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Hong Kong lawmakers call for cancellation of Gay Games over “Western ideology” worries

By Jake Beardslee · November 6, 2023

In brief…

  • One suggested it could breach national security law imposed by China
  • Organizers say it's just about sports/culture and complies with laws
  • Some participants skipping HK portion over safety worries amid Beijing's tightening control
Conservative Hong Kong lawmakers are calling for the cancellation of the upcoming Gay Games over concerns it promotes Western ideology, but organizers vow the event celebrating inclusivity will continue as planned.  GGHK2023 Brand & Creative Director Tommaso Panerai/Wikimedia

The upcoming Gay Games in Hong Kong is facing political backlash from conservative lawmakers who want the event cancelled over concerns it promotes “Western ideology” according to CNN. Eight legislators signed a petition calling for the scrapping of the Games, with one even suggesting it could violate Hong Kong’s national security law enacted by China. The lawmakers opposed the event, which brings LGBTQ athletes from around the world to compete.

Organizers dismissed the allegations, saying to CNN, “we are just about sports and culture” and have complied with all local laws. They vowed the Games celebrating diversity and inclusivity will go on as planned. Still, the rhetoric comes as Beijing tightens control over Hong Kong and squeezes space for the LGBTQ community under President Xi Jinping. Though same-sex marriage remains banned in Hong Kong, the city has a vibrant LGBTQ community and courts have pushed for expanded rights.

Some participants have opted out of attending the Hong Kong portion of the Games over safety worries, including Taiwan’s team citing the national security law. But organizers say people from many countries are still coming. The government provided little support besides sending one official to the opening ceremony. A top adviser, Regina Ip, encouraged people to see the Games as promoting an “open, inclusive and pluralistic society.”