I remember when we first discussed the possibility of PwC supporting the Gay Games in Hong Kong. It was 2019 and I was a part of our small SHINE team (PwC’s LGBT+ ERG) which had put together a proposal to bring to leadership. It was uncertain what the response was going to be given the firm was at an early stage of driving LGBT+ inclusion and still figuring out how to navigate the context of the territories we operate in (Mainland China & Hong Kong).
Pictured above: Johnathan Suárez holding the PwC banner at the Gay Games Opening Ceremony.
Throughout the following 4 years, the uncertainty of the event increased as the global pandemic unfolded, and Hong Kong adopted one of the longest and most rigid travel restrictions including quarantine periods of up to 21 days for inbound travellers.
It wasn’t until one year ago that the games were finally confirmed after travel restrictions were lifted, and our discussion on PwC’s participation kicked off again – this time me being the lead of the ERG and the key person driving this initiative in our firm. With the firm’s leadership support to sponsor a group of max. 30 employees in Hong Kong, our next challenge was to find those 30 people who would be enthusiastic to participate in the games. I didn’t know if it was going to be an easy or a difficult task, but we went on and communicated the opportunity to our employees.
To our positive surprise, not only did we get 30 people easily, but we ended up engaging over 100 employees in the games with most of them competing across 14 different sports and a few others volunteering for the games. We became the company with the largest number of employees engaged, and we had an exceptional performance resulting in 22 Gold, 9 Silver, and 4 Bronze Medals, with many others making it to finals and semi-finals!
Pictured above: the PwC delegation to the 2023 Gay Games in Hong Kong.
Behind these numbers, there are powerful and inspiring stories: LGBT+ employees who had never spoken up openly about their identity and what they stand for – and thanks to the games they now do; the male football team that had to play against the Hong Kong female football team, making it a first for most of them and sending a strong message of equality; someone who didn’t know how to swim and put herself in lessons months in advance so she could join her colleagues in swimming; an intern who never imagined PwC to be such an inclusive place and feeling proud about it; leaders who had not been too active or comfortable talking about LGBT+ issues in the workplace and now they feel empowered to do so. Just to name a few stories of people uniting around sports to practice active allyship and support inclusion.
Pictured above: participants at the 2023 Gay Games in Hong Kong.
It is important to note as well that this great impact, which is extending to Hong Kong society and shaping their attitude towards the LGBT+ community, has been thanks to the role that corporations and organisations like Out Leadership played in supporting the games. Hence, I want to call on every single business leader reading this note to get their conversation started around supporting Gay Games 2026 Valencia (Spain), and to my fellow PwC colleagues and SHINE leaders from our EMEA region – we set the bar high, and we need to do it again in 2026!
It has been a pleasure to support the Gay Games, and I will continue in my role as ERG Lead making sure LGBT+ inclusion is centre to our DEI conversations not just at PwC but in society at large.
This year, Out Leadership was proud to partner with the Gay Games, which was co-hosted between Hong Kong and Guadalajara beginning on November 3rd. Out Leadership supported Hong Kong in its original bid to host the Games in 2017 – led by Out in HK and Dennis Philipse,
Here’s what you need to know this week…
OutLEADER Ali Krieger leads Gotham FC to soccer championship victory.
In the final match of her career, Olympic and Women’s World Cup champion Ali Krieger captained NJ/NY Gotham FC to victory in the National Women’s Soccer League Championship. Gotham’s 2-1 win over Seattle’s OL Reign proved a remarkable turnaround for the football club, which finished last in the league the year prior.
Facing off against Krieger on OL Reign was US Women’s National Teammate Megan Rapinoe, who also retired at the end of the season. The anticipation of a full final match-up between the USWNT colleagues was regrettably cut short just six minutes into the game when Rapinoe suffered a dramatic leg injury. Rapinoe cheered on her teammates from the sidelines and gave Krieger a congratulatory embrace after Gotham’s win.
Ali Krieger joined over 200 young LGBTQ+ leaders earlier this year at the 2023 OutNEXT Global Summit in New York, proudly sponsored by Citi and RBC Capital Markets.
