, with open elections. The board and assembly members of the FGG are chosen from many countries.
Since 1986, Gay Games Scholarships have been awarded to nearly 1,000 underfunded individuals from over seventy countries. They strive to organize a life-changing week of acceptance and encouragement that the recipients would never have experienced otherwise.
The Federation seeks to give back to non-profit organizations in host cities, leaving lasting legacies, most recently following Gay Games IX in Cleveland + Akron in 2014 and the Paris Gay Games in 2018.
The Additional gifts given out to FGG member organizations are the “Red Books” that govern the details of Gay Games sports and cultural events. These member organizations can use the “Red Books” to build their structures and guide their events in their local regions.
Membership in FGG
FGG is currently made up of over 70 member organizations situated in many countries.
Being a member of FGG means the opportunity to decide where the next Gay Games should be organized.
Full Member organizations are given two votes per organization at the Site Selection Annual General Assembly Meeting that is held every four years as well as motions, by-law changes, and Board elections.
Associate Member Organizations do not participate in site selection but they have one vote in all other matters supporting the Gay Games. Associate members are allowed one delegate while full-member organizations will have two delegates.
FGG also creates individual members through nomination by the Chair of the Committee on which they serve. Minimum tenure of one year on an FGG committee is required for the nomination.
The delegates are given a gaygames.net email address to conduct their official FGG business and receive important communications.