Washington, D.C., lost its bid to host the 2022 Gay Games to Hong Kong, despite Mayor Muriel Bowser’s (D) trip to Paris from Oct. 27 to Oct. 30 to lobby for the games.
Developed in 1982 as a way to bring recognition to the LGBTQ community and promote diversity in athletic competition, the Gay Games attracts thousands of competitors every four years. The 10th games will be held in Paris in 2018.
The District was among three finalist cities vying to host the 2022 games, with Hong Kong and Guadalajara, Mexico, holding the other two spots.
D.C. also lost its 2009 bid to host the 2014 Gay Games and its 2017 bid to host the 2024 Olympics.
Bowser and Brent Minor, D.C.’s Gay Games Bid Committee chair, were part of a 23-member committee that pitched their bid to the Federation of Gay Games.
Despite the loss of the bid, Bowser said she believes D.C.’s desire to host the games reflects the city’s values.
“Our bid proved that Washington, D.C. is strong not simply because we are diverse, but because we celebrate our diversity and inclusion,” Bowser wrote in an Oct. 30 news release. “As the world questions how the United States will position itself on the global stage, it is incumbent upon all of us to continue showing the world who we really are.”
Bowser was an active proponent for the bid since June, when she attended a rally in support of bringing the Gay Games to D.C. for 2022.
Minor said he looks forward to providing Hong Kong organizers with any help needed.
“While we are very disappointed that D.C. was not chosen as the host city for the 2022 Gay Games, we extend our congratulations to Hong Kong,” Minor wrote Oct. 30. “We are confident that they will be able to present a great Gay Games and we offer any assistance we can provide to make that happen.”
The Games would have brought between 12,000 to 15,000 competitors and 80,000 to 100,000 spectators, according to the D.C. Office of the City Administrator.
According to the D.C. Center for the LGBT Community, an LGBT advocacy organization, the games would have brought in between $120 and $140 million in revenue for the District.
The D.C. Government pledged $2 million in funding for the games, according to Minor. The government has not announced where the funds are now to be directed.
No Asian city has hosted the games since the event began in 1982.
Paul Choi, director of government relations for the Hong Kong 2022 bid team, told the South China Morning Post he hoped the games would be a “catalyst” for the government of Hong Kong to protect LGBT people.