Valencia, Spain chosen to host Gay Games in 2026

Spanish city Valencia has been chosen presumptive host of the Gay Games is 2026 by the Federation of Gay Games (FGG) at the organization’s Annual General Assembly in Brighton, U.K Thursday.

The bid team celebrates after Valencia elected to host the 2026 Gay Games (Photo: Facebook/Valencia 2026)

The bid team celebrates after Valencia elected to host the 2026 Gay Games (Photo: Facebook/Valencia 2026)

Pending the signing of final documents, the announcement marks the completion of the two year selection process organized during the difficulties of the COVID-19 pandemic and among a record number of applicants.

This twelfth edition will be the first Gay Games to be sited in Spain once it receives final rubberstamping planned for next year.

“The Site Selection process to host the Gay Games is a long and difficult one,” FGG’s Office of Site Selection Dave Killian said.

“The FGG is thrilled that Valencia has been selected as the presumptive host of Gay Games XII in 2026 and look forward to working with them to produce an amazing event.”

Valencia was chosen among three finalists that were named in February following a record number 20 applicants from six continents that initially entered the race.

FGG Co-President Joanie Evans said “I know the heartache of not winning and I want to recognize our two other finalists, Guadalajara and Munich.”

“That said, we feel that Valencia will bring a rich dimension to the Games and, this being the first time a Games will be held in Spain, it will have a positive impact on the city.”

Co-President Sean Fitzgerald added “All finalist bid cities did an amazing job in delivering their final presentations but at the end of the day there can only be one host city.”

Eight cities were chosen for a semi-final round last year including  Auckland in New Zealand, Brisbane in Australia, Guadalajara in Mexico, Munich in Germany, San Diego in the U.S., Taipei in Taiwan, Toronto in Canada and Valencia.

Valencia 2026 Gay Games Logo

The initial round of 20 cities also included São Paulo in Brazil, Dublin in Ireland, Amsterdam in Netherlands, Lisbon in Portugal, Cape Town in South Africa, Durban in South Africa, Liverpool in UK, Austin in the U.S., Fort Lauderdale in the U.S., Minneapolis in the U.S., New Orleans in the U.S.. and Seattle in the U.S.

Hong Kong will host the quadrennial event in 2023 for the first time in Asia after those Games planned for 2022 were delayed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The previous Gay Games were held in Paris in 2018 and the inaugural event was staged in San Francisco is 1982.

According the FGG “Gay Games is open to all, and since its debut in 1982 it has continued to perpetuate the legacy of changing cultural, social and political attitudes towards LGBTQ+ people.”

About Robert Livingstone

A senior producer and award-winning journalist covering Olympic bid business as founder of as well as providing freelance support for print and Web publications around the world. Robert Livingstone is a member of the Olympic Journalists Association and the International Society of Olympic Historians.