The Gay Games have been postponed due to Hong Kong travel restrictions, according to the organizers.
The 2022 Gay Games will be postponed a year due to anti-coronavirus travel restrictions in Hong Kong, the city chosen to host the event, organizers stated Wednesday.
The Games are held every four years and feature both LGBTQ and straight athletes to promote a message of inclusivity and equal rights. They are modeled after the Olympics.
Hong Kong was chosen above a dozen other cities to host the event in November 2022, making it the first Asian city to do so.
The decision to postpone it exemplifies Hong Kong’s isolation, as the city-state maintains some of the world’s strictest quarantine restrictions, with no public timeline for transitioning to living with the virus.
In a statement, Dennis Philipse, co-chair of the Gay Games Hong Kong, said, “The unpredictable advancement of COVID variations and accompanying travel restrictions continue to make it tough for participants from around the world to make arrangements to travel to Hong Kong.”
An estimated 12,000 people from over 100 countries were expected to attend the games, which are both a competition and a festival.
However, Hong Kong’s officials have stated that they intend to stick to its zero-covid policy and that they will prioritize travel with mainland China before reducing travel restrictions to the rest of the globe.
For the majority of the epidemic, the city was inaccessible to visitors without work licenses, and while tourists can again visit, they must stay in a hotel for one to three weeks, thus cutting the city off from the rest of the world.
Despite plentiful supplies, Hong Kong has of of the lowest immunization rates in the developed world, particularly among the elderly.
The Games have also been entangled in Hong Kong’s tumultuous politics, as China attempts to remake the financial powerhouse in its own authoritarian image.
According to AFP, Taiwan will not send a delegation because it is concerned that athletes would be jailed under Hong Kong’s new national security law.
LGBTQ organizations in mainland China are frequently scrutinized and shut down by authorities, and many of the Hong Kong activists imprisoned for participating in the city’s democratic struggle are also famous LGTBQ activists.
Meanwhile, some pro-Beijing lawmakers have condemned the Games as homophobic or labeled them as a threat to national security.
Other well-known people have spoken out in favor of the festival.
In a statement, Regina Ip, a pro-establishment politician, said, “The importance of the Games to Hong Kong’s global image as a forward-looking, cosmopolitan city should not be underestimated.”
The Hong Kong administration, on the other hand, has been lukewarm about the event. Brief News from Washington Newsday.