A former Liberal Democrat candidate for Vauxhall has been an influential figure in organising the first Gay Games to be played in Central America and Asia.
This November, Adrian Hyyrylainen-Trett will be flying to Guadalajara for the 2023 Gay Games, which were delayed by 12 months due the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hong Kong was originally the sole host, but after the political situation changed in the country, Guadalajara stepped in to aid the competition.
The Gay Games are a sporting event that brings the LGBTQ+ community together and gives people from all different cultures and background the chance to compete.
The previous 10 editions have only been played in Europe, USA, Canada or Australia, but in Hyyrylainen-Trett’s first games as an organiser it will be played in two new countries.
They said: “The Gay Games have been going for over 40 years, it hasn’t been a thing for only 10 years, and it holds a particular torch for people who are in the LGBTQ+ community.
“It gives people a safe space to compete in an environment that is LGBTQ+ friendly.
“One of the eras I came from, was where people weren’t allowed to talk about LGBTQ+ people in schools which lead to transphobia, homophobia and biphobia.
“You end up leaving sport, which is what happened to me around 13 when I knew my sexuality would be an issue.
“That is what we want to prevent happening now, and people don’t have to go through the painstaking loss of leaving sport because they don’t fit in which is vital.
“We want to make it so we can have people from around the world competing as themselves, which is something that may not be possible in the country they are from.
“Globally LGBTQ+ rights are under threat in certain places particularly in Africa and the Middle East and therefore we want to make sure the global vision of the Gay Games isn’t just western-centric.”
Along with being the Vice President of External Relations at the Games, the Lib Dem campaigner is also participating in multiple events, after already featuring in Cologne 2010 and Paris 2018.
Hyyrylainen-Trett said: “I am competing in the powerlifting, golf, the 5km and 10km run so it is going to be stressful.
“I have played golf for nearly 20 years, but I am at an amateur level in all these sporting events.
“The Gay Games’ motto is about participation, personal best and inclusion, that is more important than winning.
“Recognizing the Gay Games ethos is important to understanding what we are doing”
As Hyyrylainen-Trett balances four events along with running the external relations, the eight-day period that the Games run across will be a busy time for the full-volunteered crew.
They said: “From a media perspective I will be leading the communication team with my colleagues, such as Duncan Campbell the Officer of Communications, who will be doing lots of social media coverage especially while I am competing.
“Obviously, I won’t be able to do everything but there will be other people awarding medals and running the ceremonies.
“We also have a documentary as well which will film different content for it as well that will encapsulate all the amazing moments that will happen in the games.”
The bid to be the 2023 host saw a record 17 offers of interest, with Hyyrylainen-Trett hoping to see the Games come to London in the future.
Hyyrylainen-Trett said: “I was part of the bid team to have the 2018 Games in London and obviously we had a very supportive government at that time.
“The Liberal Democrats were part of the coalition at that point, but we were up against Paris who sadly won that particular competition.
“The bidding did have a great boost to LGBTQ+ sports in the UK. We had new sports set up, we had more engagement with other networks set up in the aftermath of the London bid.
“Having the Gay Games in London would be fantastic; it is something we have wanted to do, and I still hope we can bid in future years.
“What year that’ll be I am not sure, but it is certainly something that hopefully will happen in my lifetime.
Image credit: Adrian Hyyrylainen-Trett