The Hong Kong Gay Games suffered another setback this week after founder and co-chair Dennis Philipse announced that he is stepping down. Philipse’s resignation was followed by news on Monday that the Federation of Gay Games (FGG) and Gay Games 11 Hong Kong (GGHK) had named Guadalajara in Mexico as the presumptive co-host of the November 2023 Gay Games.
The organisers claimed that with international travel affected by COVID-19 restrictions, a second host city would allow more participants to attend the 11th edition of Gay Games.
Hong Kong Gay Games Rescheduled
The Hong Kong Gay Games, originally scheduled for this year, was postponed to November 2023, due to the pandemic. Philipse cited the postponement as well as Hong Kong’s pandemic related international travel restrictions as reasons behind his resignation.
“Due to the continuing uncertainty affecting international travel in Hong Kong as a result of the Covid-19 situation, GGHK has already been postponed to 2023. For me, it is now time to resume my professional career. This means that I will step down from my role as leader and co-chair and hand over the reins to the next cohort of leaders to organise the event,” Philipse said in a statement.
Hosting Gay Games During A Pandemic
Lisa Lam, co-chair of GGHK, in a statement, cited the challenges of hosting the games during a pandemic as one of the reasons for naming Guadalajara, a city located in Jalisco state in Mexico, as a co-host for next year’s event.
“In these unprecedented times, we have to be agile and adaptable to a constantly changing environment. Faced with continued challenges brought on by the Covid pandemic, with the desire to ensure more participants can join the Games regardless of their locations, GGHK recently proposed the concept of a co-hosted event to the FGG,” said Lam.
“By having Gay Games 11 accessible to participants across two locations we can ensure we meet our aim of being as inclusive as possible while international travel continues to recover. We will still be holding the first Gay Games in Asia, but potentially for the first time in Latin America as well, welcoming the widest possible audience to both cities. There is a huge amount of planning to do and we will be providing more detailed updates as soon as we are in a position to share more information,” added Lam.
Guadalajara was a finalist for the 2022 and 2026 Gay Games. Sean Fitzgerald, co-president of FGG, said that the organisers were “embarking on a mountain of feasibility studies” for holding the Gay Games in the two cities.