Gay Games 11 Hong Kong Begins Countdown to November 2023
Hong Kong, 10 November 2021 — Following postponement of the 11th Gay Games in Hong Kong (GGHK) to November 2023, the GGHK management team today announced a series of important initiatives to promote the Games and continue its momentum for the next two years. The global multi-sports and cultural event, first of its kind in Asia, will highlight Hong Kong as a premium destination for similar events in the future.
Lisa Lam, co-chair of GGHK, said, “Inclusion, solidarity, spirit, and resilience. These four words are the bedrock of identity for the Gay Games, which is gearing up for its 2023 edition in Hong Kong. In what will be the first ever Gay Games held in Asia, the event will arrive at a time when these four words hold more value than ever before.”
Dennis Philipse, founder and co-chair of GGHK, said, “We are thrilled today for the opportunity to share our latest plans for the Gay Games. Now that we have one more year to prepare, we continue working together with the Federation of Gay Games and participating organisations around the world to ensure this event, the first of its kind in Asia, will live up to its true potential as a beacon of hope, inspiration, and compassion.”
New Dates and Games Branding
With the strong support of the Federation of Gay Games, GGHK confirmed 3-11 November 2023 as the new dates for the 11th Gay Games in Hong Kong. Alongside the new dates, the management team announced the official name change of the Games to Gay Games 11 Hong Kong 2023 and shared the Games’ new logo and brand identity, website url (www.gghk2023.com), and social handles (@GayGamesHK2023).
The new logo and branding for GGHK not only reflects the new date of the Games, but also features a subtle but meaningful change in the colours of the word mark and distinctive Chinese junk ship. Previously displaying the six colours of the pride rainbow on the sail, the new GGHK icon showcases a more colourful and undulating rainbow pattern; the six colours of the pride flag still feature prominently but are now joined by black, brown, pink, baby blue and white. These new colours – drawn from Daniel Quasar’s Progress Pride Flag – represent the communities of marginalised people of colour, trans individuals, those living with HIV/AIDS and those who have been lost; their integration into GGHK’s branding reflects a more expansive and inclusive definition of community that GGHK hopes to celebrate.
Said Dennis Philipse on the changes that were undertaken, “After taking the difficult decision to postpone the Games by a year, we chose the new dates in the hope that travel restrictions will be eased with plenty of time to spare for participants to plan around the Games. Many of our participants have rigorous year-long training schedules which are developed for peak performance at major competitions. November is also an excellent time to visit Hong Kong with the weather conditions perfect for outdoor sports as well as enjoying the many sites and attractions in Hong Kong.”
“With still two years to go until the Gay Games, we wanted to move forward with renewed energy and confidence. We wanted to take this opportunity to not just change the dates, but take definitive steps to make these the most inclusive and diverse Gay Games ever, and make the first Gay Games in Asia a true milestone for the entire region. The name and branding changes are an important symbol of our forward-looking perspective as we persist in our efforts to bring our message of Unity and Diversity to different parts of Hong Kong, the rest of Asia and the world. Symbols and colours are important and this subtle yet significant update in our branding reflects the importance we place on inclusion and diversity; we hope that it sends a positive signal to those traditionally underrepresented and marginalised communities that we value their participation in the Games.”
In addition to existing Platinum Partners Marriott Bonvoy and YouTube’s commitment to extend their support to November 2023, GGHK today announced three new companies confirmed as official supporters: Standard Chartered Bank, Gilead Sciences, and lululemon.
“We are proud to be sponsoring the 11th Gay Games in Hong Kong,” said Gareth Pope, Senior Vice President, Asia Pacific at lululemon. “It highlights our ongoing commitment to become a more diverse, inclusive and equitable company, while at the same time celebrating our core value of having a positive impact on the local communities where we operate.”
Andrew Hexter, Vice President and General Manager, Asia 5, Gilead Sciences, said, “Gilead is delighted to sponsor the 11th Gay Games in 2023 as the spirit of this event aligns closely with our mission to drive an inclusive culture and create equitable opportunities for our employees, as well as the patients and communities we serve. We established our presence in Hong Kong a decade ago, and this vibrant community serves as our Asia hub as we continue to work closely with partners to create a healthier world.”
GGHK announced its first line-up of prestigious Ambassadors, individuals of exceptional influence and inspiration in the community, tasked with promoting the spirit of the Gay Games to all corners of the world through public appearances, social media, and other promotional activities. Ambassadors hail from various fields of endeavour, including business, entertainment, creative arts, and sports.
