Plans to try and bring the global 2026 Gay Games to the Liverpool City Region have been revealed.
LCR Pride Foundation intends to bid to host the worldwide sport and cultural event in the area, and is being backed by Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram.
The competition takes place every four years with more than 10,000 athletes competing in over 30 sports, and also features an extensive programme of music, visual arts and mass participation events such as fun runs.
Announcing the intention to submit a bid for the 2026 Gay Games next year, LCR Pride Foundation’s co-chair Andi Herring says: “The Gay Games is a globally recognised sporting and cultural event that empowers and celebrates the LGBT+ community, as well as supporting local regeneration in its host cities.
“The Liverpool City Region has a proven record for delivering large-scale, world-class sport and cultural events, as last year’s wildly successful Liverpool 2018 programme demonstrated.
“We believe that this experience, combined with the foundation’s commitment to collaborative working and making the city region the most LGBT+ friendly in the UK, makes Liverpool City Region the perfect host city for the 2026 games.
“Our bid as the Liverpool City Region will encourage relationship building with local authorities, community groups and sports organisations throughout the six boroughs, as we work together towards a unified goal.”
The news comes alongside the announcement that British Paralympian Claire Harvey MBE is the foundation’s newest patron.
The former University of Liverpool student is now director of culture and inclusion for leadership provider EDIT Development.
The foundation’s co-chair, John Bird adds: “Welcoming Claire Harvey MBE as a patron as we embark on this journey will only strengthen our offer to the Federation of Gay Games. We are extremely grateful for her support and recognise how invaluable her expertise will be to creating a bid that we believe could bring the 2026 games to our region.”
So far only Brisbane in Australia is said to have highlighted its intention to bid for the 2026 Gay Games.
Bids will be submitted in 2020 and the successful city will be announced by the event’s sanctioning body, the Federation of Gay Games, at its annual general meeting in Hong Kong in 2021.
Claire Harvey says: “I am backing this bid to enable more people to see the breadth and depth of LGBT+ people who already love sport, as well encouraging more people from the community to access its benefits. I also want to showcase the Liverpool City Region as a diverse and inclusive LGBT+ friendly area, with a strong and positive LGBT+ community.
“One of the great things about being part of London 2012 was the ability to break down fears and myths about disability and, as a participant, feeling like a member of a huge family. I am keen to ensure Liverpool has the opportunity to do the same for Gay Games.”
Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram spoke in support of the event at the international property showcase MIPIM in Cannes yesterday (12 March), and said: “Diversity, respect, equality, and solidarity for all are the foundation blocks on which the Games are built, and they are values we share.
“Our region is well accustomed to holding sporting events that attract a worldwide audience. The Merseyside Derby, Rugby Super League, The Open and the Grand National are regular features in our sporting calendar but never before have we held anything on the scale of the Gay Games.
“I relish the opportunity to build on our strong track record of supporting LGBT+ rights, empowering communities and creating lasting social change. And that is why I am proud to support this bid.”