Slimmer Gay Pride parade set to go ahead
The Hong Kong Pride Parade will take to the streets on Saturday after a two-year hiatus, even though organisers have raised just a few thousand dollars of the HK$150,000 needed to stage the event.
Connie Chan Man-wai, chief director of the event, said the application to hold the parade had been submitted to police nine months ago but had only recently received approval, which cut the time they had to raise funds and promote the event.
'We've only got one week left and we are far, far away from our target,' she said of the event which celebrates the city's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. 'So we are going to cut down the budget, get a smaller stage and we may not have famous stars.'
Chan said that while many top local singers like Denise Ho and Joey Yung were close to the LGBT community, no big names were lined up to appear as yet. Plans to fly in Taiwanese pop star A-Mei, who has previously been involved with the parade in her home country, had to be scrapped due to lack of funds.
The parade debuted in 2008, attracting about 1,000 participants. That year, Citybus refused to rent out a bus for the parade, claiming it could damage its corporate image.
In 2009, about 1,800 people took part in the parade, but last year the event was scrapped due to lack of funds. This year Chan hopes more than 2,000 people will attend.
The parade will set off from East Point Road in Causeway Bay, the scene of conflict between gay activists and police at an anti-homophobia rally in May when marchers were ordered to stop dancing. Officers claimed they were violating public entertainment laws.
The Pride Parade - with the motto 'for queer, for love and for equality' - will end with a one-hour concert at the Southorn playground in Wan Chai. Performers are set to include a lesbian indie band and Coco, one of the city's most famous drag queens.
About 100 volunteers helped organise the event, with funds raised mostly from customers at bars like Propaganda in Central and Temptation in Tsim Sha Tsui. Students and teachers from 12 schools will participate, up from two in 2009. 'They are not necessarily gay but they support gay students,' Chan said.
She also expects about half the crowd to be from the mainland.
'We did a lot of promotions to the LGBT groups in China because we see their need to participate in Hong Kong's parade,' Chan said.