Liverpool launches Gay Games 2026 bid plan

By Jon Holmes

The Metro Mayor of Liverpool is among those backing plans for a bid to bring the Gay Games to the city region in 2026.

If the bid by the Liverpool City Region (LCR) Pride Foundation is successful, it would be the first time since the Games began in 1982 that the UK has hosted the inclusive multi-sports event.

The last Gay Games, held by Paris in summer 2018, attracted over 10,000 athletes participating in over 30 different sports.

Speaking on Tuesday, Steve Rotheram, Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said: “I’m delighted that the Liverpool City Region Pride Foundation has announced its intention to bid for the Games.

“Imagine what that would mean for us. Imagine the opportunity it gives us to showcase the Liverpool City Region on an international stage.

“Diversity, respect, equality and solidarity are the Games’ values, and they’re our values too.

“Never before have we held anything like the Gay Games. I, for one, would relish the chance to build on our strong track record of supporting LGBT+ rights, empowering communities, and creating lasting social change.

“That’s why I’ll be supporting the bid and I hope that you will too.”

LCR Pride Foundation was established in 2019 with the aim of making the Liverpool City Region the most LGBT+ friendly region in the UK.

Mersey Marauders FC are among the LGBT+ inclusive sports clubs in the Liverpool city region

The organisation champions the rights of LGBT+ people living in and visiting the region. It fights to highlight the daily barriers they face and create an inclusive culture for all to enjoy and participate in, through a diverse programme of events, initiatives and campaigns.

To date, only Brisbane in Australia has highlighted its intention to bid for the 2026 Gay Games. Bids will be submitted next year and the successful city will be announced by the event’s sanctioning body, the Federation of Gay Games, at its Annual General Meeting in 2021 in Hong Kong, where the 2022 Games will be held.

Also backing the bid plan is Claire Harvey MBE, who competed for Great Britain in sitting volleyball at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London and who has been announced by LCR Pride Foundation as its newest patron.

“I know first-hand the power and benefit that sport can have on a person’s life and on a community,” said Harvey. “Sport is a vehicle that can bring people together and bridge differences to start a culture change.

Claire Harvey MBE has been announced as a new patron of the LCR Pride Foundation and is also backing the Gay Games 2026 bid plan

“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.”

For more information, visit www.LCRGayGames.com, follow @LCRGayGames on Twitter and like on Facebook at LCR Gay Games 2026.

Further reading

Meet Team LGBT: UK’s Gay Games athletes (Sky Sports, August 2018)

The 10th annual Gay Games descend on Paris (NBC News, August 2018)

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