The international Federation of Gay Games announced the close of the first phase of questions for organizations bidding to host Gay Games X. Five cities – Amsterdam, Limerick, London, Orlando, and Paris – are bidding to host the 2018 event, the world’s largest sport and culture festival open to all.

Dennis Sneyers (Chicago), cochair of the FGG site selection committee, explained that the process used was a first for the FGG: “While we have always made the bid books public, for the first time we have chosen to open our question submissions to all interested parties. The process has been totally transparent and very successful. Over 380 questions were submitted via an online form. After editing, consolidation, and removal of duplicate questions, more than 300 questions remained, all of which have been posted on our blog at 2018.gaygames.org, where they can be consulted by bidder and by theme.”

Sneyers’ cochair, Dave Killian (Philadelphia) spoke of the next steps: “Bidding organizations have until the end of April to respond to these questions. Their answers will be added to the questions posted online so that FGG voters and the public in general can judge the responsiveness of the organizations involved. But this isn’t the end of our exchanges with bidding organizations, which will continue along the same lines through the FGG Assembly’s vote on a shortlist at the end of May, and then on to October’s in-person site selection meeting in Cleveland, Ohio, the host of Gay Games 9 in August 2014.”

Ken Hundrieser (Chicago), an FGG volunteer processing the Q&A, discussed the breakdown in questions asked: “There was not a significant difference in the number of questions asked of the various bidding organizations, despite their very different backgrounds and orientations. Sport is of course an important topic, representing a third of all questions. Among the sports, cycling and triathlon received the most questions, in large part because these are particularly complicated events, with road closing issues, multiple sub events, and so on. Other sports receiving many questions were DanceSport, Softball and Tennis. Culture was not neglected, with a particular concern for how participants in Band, Chorus and Cheer would be not only featured in ceremonies, but in their own stand-alone events.”

Marc Naimark (Paris), who is managing the current Q&A process, added: “Another important area was budget and finance: the FGG is very concerned about the financial viability of the event, and it’s important to understand the way bidding organizations begin their financial planning. A new area of questioning for us concerned bidding organizations’ plans for various conferences and seminars. While there has been a conference at every Gay Games since 1994, they had not previously been described in the bid books. The questions that were asked on this topic concerned mainly the partners who would be entrusted with the design and execution of these plans.”

Killian spoke of the next steps: “It’s still possible to submit questions to bidding organizations. Their answers to those submitted so far are due by the end of April. By that time we will have chosen the site inspectors who will visit the finalist cities in early August, finalist to be chosen by FGG Assembly members at the end of May via electronic voting.”

Sneyers concluded: “So far the question process has been a big success. Bidders have already begun to respond, and we are pleased with the scope of the questions submitted by the FGG and others, and by the ability to understand and respond to these questions shown by the bidding organizations. Beyond the choice of the best host for Gay Games X, these questions allow us to improve our site selection process by highlighting areas that need greater clarity and themes that are the most important to our stakeholders.”

For all information about bidding for Gay Games X, visit 2018.gaygames.org.

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