Hong Kong has won the race to host the 2022 Gay Games ©Hong Kong 2022

Hong Kong has been named as the first Asian city to host the Gay Games after being awarded the 2022 event, seeing off strong competition from the United States and Mexico.

They were awarded them beating US capital Washington D.C. and Mexican city Guadalajara at the Federation of Gay Games (FGG) General Assembly in Paris. 

"The FGG congratulates Hong Kong on being named the 2022 Gay Games XI presumptive host and being the first host city in Asia," Joanie Evans, Co-President of the FGG, said. 

"We thank Guadalajara and Washington, D.C. for their incredible bids and helping further our mission of promoting equality in and through sport and culture."

It marks only the second time a city outside of North America and Europe will host the quadrennial event.

The FGG has made a commitment to diversity and expanding outside of North America and Europe with scholarship funds and other efforts. 

The selection of the Chinese city strengthens that commitment.

Hong Kong will be the first Asian city to host the Gay Games ©Hong Kong 2022
Hong Kong will be the first Asian city to host the Gay Games ©Hong Kong 2022

Washington's delegation had been led by the city's Mayor Muriel Bowser.

She acknowledged, though, afterwards that negative international reaction to US President Donald Trump may have contributed to the decision to overlook the American candidate.

"Our bid proved that Washington, D.C. is strong not simply because we are diverse, but because we celebrate our diversity and inclusion," she said.

"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.

"We congratulate Hong Kong, and it is our hope that the 2022 Gay Games spark reforms to bring about equality for our LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer) friends there too.”

Inspections of the three bidders took place in June and July by a team of inspectors from Australia, Germany, Canada and the US.

The team spent three and-a-half days in each city, toured all venues and attended local supporter civic events.

Final presentations were made in Paris before the final decision was announced.

Held every four years, the Gay Games is the world's largest sporting and cultural event specifically for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender athletes. 

The Gay Games was conceived by Dr Tom Waddell, an Olympic decathlete, and were first held in San Francisco in 1982. 

Subsequent Gay Games have been held in San Francisco in 1986, Vancouver in 1990, New York in 1994, Amsterdam in 1998, Sydney in 2002, Chicago in 2006, Cologne in 2010 and Cleveland and Akron in 2014.

Some 17 cities expressed their interest in hosting the 2022 event.

The 2018 Gay Games are due to take place in Paris next August.

French fashion designer Jean-Paul Gaultier was among the supporters of Hong Kong 2022 ©Hong Kong 2022
French fashion designer Jean-Paul Gaultier was among the supporters of Hong Kong 2022 ©Hong Kong 2022

Those who exited the process in the semi-final round included Austin, Dallas, Denver, Salt Lake City and San Francisco in the US.

In the first phase, an additional nine cities had expressed interest.

They were Cape Town in South Africa, Tel Aviv in Israel and other American cities Anaheim, Atlanta, Des Moines, Los Angeles, Madison, Minneapolis and San Antonio.

The 2014 Games were hosted in Cleveland in Ohio and featured 10,000 athletes from 60 countries and 37 sports.