Dirty, disgraceful, divisive: Legislative councilors bash gov’t support for hosting Gay Games

Pro-establishment lawmakers Junius Ho and Priscilla Leung bashed the city’s hosting of the games in a Legislative Council session on June 9, 2021. Photos: YouTube/LegCo
Pro-establishment lawmakers Junius Ho and Priscilla Leung bashed the city’s hosting of the games in a Legislative Council session on June 9, 2021. Photos: YouTube/LegCo

Pro-establishment lawmakers slammed Hong Kong’s planned hosting of the Gay Games next year, urging the government to drop its support for the international event.

In a Legislative Council meeting Wednesday, lawmaker Priscilla Leung said the event is “not just a sporting occasion,” but “strongly promotes the gay movement” and could create divisions in society.

“Has [the government] considered that [the Gay Games] could create huge opposition?” Leung asked, adding that she believes majority of Hong Kong society wants to protect the “one-man-one-woman, one-husband-one-wife marriage system.”

Lawmaker Junius Ho also called the estimated revenue of HK$1 billion (US$129 million) that the city would bring in by hosting the games “dirty money.”

“What you do in your room is your business, but if you go do it in public like that, it’s disgraceful,” Ho, who once claimed that the legalization of same-sex marriage would encourage incest, said.

The 11th Gay Games 2022 will be held in Hong Kong next November, making it the first city in Asia to host the games after it beat Washington DC and the Mexican city of Guadalajara in the bidding process. Government departments including the Hong Kong Tourism Board and InvestHK, as well as the University of Hong Kong, are backing the event.

Chairman of the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) Ricky Chu urged the public to be respectful of the games, calling Ho and Leung’s comments in the meeting inappropriate.

On social media, the organizer released an official statement Thursday in response to the lawmakers’ comments.

“We understand that there will always be diverse views in LegCo, and we respect our legislators’ right to share them… What Hong Kong needs more than ever is unity,” the organizer wrote, adding that it would engage with the government and uphold the event’s principle of inclusion.

At odds with her pro-Beijing counterparts, lawmaker Regina Ip emphasized that Hong Kong’s hosting of the games would help boost sports, arts and cultural activities in the city.

First established in 1982, the games have been held in traditionally more LGBT-friendly cities including San Francisco, New York, Vancouver and Sydney. The 2018 Gay Games, held in Paris, brought together over 10,000 participants from 89 countries, according to the organizer.

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