Controversial Gay Pride parade back after year off

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 14 August, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 14 August, 2011, 12:00am

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Called off last year due to a lack of funding, the city's biggest celebration of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender culture will return this winter, organisers say.

While funds remain in short supply, members of the Hong Kong Pride Parade 2011 organising committee say the event will go ahead towards the end of the year. The Pride Parade, which carries the slogan 'for queer, for love, for equality', was cancelled last year because the four groups who organise it could not find the HK$140,000 they needed.

This time the Women Coalition of HKSAR, Rainbow of Hong Kong, Nutong Xueshe and Gay Harmony have been in discussions since May, their preparations starting earlier than in previous years.

'We are working out the details as to when and where it will take place, but one thing is clear: there is definitely going to be a Pride Parade,' said spokeswoman Wylie Yeo, adding that details may be revealed at the end of this month. .

Yeo said the groups had been in talks with private companies over sponsorship, but admitted 'we haven't actually raised much money yet.' However she remained confident funds would begin to flow when plans were more fully developed. Potential sponsors had demanded to know the route and the expected turnout before committing, she said.

The parade has attracted its share of controversy in the past. In its first year, 2008, Citybus was accused of discrimination after refusing to rent a vehicle to parade organisers, citing its 'company image'.

Last year, another gay rights group accused the event of becoming 'bourgeois' and said the organisers had strayed from their intention of letting people of different sexual orientations express themselves.

Yeo said an extravagant atmosphere was needed for the biggest annual celebration of LGBT culture. 'We think since there are more than a few LGBT events over the year, some of them have to be more glamorous and pink and others more to other tastes,' she said. 'We need to hold events that have a variety of atmospheres.'