David Killian is officer of site selection for the Federation of Gay Games in Philadelphia. As a 2019 Connect Sports Game Changer, he discusses his passion for sports tourism.
What I do: The Gay Games are held quadrennially, and it is my responsibility to engage with cities from around the world who wish to host the Gay Games. Once they have decided to bid, I lead the cities through our bid process with the goal of being selected as the next host. After the host is chosen, I work with legal counsel to negotiate the license agreement for the Gay Games.
How I got here: From playing as a teenager in club tournaments, to playing in college, to playing currently in USTA and GLTA tournaments, my life passion has been tennis. In 2008, I joined the Philadelphia Liberty Tennis Association, a LTBG tennis group in my city. Within three years, I wasa resident of the group. The PLTA was a member of Team Philadelphia, an umbrella group of the LGBT sports teams in the area. Team Philadelphia, in turn, was also a member of the Federation of Gay Games. I attended my first Gay Games in Cologne, Germany, in 2010 and was hooked. Through the PLTA’s association with Team Philadelphia, I became a delegate to the FGG, an all-volunteer organization which licenses out the Gay Games. Within two years, I was on the board and have since successfully managed two bid cycles, choosing Paris for 2018 and Hong Kong for 2022.
Why I am a Game Changer: Through the site selection process, the FGG has done a lot of outreach into areas where being LGBT is not as acceptable as it may be in the United State. The selection of Hong Kong as the next host is a game changer for the FGG, as well as for LGBT sports and culture. It will be the first time the Gay Games will be held in Asia, where the FGG can spread our message of participation, inclusion, and personal best to an area that needs our assistance the most.
Greatest career accomplishment: I led Site Selection successfully for the 2018 and 2022 Gay Games.
Big-Time Event: The Philadelphia Open: I started the LGBT tennis tournament that brings approximately 100 people from around the U.S. and the world to Philadelphia. Held every July, the 2019 event will be the seventh annual and all proceeds will go toward helping charities in the Philadelphia area.
Impressive stats: Historically, the FGG had about three to five bidders per cycle. Through increased efforts, I had 17 cities express interest in the 2022 Gay Games with 11 cities ultimately bidding. Without a lot of promotion as of yet, I already have 14 cities who have expressed interest for 2026 Gay Games.
What I am working on now: I am currently working on getting the materials updated for the 2026 bid process which will commence in the spring of 2020. I am also beginning to get the word out to cities around the world about this opportunity. It is always an exciting time to find out where our potential next host will be from and think about the diverse bids that will come in.
What I do outside of work: Since my position is a volunteer position (my full-time job is director of portfolio for a pharmaceutical company), my work with the FGG is my main focus outside of work. Outside of work and the FGG, I am also on the national board of diversity for the USTA Middle States district, I am a big fan of Philadelphia sports teams, and love to travel.