Brisbane will bid to host the 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 will put forward a bid to host the Gay Games in 2026, the organising committee has confirmed.

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.

This week, the Federation of Gay Games announced Brisbane is one of 20 cities across six continents to express interest in bidding for the twelfth Gay Games in 2026.

Jason Davis, chairman of the board organising Brisbane’s bid, told the process is in its early stages however Brisbane is committed to luring the event here.

“We’re already well underway with the documentation for the first stage of the bid. We’ve already started work on the second phase,” he said.

He said the committee will give Brisbane’s intent to bid by the deadline in late April. The bid itself is due later in the year.

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 is really working in our favour,” he said.

“They’ve already got feasibility studies for the city. Everyone wants to show we can deliver a large-scale sports event. Leaders are very keen to bring the Gay Games here.”

Davis said the large number of countries currently interested will reduce at each stage of the process, down to a shortlist of three.

“The Federation is looking for substance in each bid, including financing the Games, delivering them and so on,” he said.

“The stronger bids will make it through. The final announcement is due in Hong Kong in November next year.

“In the meantime, we’ve got lots of work to do.”

Gay Games campaign launched at Brisbane Pride Festival two years ago

Jason Davis launched the Gay Games bid at the Brisbane Pride Festival in 2018. A few months before, he attended that year’s Gay Games in Paris.

After competing in the past, he went to Paris as a volunteer and spectator and got a different perspective of the event.

He said others told him Australia’s 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?

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

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 Gay Games host city, in 2022.

For updates on the Brisbane 2026 Gay Games campaign visit the Facebook page here.

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Jordan Hirst
Jordan Hirst

Jordan Hirst is an experienced journalist and content creator with a career spanning over a decade at QNews. Since 2012, the Brisbane local has covered an enormous range of topics and subjects in-depth affecting the LGBTIQA+ community, both in Australia and overseas. Today, the Brisbane-based journalist covers everything from current affairs, politics and health to sport and entertainment.

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