Ambassadors announced today include, in alphabetical order:
Asha Cuthbert. Known most recently for her supporting role in the wildly popular “Ossan’s Love” ViuTV drama, Asha Cuthbert is a bisexual British-Filipino actress who has lent her voice to LGBTQI causes in Hong Kong, speaking up for the need to educate the public about the importance of acceptance and inclusion.
Bobbie Huthart. Formerly known as Robert, son of former Lane Crawford managing director Robert Huthart Senior, Bobbie today lives as an out and proud transgender woman in Bangkok. Her brother Gordon Huthart came out during the 1980s in Hong Kong, opening the famous club “Disco Disco”, and contributing to establishing Lan Kwai Fong as a world-renowned nightclub and bar district. She came out as transgender in 2015.
Ezekiel Vargas. Ezekiel is a competitive ballroom dancer of Filipino descent who has been featured in Britain’s Got Talent, as well as representing Hong Kong at the Paris Gay Games in 2016. He has a passionate following on Instagram and is a tireless voice for LGBTQI rights.
Gigi Chao. Daughter of entrepreneur Cecil Chao and actress Kelly Yao Wei, Gigi was thrust into the limelight in 2012 when her father publicly expressed disapproval of her same-sex marriage at the time. They have since reconciled and today Gigi is a prominent voice for the Hong Kong LGBTQI community.
Hannah Wilson. Hannah is a three-time Olympic swimmer representing Hong Kong, competing at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, and 2012 Summer Olympics in London. She retired from competitive swimming following the 2012 Olympics and continues to live and work in Hong Kong.
Lindsay Jang. Lindsay Jang is the co-founder of restaurants Yardbird HK and RONIN, Japanese beverage company, Sunday’s Spirits, and HECHO, a creative communications agency. She most recently launched FAMILY FORM, a mat-based sculpting method, in residency at The Upper House. The mother of two calls Hong Kong home after moving from New York in 2009.
Kayla Wong. Founder of fashion brand Basics for Basics six years ago, Kayla is passionate about making a difference through ethical and sustainable fashion. As an influencer, she uses her platforms to educate the public about ethical fashion and fair trade, and to be an advocate for the local LGBT+ community.
Kim Maree Penn. A former kumite fighter and 1988 world karate champion, Kim Maree was best known during the late 1980s and early 1990s as one of the most sought after Western action heroines in all of Asia. She has appeared in martial arts films such as Ultimate Revenge and Fist of Fury, and worked with action stars Jackie Chan, Michelle Yeoh and Jean-Claude Van Damme. Today she runs Signal 8, an international personal security firm.
Terence Siufay. Terence is a high-profile Cantopop singer who achieved stardom across Asia, first with pop group C-Plus in Macau. He came out in 2020 on former TVB general manager Stephen Chan’s YouTube channel, telling his fans he was nervous yet relieved. His public pronouncement received widespread support from fans and fellow celebrities, who flooded his Instagram with countless positive messages.
Theresa Goh. Born with spina bifida, Theresa fell in love with swimming at a young age and became a competitive swimmer and Paralympic medalist representing Singapore, winning a bronze at the SB4 100m breaststroke at the 2016 Summer Paralympics. She holds the world records for the SB4 50 metres and 200 metres breaststroke events.
William Tang. William is a lauded Hong Kong fashion designer who first established his own brand in 1985. A graduate of the London College of Fashion, William rose to prominence through a unique fusion of Asian cultural sensibilities and western references, most famously expressed in his design work for Dragonair, Hong Kong Airlines and other major brands. He married his husband Clement Chen four years ago and is today a notable cultural columnist in many mainstream media outlets.
GGHK announced its first wave of Champions, tasked with bringing the spirit of the Gay Games to their communities. Champions serve as representatives for the event within their respective communities, whether that be their city, region, or a particular sporting or cultural community in which they hold influence. Champions provide a gateway for those communities to learn more about GGHK, as well as offer encouragement among those interested in participating.
Among the 72 Champions, GGHK has identified a number of Lead Champions who oversee a group of Champions within a large region or territory and are instrumental in organizing and directing the efforts of the Champions in their respective areas. GGHK is proud to highlight three exceptional Champions in particular: Ray Hom, Satsuki Yoshinaga, and Bonnie Pang.
Ray Hom is a Lead Champion who first attended the Games in Amsterdam & New York, co-leading the Team Houston contingent in Amsterdam, and co-chaired the Atlanta 2006 GG bid process. He currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia and is vital in leading Champions in the Americas, and works in tandem with Tony Moraga who is the other Lead Champion for the Americas.
