Activists renew call for ban on anti-gay discrimination

PUBLISHED : Friday, 26 May, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 26 May, 2006, 12:00am

Rights groups have again urged the government to introduce a law banning discrimination against homosexuals after a study found widespread discrimination based on sexual orientation.

According to a survey by Civil Rights for Sexual Diversities (CRSD), lesbian activists F' Union, the Hong Kong Christian Institute (HKCI) and Blessed Minority Christian Fellowship late last year, 78 per cent - or 117 people - of the 150 gay men and lesbians interviewed said they had been discriminated against because of their sexuality.

More than 80 per cent of these respondents said they had experienced assaults such as verbal harassment, while over 60 per cent said people had scoffed at them.

The study found half suffered discrimination in the workplace and half by public policies relating to areas such as marriage and social welfare. Forty-five per cent said they were harassed at schools.

Nearly 30 per cent said their sexuality caused them to be treated unfairly when applying for to join public bodies and 20 per cent did not receive proper service from the government or companies.

CRSD chairman Roddy Shaw Kwok-wah said the number of cases of discrimination against homosexuals was high, given that the questionnaire was posted on the internet for only two months.

One of the 31 respondents contacted for follow-up interviews told Mr Shaw he was 'a very qualified NET [native English teacher] teacher at a band one college but was forced to quit his job when the school discovered his sexual orientation... It's an employment discrimination case but the teacher is not protected by law, which is unfair to him,' he said.