Gay Games Hong Kong 2023 closed on Saturday after an nine-day run of sporting competitions and cultural events, which saw athletes from 41 countries and territories competing. The event was hailed as “the best Gay Games ever,” and represented “a small step towards LGBTQ+ inclusion,” organisers said during the closing ceremony.
The event, which saw over 600 competitions held between November 3 and 11, marked the first time ever the Gay Games had been hosted by a city in Asia. Joanie Evans, co-president of the Federation of Gay Games, hailed the Hong Kong’s Gay Games as setting the “benchmark to any games moving forward.”
Lisa Lam, co-chair of Gay Games Hong Kong, said the games represented “a small step towards LGBTQ inclusion, and this journey absolutely does not end here.” Lam thanked the organising team and all participants for making the event happen, and encouraged them to take “the feeling of inclusion” with them, as Hong Kong handed the flag of the Gay Games to Valencia, Spain – the next city to host the Gay Games in 2026.
The Hong Kong event was overshadowed by criticism from anti-LGBTQ lawmakers and groups who claimed the games were a “national security threat” and sought to bar it from going ahead. Lam told HKFP after the closing ceremony on Saturday that she hoped the event could “show people what inclusivity really looks like in action.”
Whilst same-sex sexual activity was legalised in 1991, Hong Kong has no laws to protect the LGBTQ community from discrimination in employment, the provision of goods and services, or from hate speech. Equal marriage remains illegal, although a 2023 survey showed that 60 per cent of Hongkongers support it. Despite repeated government appeals, courts have granted those who married – or who entered civil partnerships – abroad some recognition in terms of tax, spousal visas and public housing.
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