Appeal for Gay Games help riles up some lawmakers

An appeal for the government to do more to help the planned staging of the Gay Games in Hong Kong next year has provoked a strong reaction from some lawmakers, with one saying the pro-LGBTQ event would divide society and another saying it would “bring dirty money” to the city.

New People’s Party chairwoman Regina Ip had brought the issue up in Legco on Wednesday, saying the Gay Games would boost the economy and show the world that Hong Kong is a place that respects diversity and equality.

But that message didn’t sit well with some of her colleagues, including Junius Ho.

He told the legislature the event would bring “dirty money” to Hong Kong.

“For people with different sexual orientations, we should respect that. Well, whatever you do in your room, that’s your personal affair,” he said.

“But if you come out to do it in public, that wouldn’t be decent. And if you just promote this Gay Games and then the next thing that they’re going to do is like what happens in Taiwan… they will try to legalise gay marriage.”

DAB lawmaker Holden Chow also expressed concerns that the games would affect social stability.

“The government should also assess when this event is being held in Hong Kong, what will be the response of the general public… when we talk about LGBT issues, we may actually touch on same-sex marriage, and may actually give rise to dispute within the society.”

But Regina Ip said the government should do all it can to help the organisers, who she said were struggling to book the venues needed for the event:

“The organisers said that they need 56 venues, and half of them are still not available,” she said, adding that many local sports associations are unwilling to rent out the venues.

In response, Home Affairs Secretary Caspar Tsui said the government will see what it can do to help, though he stressed that the Gay Games doesn’t have the same credentials as more established sporting events.

“We will see what they need and we’ll contact them to see what we can do under the present established procedures,” Tsui said.

“Unlike international multi-sports games in general, GG2022 is not a sports event recognised by the International Olympic Committee, the Olympic Council of Asia, or any internationals sports federation, neither the Sports Federation and Olympic Committee nor the National Sports Associations will send athletes to participate in the competitions.”

If all goes as planned, the first Gay Games to be held in Asia would take place here in Hong Kong in November 2022.

Organisers expect 12,000 people from 100 countries around the globe to take part in the nine-day games, which includes 36 sports and cultural events which are open to all to participate.