Brisbane makes shortlist for 2026 Gay Games

The Brisbane Tritons inclusive water polo team hold up their banner at the opening ceremony of the Gay Games 2018 in Paris, France
Brisbane Tritons at the 2018 Gay Games. Photo: Facebook

Brisbane has been shortlisted as a potential host city for the 2026 Gay Games.

Every four years since 1982, the Gay Games have provided an inclusive safe and environment for LGBTIQ athletes to compete in dozens of sports.

The event now attracts over 10,000 athletes and tens of thousands of spectators from around the world.

The Federation of Gay Games has confirmed Brisbane is up against seven other cities bidding for the twelfth Gay Games in 2026.

Those cities are:

Brisbane, Australia
Auckland, New Zealand
Guadalajara, Mexico
Munich, Germany
San Diego, USA
Taipei, Taiwan
Toronto, Canada
Valencia, Spain

FGG Site Selection Officer David Killian praised all of the cities for “the scale and calibre” of their entries.

“This is a competitive and lengthy process, and we are grateful for all of the organizations’ hard work,” Killian said.

“The impact that the Gay Games has in host cities is incredible in terms of culture, sport, economic impact, history and most importantly furthering all matters of LGBTQ+ equality.”

Jason Davis is chairman of the board organising Brisbane’s bid. He told he believes the Gay Games are a good fit for Queensland.

Davis said the committee has received “extraordinary” enthusiasm and support for the bid from the Queensland Government and Brisbane City Council.

“I think Brisbane’s 2032 Olympic Games bid [worked] in our favour,” he said.

“They’ve already got feasibility studies for the city. Leaders are very keen to bring the Gay Games here.”

Brisbane’s sporting teams excited about Gay Games bid

Tourism Minister Kate Jones said a Brisbane Gay Games would be a huge drawcard and give Queensland global exposure.

Queensland Tourism Industry Council CEO Daniel Gschwind was a much-needed opportunity for hope during the “bleak” pandemic.

“By then the world will hopefully be well out of the grips of the coronavirus and we will be back on track,” Gschwind said.

“We already have fantastic infrastructure for all types of sport and these kinds of major events are the dividend [of that].

“Importantly this gives people something to look forward to and work towards.”

Chairman Jason Davis launched the Gay Games bid at the Brisbane Pride Festival in 2018.

A few months before, he attended that year’s Games in Paris.

He said others told him Australia is known for our “friendly people, free and easy lifestyle, and catch phrase ‘No worries’.”

“But discrimination, vilification, aggression and violence against LGBTIQ people still exists globally,” he said.

“The Gay Games are all about providing a safe environment for athletes from all over the world to achieve their own personal best. That’s the Australian lifestyle isn’t it?

“Most people would see the Australian way of life as being ideal, and I believe the Queensland way of life is more so.

“Many of the sporting teams around the city we’ve approached have come on board, and we want to see more.”

Australian athletes competed in 2018 Gay Games

A contingent of Australian athletes travelled to Paris in 2018 to compete in the Gay Games, many for the first time.

Athletes from Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Russia – countries where LGBTIQ people face persecution – also competed that year.

Sydney hosted the last Gay Games in Australia in 2002. Hong Kong is the next host city, in 2022.

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