Sally Gao 「The Paris Gay Games 2018 Welcomes First Ever Chinese Team」

Posted on October 11, 2016
The Paris 2018 Gay Games will welcome a delegation of Chinese athletes, marking the first time that a Chinese team competes in the LGBT sporting and cultural event. Twenty athletes have already registered, a remarkable and exciting step for a country where only 5 percent of the LGBT community is open about their sexual identity.

The participation of Chinese athletes in the upcoming Gay Games is in large part due to the tireless efforts of Qiu Hua, a volunteer and campaigner who has been reaching out to China’s gay community since April. Qiu has contacted numerous LGBT sports groups and associations in China, as well as promoting games through his public WeChat account.

Currently, 20 athletes have registered to compete in badminton, swimming, volleyball, marathon, bike and track, among other sports. Qiu is hoping to persuade 100 Chinese athletes to attend, the largest delegation from any country ever to participate in the event.

The Paris 2018 organizers publically thanked Qiu in a Facebook post, adding that Qiu ‘will be receiving a special award in October at the FGG Annual Meeting in Sydney, Australia, for his Gay Games promotional work with the worldwide Chinese community.’

The Gay Games was founded in 1982 by Tom Waddell, an American Olympian and medical doctor. The games are open for anyone to attend for a registration fee, regardless of skill or sexual orientation.

In the last Gay Games held in 2014, over 10,000 athletes from 60 countries competed in Cleveland, Ohio. Only one Chinese athlete participated, bringing home a silver in swimming.

In another exciting step, Hong Kong is currently bidding to host the 2022 Gay Games, making it the first Asian city to be shortlisted. The hosting bid is being organized by Out in HK, an LGBT community in Hong Kong. 17 other cities were nominated and the bidding process will last until January 2018.