Guadalajara in Mexico has previously bid for the Gay Games in 2022 and 2026, and is now set to jointly stage the event with Hong Kong next year ©Getty Images

Guadalajara in Mexico has been named as a joint host for the postponed 11th Gay Games in 2023 alongside Hong Kong, but Dennis Philipse has stepped down as co-chair of Gay Games 11 Hong Kong (GGHK) due to "continuing uncertainty affecting international travel".

The event was initially due to be staged solely in Hong Kong in November 2022, but it was decided last September to push this back by a year because of COVID-19-related travel restrictions.

Guadalajara had bid unsuccessfully for the 2022 and 2026 Gay Games, but the Federation of Gay Games (FGG) and GGHK have taken the decision to split the next edition across two continents.

A Road to 2023 Management Committee has been formed to oversee the Games.

After seven years at GGHK, Philipse has taken the decision to resign from its management team, although he will continue as a member of the Advisory Committee.

Lisa Lam is to remain in her position as GGHK co-chair, with Nigel Lee filling Philipse's role on an acting basis until a Hong Kong-based replacement is found

Lam said organisers needed to be flexible given the changing dynamics of the pandemic, and is looking forward to holding the Games both in Asia and Latin America for the first time.

"In these unprecedented times, we have to be agile and adaptable to a constantly changing environment," Lam reflected.

Hong Kong had initially been due to be the sole host of the Gay Games in November 2022 ©Getty Images
Hong Kong had initially been due to be the sole host of the Gay Games in November 2022 ©Getty Images

"Faced with continued challenges brought on by the COVID pandemic, with the desire to ensure more participants can join the Games regardless of their locations, GGHK recently proposed the concept of a co-hosted event to the FGG.

"By having Gay Games 11 accessible to participants across two locations we can ensure we meet our aim of being as inclusive as possible while international travel continues to recover.

"We will still be holding the first Gay Games in Asia, but potentially for the first time in Latin America as well, welcoming the widest possible audience to both cities.

"There is a huge amount of planning to do and we will be providing more detailed updates as soon as we are in a position to share more information."

FGG Co-President Sean Fitzgerald concurred that there was much work to do, but is excited the prospect of two different cities staging the Gay Games.

"We are energised by this opportunity to organise the first Gay Games in Asia and in Latin America both in November 2023," Fitzgerald commented.

"While the Games are two years away, we are embarking on a mountain of feasibility studies and planning to be undertaken in collaboration between the FGG, Hong Kong and Guadalajara.

"The passion of these two teams will bring to life the vision of Dr Tom Waddell and the mission of the Gay Games: participation, inclusion and personal best."

Looking back on his time as founder and co-chair of GGHK, Philipse posted on Instagram that it had been "an honour" to have served the organisation.

"Due to the continuing uncertainty affecting international travel in Hong Kong as a result of the COVID-19 situation, GGHK has already been postponed to 2023," Philipse said.

"For me, it is now time to resume my professional career.

"This means that I will step down from my role as leader and co-chair and hand over the reins to the next cohort of leaders to organise the event.

"I will continue to support the mission of GGHK and the Federation of Gay Games to promote diversity and inclusion through sport and culture as a member of GGHK’s Advisory Committee.

"Looking back I am extremely grateful to have been part of an undertaking that has brought me joy and tears in equal measure.

"This journey has been a roller coaster full of wonderful emotions and unforgettable experiences.

"Together with a passionate team of 200+ skilled volunteers, we turned our dream to host the Gay Games for the first time in Asia into reality."

The Gay Games are scheduled from November 3 to 11.

They have been staged on a four-year cycle since the first edition in San Francisco in 1982, last taking place in Paris in 2018.