When in 2015, the governments of the Mexican state of Jalisco and its capital Guadalajara began a bid to host the Gay Games in 2022, they unwittingly set the city on a path to LGBTQ-awakening.
The Gay Games are an LGBTQ-Olympics of sorts, whose mission is to promote equality through sport and culture. They’ve been held every four years since 1982 and have grown into an internationally-popular event that in 2018 brought more than 10,000 participants to Paris. For Guadalajara, the three-year bid process signified a shift in focus for a government that had not previously engaged the LGBTQ tourism market.
Spoiler alert: Gay Games ultimately chose Hong Kong for 2022 though Guadalajara was one of three finalists.
But for Guadalajara, the victory was in playing the game. “We lost the bid but, in retrospect, we won so much. It opened so many doors and created new relationships,” says Rocio Lancaster Jones, Jalisco’s Tourism Promotion Director.
In truth, as the second largest city in Mexico, Guadalajara has been home to a thriving LGBTQ community for quite some time. Guadalajara Pride this June brought out an estimated 100,000 people — the most of any Pride event in the region…
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