The thrilling matchup between two iconic lesbian athletes in the United States complemented a strong showing for LGBTQ+ sport at the Gay Games in Hong Kong.
World Champion and Olympian Ali Krieger and Mila Jam, Out Leadership Senior Adviser for Global Transgender Initiatives, at the 2023 OutNEXT Global Summit.
Six years in the making, Dragon Boats roar as the Gay Games come to a close in Hong Kong.
Out Leadership has been honored to support the Gay Games in Hong Kong. Six years ago, Out Leadership supported Hong Kong’s original bid to host the Gay Games and is a proud partner of this year’s competition. Congratulations to all the participating athletes!
Amidst the backdrop of tightening Beijing rule and a stream of pro-equality victories on the bench, thousands of athletes at the quadrennial Gay Games in Hong Kong shone a luminous rainbow of strength and solidarity over a traditionally cloudy regional attitude toward LGBTQ+ rights.
While the Games proceeded largely without incident, the lack of support from the city’s leadership was palpable. Eight representatives to Hong Kong’s parliament supported a petition from conservative groups calling for the event to be canceled, accusing organizers of promoting LGBTQ+ ideologies in contravention of the city’s national security law, implemented in 2019 amid pro-democracy protests. Hong Kong’s official tourism site did not mention the Games.
In mainland China, authorities have tightened restrictions on LGBTQ+ activism. Pride marches in Shanghai have been suspended indefinitely, and Beijing’s decades-old LGBTQ center has shut down.
The Hong Kong Gay Games kicked off with its Opening Ceremony on November 4th and celebrated its Closing Ceremony on November 11th.
LGBTQ+ community mourns victims of anti-trans violence.
Monday, November 20th marks the 24th annual Transgender Day of Remembrance, an annual observance that honors the memory of transgender people who have lost their lives to acts of anti-trans violence.
The Trans Murder Monitoring report, which tracks reported murders of transgender and gender-diverse individuals in the media, counted 320 trans people murdered between October 1st, 2022 and September 30th, 2023. 94% of gender-diverse people killed during the monitoring period were trans women or trans-feminine people.
Trans activist Gwendolyn Ann Smith began Transgender Day of Remembrance in 1999 as a vigil in memory of Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was killed the year prior.
Support unhoused LGBTQ+ youth with the Ally Coalition.
On December 19th, 2023, The Ally Coalition will present its 9th Annual Talent Show. All proceeds will support the Ally Coalition’s work to help unhoused LGBTQ+ youth. Out Leadership is a proud partner of the Ally Coalition.
Curated and hosted by our co-founders, Jack Antonoff and Rachel Antonoff (respectively), our annual Talent Show has featured past performances by Taylor Swift, Lana Del Rey, Phoebe Bridgers, MUNA, Hasan Minhaj, Kasey Musgraves, Jason Isbell, and Aparna Nancherla – and this year will not disappoint! Through past shows, the Ally Coalition has been able to raise over $2 Million to support unhoused LGBTQ+ youth all over the country.
Today, there are over 4 million unhoused youth in the USA – with almost 40% identifying as LGBTQ+. These youths are far more likely to be victims of depression, violence, bullying, and suicide. The American Civil Liberties Union is tracking nearly 500 anti-LGBTQ bills across the USA – making 2023 the most critical show yet.
Out Leadership has been honored to support The Ally Coalition Talent Show for nine years, and has proudly partnered on other projects including this year’s Love Rising event in Tennessee to counter attacks on drag performances and trans rights.
You can support this critical work by donating to the Ally Coalition:
Hungary fires its national museum director over LGBTQ+ content law.
János Csák, the Hungarian Minister of Culture and Innovation, fired the director of the country’s national museum in Budapest. Laszlo Simon, the museum director, is accused of violating a controversial law intended to restrict children’s access to LGBTQ+ content.
The dismissal came after Hungary’s government determined that a number of photos on display at the museum were subject to the law limiting information about homosexuality and gender transitions for minors. The images in question depict elderly LGBTQ+ people in the Phillippines, including depictions of people in drag and wearing makeup.
Hungary, under the leadership of Viktor Orbán, has seen a backsliding of LGBTQ+ rights, especially in contrast to other members of the European Union.
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