Politicians in Hong Kong have caused outcry after slamming the Gay Games, set to be hosted there in November next year.
In 2016, the country won the bid to host the long-running event. The Gay Games brings together LGBTIQ athletes from around the world playing numerous sports.
A Gay Games in Hong Kong is the first time the event has travelled to Asia since it began in San Francisco in 1982.
Organisers expect 12,000 participants, 75,000 spectators and 3,000 volunteers from 100 countries, and a possible economic windfall of HK$1 billion.
But last week, a group of Hong Kong lawmakers, including Priscilla Leung and Junius Ho, blasted the event in parliament.
Ho told the Hong Kong Legislative Council “after the Gay Games their next step will be legalization of same sex marriage.”
“Residents who support me oppose same-sex marriage,” Ho said.
“It is your business what you do in your own room, but if you go out and do it in public, it’s disgraceful.
“Officials should not get involved in this. It’s civil society’s business if they want to do it.
“But it’s wrong [for the government] to throw money at this.
“I don’t want to earn such dirty money. It doesn’t matter if we earn HK$1 billion.”
Priscilla Leung also told the Legislative Council she believed the games would “tear apart society” and lead to same-sex marriage.
The MPs took aim at the event after fellow politician Regina Ip urged the government to support it. She said organisers had struggled to securing event venues.
Ip said the Games will contribute to the city’s metropolitan image and boost the economy.
Gay Games set for Hong Kong in November 2022
Gay Games Hong Kong are slated for November 11 to 19, 2022, in Asia for the first time.
An organising committee spokesperson told Hong Kong Free Press they were “saddened to hear the comments” but respected different views.
“GGHK is all about bringing people together through sports, arts and culture,” they said.
“What Hong Kong needs more than ever is unity and diversity and this is exactly at the core of everything we do.
“Aside from bringing economic benefits to HK with participants and spectators flying in from other countries, GGHK will help demonstrate HK as a place that respects diversity and equality.”
Hong Kong Pride Parade organiser Wylie Yeo Wai-wai criticised the “out of touch” politicians for the comments.
Yeo said “civil society is really supportive” of LGBTIQ rights in Hong Kong.
“We have never had so many people and businesses supporting Pride Month. It’s just those in [the Legislative Council] who are out of touch,” Yeo said.
During the 2022 Gay Games, event bosses will announce the host city for 2026.
In February, Brisbane sadly fell out of the running to host in 2026, failing to make the final three-city shortlist.
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