What a shock! Gays are not unspeakable monsters

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 27 January, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 27 January, 2007, 12:00am

The controversy stirred up by RTHK's programme Gay Lovers shows a worrying mentality in Hong Kong: that not only do lesbians and gays not deserve equal treatment, they are unspeakable.

For years, mainstream films, soap operas and even newspaper reports have demonised sexual minorities, but few people seemed to care. Then one programme shows two lesbians and a gay man stating their wish to marry their loved ones and a government minister is alerted.

We applaud the Broadcasting Authority for setting the record straight that unprotected sex, rather than homosexual sex, is the cause of HIV transmission. But when it ruled that the programme was 'unfair, partial and biased towards homosexuality' it upheld an existing prejudice that has denied a segment of the population equality.

The playing field has never been level for lesbians and gays. They are the ones who have been excluded from the matrimonial system, and no one can give a good reason why - except that the law says so and some religious groups agree. They are legally discriminated against.

As for the authority saying that the programme was 'unsuitable' for family viewing as 'young viewers ... might have no knowledge of homosexuality and might be adversely affected', it only adds insult to injury. Any lesbian or gay older than 35 would be able to tell you how little information about homosexuality they could get when they were growing up. In those pre-internet days, your only option as a homosexual adolescent was to stay quiet, lonely and frustrated - or risk ridicule. Being deprived of information has not made these people grow up heterosexual, but it has left them with many wounds to heal and scars to bear.

VIVIAN SO, Horizons

It is perhaps not difficult to understand the panic felt by many on watching RTHK's programme Gay Lovers. Instead of portraying gays and lesbians as disease-spreading, debauched and faceless monsters whose regrettable lifestyle choice threatens to corrupt the very fabric of decent society, the programme showed them as normal individuals with feelings and an aspiration for companionship - just like everybody else.

Perhaps the honourable members of the Broadcasting Authority felt that viewers should not have to face the tough question of why gays and lesbians are denied their full civil rights. Or perhaps they simply considered it bad taste to expose the suffering unnecessarily inflicted by those who take the moral high ground of religious zealotry. God knows how many meals were spoiled.

Whatever grounds the authority has for its 'impartiality' ruling, however, I hope it was not affected by the religious beliefs of its members. If it was, we should be seriously concerned that religious convictions interrupted public duty. After all, we are not living under the papacy.

SEAN MOK, Cheung Chau

Just because there are people, as well as animals, born with homosexual inclinations does not mean it is normal and so should be accepted by society. The same goes for same-sex marriage. Last year in Britain, a peacock tried to make love to the fuel pumps at a petrol station. Does it mean we should accept such odd behaviour as normal? Besides, there are other strange inclinations that people are born with, too.