Funding woes put gay pride march on hold

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 03 October, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 03 October, 2010, 12:00am

This year's gay pride parade has been put on ice because the HK$140,000 budget has not been raised.

Critics said the parade had become too bourgeois, but organisers fired back, saying higher costs were projected this year because a higher turnout had been expected, and they had not been met by donations.

They are now aiming to collect money for a parade in November next year.

Some have questioned whether such a budget was necessary, and if a less glamorous parade would have been better than none at all.

An article in the Chinese University Student Press accused the organisers of straying from its objective of letting people of different sexual orientations and gender identities show themselves openly.

'The entire parade had a bourgeois air. Drag queens were all extravagantly dressed,' the article said. 'Now such sexual movements have run in Hong Kong for some years, they can't stop sinking into the abyss of being increasingly bourgeois.

'As a result, the openly gay are often seen as beautiful bons vivants who have good taste.'

In response, the committee, comprising representatives of NGOs such as the Women Coalition, Rainbow of Hong Kong, Nutong Xueshe and Gay Harmony, argue that the glamour does not exclude the less fortunate.

Joseph Cho Man-kit, a member of the organising committee, said the proposed budget of HK$140,000 was a careful projection based on the expenses of the past two parades. 'We foresee that there will be 1,000 more participants next year, totalling about 3,000 people,' he said. 'The costs all go to some very basic equipment and publicity.' He said speaker systems took up nearly half the budget.

A fund-raising workshop will be held next month in the hope of putting together the HK$100,000 budgeted for next year's parade. Even if enough money comes in for a parade this year, there won't be one because organisers do not want to be beholden to an influential backer.

The parade has had its share of controversy since it began two years ago. In 2008, Citybus refused to rent a bus to the parade because of concerns over its corporate image.

In contrast to the city's campaign, Shanghai's second such celebration, which will run from October 16 to 31, is going to be twice as large as the first.