Hong Kong has been nominated to host the 2022 Gay Games – the first Asian city to be shortlisted. It is up against 17 other possible locations, organisers said on Wednesday.

Founded in San Francisco in 1982, the Gay Games have become the world’s largest sporting and cultural event specifically for LGBT athletes, artists, and musicians. The event was most recently hosted in 2014 in Cleveland, Ohio, and involved over 10,000 individuals from 60 countries competing in over 37 events.

Other candidates on the list include Tel Aviv, Washington D.C., Guadalajara, Cape Town, Denver, Dallas, and Los Angeles.

Opening ceremony of Gay Games 9 in Cleveland. Photo: Koji Kawano via Flickr.

The bid for Hong Kong to host the games was supported by Out in HK, an LGBT community based around athletic activities and living a fit, healthy lifestyle. The organisation was founded in 2014 by Dennis Philipse, who told HKFP that he believes the games would be of great benefit to the city.

“LGBT issues in Asia are still a bit of a challenge legally, and is not on the same level compared to other places in the world. The Gay Games are a great opportunity for Hong Kong – it might change the city and change the perception Hongkongers have towards the LGBT community.”

Out in HK rally. Photo: Out in HK Facebook.

Philipse believes that Hong Kong is in a good position to win the bid – not just because of its status as the first Asian candidate, but also because of the city’s unique facilities.

“40 per cent of Hong Kong is nature parks, which opens up lots of opportunities for activities and events the Gay Games have never held before. Also, the city does have 24-hour entertainment.”

The bidding process for the Gay Games began March this year and will last until January 2018. Bid cities have eight months from when the RFI is made available on March 3 to when bid books are due from candidates.

Until then, Philipse and Out in Hong Kong have stated they will work with other stakeholders in the city to create a “compelling vision of mutual benefit for both the Gay Games and the city and citizens of Hong Kong.”

Update 27/4: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the bidding process for the Gay Games takes around six months. In fact, the process takes one year and 10 months.

Isaac Cheung

Isaac Cheung is pursuing a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism and Politics and Public Administration at the University of Hong Kong. During the Occupy Central protests, Isaac worked as an editor and reporter at LIVE: Verified Updates, a bilingual news page founded and maintained by HKU journalism students. He has also worked at Coconuts Hong Kong as a reporter.