China are planning to send a delegation to the Gay Games for the first time ever in 2018 when the international quadrennial sport and cultural event is due to take place in Paris.
Organisers of the event in the French capital posted on Facebook that they hope to see the first Chinese group of around 20 athletes, which they claim will be the biggest delegation ever to participate in a Gay Games.
The increase in interest is credited to Qiu Hua, who first learned about the Games at a badminton club in 2014 and has been promoting them in China ever since.
Qiu reached out to China’s gay community in search of athletes to organise a team for the event.
"People in China don’t know about the Games, and this is the first time there has been a direct link between the Games and China," he told Chinese news site Sixth Tone.
Since April, Qiu has been raising awareness of the Games via a Paris 2018 WeChat public account he set up.
He has also contacted LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) sports groups and associations, but with differing fortune.
"It’s difficult," he told Sixth Tone.
"These kinds of groups are really hard to find."
China had one representative at the 2014 edition in Cleveland and Akron, where they won their first medal at the Games - a silver in swimming.
Qiu is hoping to have as many as 100 team members on board by the time the 2018 Games come round.
In China, the LGBT community lacks legal recognition and protections with only five per cent out at school or work.
There are no protections against discrimination and same-sex couples are not legally permitted to marry or adopt children.
Transgender people have the right to change their legal gender, but only after having surgery.
Hong Kong is one of 11 potential candidates to host the 2022 Gay Games, with Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington D.C., Tel Aviv and Cape Town also expressing an interest.
Other cities bidding are Austin, Dallas, Denver and Salt Lake City in the United States and Guadalajara in Mexico.
The cities are due to submit their first Bid Books to the Federation of Gay Games by November 30.
The Gay Games were first held in San Francisco in 1982 but have never been held in Asia.