Just under three years after losing its bid to Hong Kong to become the host city for the 2022 Gay Games, the quadrennial international LGBTQ sports and cultural event, D.C. has not submitted a bid to host the 2026 Gay Games, according to a statement released last month by the Federation of Gay Games.
The FGG, which organizes the Gay Games, released a list of eight cities that have submitted bids to host the 2026 games. D.C. is not on that list. Among the cities on the FGG list are San Diego, the only U.S. city to submit a bid; and Guadalajara, Mexico, which along with D.C., emerged as one of three finalists along with Hong Kong in the bidding for the 2022 games.
Brent Minor, executive director of Team D.C., the local LGBTQ sports coalition that coordinated efforts to persuade the FGG to select D.C. to host both the 2022 and 2014 Gay Games, couldn’t immediately reached for comment on why his organization did not push for D.C. to submit a bid for the 2026 games. The FGG selected Cleveland over D.C. to host the 2014 games.
Local LGBTQ sports advocate Vince Micone, who played an active role in advocating for D.C.’s Gay Games bids for 2014 and 2022, and D.C.’s Capital Pride Alliance Executive Director Ryan Bos, who played an active role in pushing for D.C. to host the 2022 games, each said they were unaware of any effort on Team D.C.’s part to consider a bid for the 2026 games.
“I’m not aware of anything Team D.C. was planning or not planning to do,” said Micone. “But I do personally think we’ve bid enough and it’s time for someone else to step up,” he said.
In response to a question from the Washington Blade at a press conference on Monday, Mayor Muriel Bowser said she too did not take part in a discussion over whether D.C. should bid for the 2026 Gay Games. Bowser, who played an active role in lining up D.C. government support for the city’s bid for the 2022 games, said she would defer to the local LGBTQ sports groups that coordinated the 2022 effort on behalf of D.C.’s bid for the games.
Among other things, Bowser traveled with the Team D.C. leaders to Paris in 2017 to make a personal presentation on behalf of D.C.’s bid for the games before the FGG’s annual General Assembly.
“And we had the best presentation, I just have to tell you, and the strongest application by far,” Bowser said at her news conference. “It was not even close.”
Bowser said that while she did not participate in any discussion over whether D.C. should host the 2026 games she said D.C.’s bid to become one of the host cities for the 2026 World Cup did not play any role in whether or not D.C. should host the Gay Games that same year. Team D.C. announced earlier this month that Minor has been selected to serve on an advisory committee to help promote D.C.’s bid for hosting World Cup games in 2026.
Although LGBTQ sports observers consider it a long shot, the FGG has a policy of considering the two runner-up cities to become the host city for the Gay Games if the city selected is unable to serve as host. With Hong Kong facing disruptions related to pro-democracy protests and China threatening to take military action, some have speculated that Hong Kong might not be able to host the Gay Games in 2022.
When asked if D.C. would be ready to host the 2022 games if that unlikely development would occur, Bowser said, “I would say yes.” The mayor said she would consult with the various groups and venues that were part of the infrastructure that made up D.C.’s bid for the 2022 games to determine for sure the availability of those venues.