Gay Games to pursue private sporting venues due to ‘challenges’ in booking gov’t premises

The Gay Games, which will take place Nov. 2023, is having difficulty securing government sporting facilities due to inflexible booking rules. Photo: Facebook/Gay Games 11 Hong Kong 2022
The Gay Games, which will take place Nov. 2023, is having difficulty securing government sporting facilities due to inflexible booking rules. Photo: Facebook/Gay Games 11 Hong Kong 2022

Organizers of the Gay Games say they are pursuing discussions with more private sporting venues for the 2023 event due to the inflexible arrangements of booking government premises.

Co-chair of the Gay Games Lisa Lam told RTHK Wednesday that the Leisure and Cultural Services Departments’ rule, which only allows organizations to book venues up to six months in advance, is making it difficult to secure facilities.

“So we are going to be shifting our focus or strategy towards more private venues,” Lam said. “We are working with universities, schools or clubs, more of those private enterprises.”

Event organizers had earlier appealed to the government to relax the rule. In a Legislative Council meeting in June, lawmaker Regina Ip emphasized that Hong Kong’s hosting of the games would help boost sports, arts and cultural activities in the city, and called on authorities to assist with the venue bookings.

A tram promoting the Gay Games. Photo: Facebook/Gay Games 11 Hong Kong 2023

Lam, however, said she felt that nothing has changed since the issue was raised months ago.

Hong Kong was meant to host the Gay Games next year, but the event was postponed to November 2023 due to COVID-19 variants and travel restrictions that would make it challenging for participants to come to Hong Kong. The city continues to maintain some of the world’s longest quarantine requirements despite most countries loosening rules and adopting an approach of living with the virus.

First established in 1982, the Gay Games have been hosted in 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.

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

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