Dr Bonnie Pang, a former track and field athlete, hails originally from Hong Kong but lives in Bath, England. She was an elite athlete in high school and at university in Hong Kong. She brings with her an extensive network in academia, and LGBTQ in the UK and Australia.
Satsuki Yoshinaga is a former figure skater from Japan who now works in Los Angeles as an editor and translator for Japanese publications. He is a straight ally who works closely with GGHK’s other Champions in Japan.
“I’m very excited that the Gay Games will be held in Asia for the first time ever,” said Ray Hom. “GGHK will become a known entity over the next year throughout most of Asia, similar to what is already occurring in Hong Kong. Never before have we been able to have the opportunity for more Asian representation.”
Satsuki shared similar sentiments: “As a former figure skater, I have many gay skating friends from who went to the Gay Games 2010 in Cologne, and they told me how amazing it was. Since then, I’ve always wanted to join and feel the energy. With Gay Games coming to Hong Kong, it’s such a great opportunity for me to join and support diversity and inclusion!”
“Sport, Hong Kong, and diversity and inclusion have always been close to my heart,” added Bonnie. “I couldn’t miss this great opportunity to promote the Gay Games in Hong Kong!”
Being originally from Hong Kong, I will always have a deep affinity for my hometown. This, combined with my love of sport, diversity and inclusion, and involvement in LGBTQ causes creates the perfect opportunity to be involved in something that can offer life changing experiences to everyone who attends.”
To date, the Games have received over 1,560 pre-registrations from 53 countries/regions, representing nearly one-tenth of the expected 12,000 participants competing.
The Games will feature 36 sports: track and field, aquatics, ball games, racquet sports, and many more. New sports added to feature the unique character of Hong Kong include Dragon Boat Racing, Dodgeball, eSports, and Trail Running. Major events include Opening & Closing Ceremonies, Gala Concert, LGBTQ+ art exhibitions, daily performances at the Festival Village, and arts & culture events all over Hong Kong. Special events are being planned to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Gay Games.
Awareness and Engagement Campaign
GGHK also unveiled its high energy teaser video, “Everybody Get Ready To Come Out For The Games,” kicking off a multi-dimensional two-year campaign aimed at raising awareness, deepening understanding and building community support of the Games both locally and abroad. Created with the generous support of award-winning creative agency, Doyle Dane Bernbach (DDB), the teaser and the campaign combine humour, style and emotion to draw attention to the many reasons to come out in support of Gay Games Hong Kong.
Andreas Krasser, CEO of DDB Hong Kong, on the partnership with GGHK, “We’re extremely proud to partner with, and support Gay Games. The Games are so much more than a sports and culture event; they also carry an important message of hope and optimism and also provide a rare opportunity to showcase Hong Kong in a more positive light on the international stage”
Providing a hint of the main campaign elements to follow, he adds, ”we wanted to emphasize the inclusive nature of the Games to help the public understand that the GGHK is in fact open to all. The entire team has been excited and energised by our collaborative partnership with the Gay Games Hong Kong team, and look forward to developing the rest of materials over the coming months.”
About Gay Games 11 Hong Kong 2023
Gay Games 11 Hong Kong will take place in 3-11 November 2023, the first event of its kind in Asia. Under the theme “Unity in Diversity” the Games will feature a wide variety of sporting events, opening closing ceremonies, festival village, and arts & culture events. Supporting organisations include the Equal Opportunities Commission, InvestHK, BrandHK and the Hong Kong Tourism Board.
About the Federation of Gay Games (FGG)
The FGG mission is to promote equality and social change for LGBTQ+ people through its quadrennial sports and culture event, the Gay Games. Conceived by Dr. Tom Waddell, an Olympic decathlete, the Gay Games principles are “Participation, Inclusion and Personal Best™” and it was first held in San Francisco in 1982. It is now the world’s largest quadrennial LGBTQ+ sports and cultural event open to all, that is organised and led by LGBTQ+ artists and athletes. Gay Games have been held in San Francisco (1986), Vancouver (1990), New York (1994), Amsterdam (1998), Sydney (2002), Chicago (2006), Cologne (2010), and Cleveland+Akron (2014). The most recent Games, in Paris (2018), involved over 10,000 participants from 91 countries, 3,000 volunteers, 36 sports, and 14 cultural events, and pumped 107.6 million Euros into the local economy.