Hong Kong is set to co-host the first Gay Games in Asia with about 2,400 participants from 45 countries expected to take part in the groundbreaking event.
The games will kick off on Friday, and athletes are hoping the nine-day event will foster wider LGBTQ+ inclusion in the regional financial hub, according to The Associated Press. Hong Kong is co-hosting the event with the Mexican city of Guadalajara.
Athletes will compete in a range of games, including tennis, swimming and badminton, as well as culturally rich activities like dragon boat racing and mahjong. Squash, trail running, soccer, martial arts and dodgeball will also be on display.
Five Hong Kong human rights activists have also called for the games to be canceled, saying the organizers “aligned themselves with pro-authoritarian figures responsible for widespread persecution” in Hong Kong.
Nevertheless, organizers and participants are hoping the games can show the government the city’s strong support for equal rights for same-sex couples.
The Gay Games was conceived by Dr. Tom Waddell, an Olympic decathlete, and its inaugural event was held in San Francisco in 1982. The Gay Games have also been held in Vancouver (1990), New York (1994), Amsterdam (1998), Sydney (2002), Chicago (2006) and Cologne (2010).
Michael Dorgan is a writer for Fox News Digital and Fox Business.
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