Hong Kong Beats DC To Become Gay Games 2022 Host

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"While we are very disappointed that D.C. was not chosen. we extend our congratulations to Hong Kong", Brent Minor, chair of the Gay Games D.C. 2022 Bid Committee, said in a statement following the announcement.

The Gay Games was founded by former Olympic decathlete Tom Waddell and first held in San Francisco in 1982.

The step to award the 2022 games to an Asian city is seen as a boost for the gay rights movement in the region, and a sign that attitudes towards the LGBT community may be changing there.

The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) announced Tuesday that the territory has successfully won the bid to host the games. The event is open to all participants, "without regard to sexual orientation, and there are no qualifying standards", according to the Hong Kong bid team's statement.

The mission statement on the Federation of Gay Games website, who sanctions the games, said that its mission "is to promote equality through the organization of the premiere global LGBT and gay-friendly sports and cultural event known as the Gay Games". "We are confident that they will be able to present a great Gay Games, and we offer any assistance we can provide to make that happen". Based on these values, since 1982, the Gay Games have brought together people from all over the world, with diversity, respect, equality, solidarity, and sharing.

"The Gay Games is built upon the core principles of Participation, Inclusion, and Personal Best".

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Competitors come from many countries, including those where homosexuality remains illegal, it added.

"But of course I know some out there (do)", said 46-year-old Hong Kong resident Eddie Leung, who participated in the Gay Games in Sydney 15 years ago. "Thank you all for your love and support", chairperson Dennis Philipse said. The 2018 version of the games is scheduled to be held in Paris from August 4-12, featuring 36 sports, involving up to 15,000 participants from 70 countries, 14 cultural events and an academic conference, Reuters reported.

Supporters of the bid described the games as a victory for the status of the city's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Organizers of the event say it would be expected to bring 80,000 to 100,000 spectators to the host city, with an economic impact of at least $100 million.

Over 120 organisations supported the Hong Kong bid.