As Hong Kong eyes up hosting the 2022 “gay Olympics”, the international federation behind the global sports event says it could ultimately choose the Asian city in a bid to shine a light on its poor same-sex rights record.

Hong Kong was listed this week as one of 17 other cities in the running to host the Gay Games, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington DC, Tel Aviv and Cape Town – but the territory could be the first and only Asian city to be nominated to host the competition.

The Gay Games was first hosted by San Francisco in 1982 and since then has gone on to become the largest international sport and cultural gathering for athletes, musicians and artists.

The 2014 games was hosted in Cleveland, Ohio, featuring 10,000 athletes from 60 countries and 37 sports. The next hosts in 2018 will be Paris.

Speaking to the Sunday Morning Post, Leviathen Hendricks, a board member and the international development officer for the Federation of Gay Games, said: “There is certainly an argument, often conjecture about why a particular city has won the bid to host in the past, and some cities have made that argument before “the Gay Games needs to come here because we need to improve LGBT rights in that area” so that could be an element of someone’s decision to vote for a particular host, to make a real human rights change in that area.”

LGBTI sports organization Out in HK is leading the bid for Hong Kong 2022. Since its founding in 2014, it has organised more than 230 events, and is making the big leap undertaking a bid to organise a major sports event.

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