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This last week, members of the Hong Kong government joined supporters from the religious and business communities to rally in support of Hong Kong’s bid to host the 2022 Gay Games.
Evaluators from the Federation of Gay Games (FGG) recently visited the region to assess the city’s ability to host the Games. The evaluators toured the city’s sporting venues and took a close look at the city’s infrastructure, country parks and public transport network. But while considering the city’s suitableness for the Games, they also took community support into account.
A breakfast forum held for supporters of Hong Kong’s bid had nearly double the number of expected attendees including local legislators, the chairmen of the region’s Equal Opportunities Commission and Commission on Youth, a representative of the Hong Kong Tourism Board as well as other business, sporting and community leaders and ambassadors.
Locally speaking, Hong Kong would make a welcoming place for the world’s LGBTQ athletes: Homosexual intercourse has been legal there for decades, it has laws forbidding government-sponsored discrimination against gay citizens and has virtually no instances of anti-LGBTQ violence.
The city also hosts a queer chorale, several queer bars, an LGBTQ walking tour and numerous annual events, including a gay and lesbian film festival, a queer literary and cultural festival, the Mr. Gay Hong Kong competition, a pride parade, an annual Pink Dot celebration and Pink Season, a five-week LGBTQ festival with citywide events celebrating openness, diversity, acceptance and love.
While the region doesn’t have same-sex marriage or widespread anti-discrimination laws for LGBTQ people seeking workplace, housing or public accommodation protections, a 2015 survey showed that 55.7% of Hong Kongers support such laws (including 48.9% of religious Hong Kongers).
The religious residents play an especially important role in countering the region’s increasingly vocal anti-LGBTQ activists. While these activists are not necessarily religious — clinging to traditional Asian ideas upholding heterosexual marriage and child-based families — pro-LGBTQ religious groups can help counter their arguments about homosexuality being “immoral” or “anti-family.”
In fact, during the FGG evaluator’s visit, Hong Kong’s Blessed Ministry Community Church, an LGBTQ-affirming Christian church, reassembled its choir (which had been defunct for five years) and performed at a community reception to show their support for the Games.
Below are some images from the Hong Kong bid committee’s recent community reception:
The Hong Kong bid committee will have to go Paris in autumn to make its final presentation to the FGG’s Annual General Assembly. They’re competing against Washington D.C. and Guadalajara, Mexico. The FGG will announce the 2022 host city in November 2017. If Hong Kong gets selected, not only would it be the first time that an Asian city hosted the Games, it could also help create positive attitudes towards LGBTQ people across the region and continent.
(Featured image by Nikada via iStock Photography)