For the first time ever a group of Chinese athlete will attend the Paris Gay Games in 2018.
Organisers of the games posted on Facebook that they hope to see the first Chinese group of around 20 athletes attending the games.
Qiu Hua reached out to China’s gay community in search of athletes to organise a team for the event, which he found out about in 2014. He volunteered to promote the Paris 2018 Gay Games in China.
“People in China don’t know about the games, and this is the first time there has been a direct link between the games and China,” Qiu told Sixth Tone.
Since April Qiu has been promoting the games via a Paris 2018 WeChat public account he set up.
He has also contacted LGBT sports groups and associations, but with mixed results. “It’s difficult. These kinds of groups are really hard to find,” he said.
One Chinese man participated in the 2014 games in Cleveland Ohio and he won a silver medal in swimming – the first, and only, medal brought home from the event so far.
But Qui hopes to change that as he’s recruited 19 Chinese athletes already for the 2018 games, and aims to have 100 people on board by the time the event starts.
Physician and former American Olympian Tom Wadell founded the Gay Games in 1982. The games are the largest LGBTI sporting event in the world. Anyone can attend regardless of skill by signing up for a fee.
In China, LGBT are unlikely to be open about their sexual or gender identity as just 5% of the community are out at school or work. At this year’s Olympic Games in Rio, 52 openly gay people were part of national teams, but none were Chinese.
Hong Kong has launched a bid for the Gay Games for 2022, which would bring the event to Asia for the first time which Qiu said “would be beneficial for Asia.”