In a sign of the strains the ongoing pandemic is having on the events industry, the Federation of Gay Games announced on Monday Guadalajara, Mexico, will serve as presumptive co-host alongside Hong Kong for the 2023 Gay Games.
The federation awarded Hong Kong the 11th iteration of the Gay Games in 2017. The quadrennial event, a combination of athletics and LGBTQ cultural celebrations, was originally scheduled for 2022 before being pushed a year to buy more time for COVID to recede.
Guadalajara impressed the Federation of Gay Games enough to be one of three finalists for both the 2022 and 2026 Games. Valencia, Spain, recently secured Gay Games 12, which is staying on schedule for 2026 despite the delays for the upcoming event.
Sports tourism, in general, is weathering the COVID storm better than meetings and conventions, but the Gay Games bring about a set of unusual challenges.
More than 10,000 attendees from across the world typically attend the Gay Games, first held in 1982. While there are positive signs toward full recovery, international travel remains on unsure footing for now. For instance, the Winter Games in Beijing are ongoing without the usual delegation of foreign travelers.
By providing a second host in North America, the Gay Games will accomplish one of its core missions: making the event as inclusive and accessible as possible.
“We are energized by this opportunity to organize the first Gay Games in Asia and in Latin America both in November 2023,” said Gay Games Co-President Sean Fitzgerald. “While the Games are two years away, we are embarking on a mountain of feasibility studies and planning to be undertaken in collaboration between the FGG, Hong Kong and Guadalajara.”
The local organizing committee in Hong Kong said it proposed the idea to the larger federation and celebrated the decision. “In these unprecedented times, we have to be agile and adaptable to a constantly changing environment,” noted Lisa Lam, co-chair of GGHK.
In other news from the announcement, Dennis Philipse, founder and co-chair of Hong Kong’s committee, has resigned from the management team and will continue to support its mission as a member of GGHK’s Advisory Committee.
Ultimately, the upcoming Gay Games will be one of many firsts. It was already going to be the first held in Asia. Adding Guadalajara breaks new ground in Latin America.
More details on how the 2023 Games will play out are forthcoming.
Photo courtesy of The Gay Games.