Pro-establishment lawmakers have criticized Hong Kong’s plans to host the Gay Games next year, urging the government to drop support for the international event.
At a Legislative Council meeting on Wednesday, lawmaker Priscilla Leung said the event “is not just a sporting occasion” but “strongly promotes the gay movement” and can create divisions in society.
“Has [the government] considered that [the Gay Games] could create great opposition? Leung asked, adding that she believes the majority of Hong Kong society wants to protect the “one man to one woman, one husband and one wife marriage system.”
Lawmaker Junius Ho also called the estimated HK$1 billion ($129 million) revenue the city would generate by hosting the games “dirty money.”
“What you do in your room is your business, but if you’re going to do it in public like that, it’s a shame,” Ho, who once claimed that legalizing same-sex marriage would encourage incest, he said.
The 11th Gay Games of 2022 will be held in Hong Kong this November, making it the first city in Asia to host the Games after beating Washington DC and the Mexican city of Guadalajara at the bidding process. Government departments, including the Hong Kong Tourism Board and InvestHK, as well as the University of Hong Kong, are supporting the event.
Equal Opportunity Commission (EOC) chairman Ricky Chu urged the audience to respect the games, considering Ho and Leung’s comments at the meeting inappropriate.
On social networks, the organizer released a official statement Thursday in response to comments from lawmakers.
“We understand that there will always be diverse views at LegCo and we respect the right of our lawmakers to share them… What Hong Kong needs more than ever is unity,” wrote the organizer, adding that he would get involved with the government and defend the event’s inclusion principle.
At odds with her pro-Beijing counterparts, legislator Regina Ip emphasized that hosting the games in Hong Kong would help boost sporting, artistic and cultural activities in the city.
First established in 1982, the games were held in traditionally more LGBT-friendly cities, including San Francisco, New York, Vancouver and Sydney. The 2018 Gay Games, held in Paris, brought together more than 10,000 participants from 89 countries, according to the organizer.