Parade of pride not prejudice
Hennessy Road in Wan Chai was awash with colour as 2,000 gays, lesbians, transsexuals, cross-dressers, sex workers and their straight friends and families joined the carnival-like Pride Parade yesterday.
Right before the third annual Pride Parade began, an organiser yelled: 'This is not a queue for the iPhone 4S, this is a queue for gay rights.' Songs by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) icon Lady Gaga got the crowd's blood pumping.
An array of LGBT-related groups participated, including the Nan Feng Tour Group from Shenzhen that organises trips for up to 50 LGBT tourists two or three times a month. 'The Hong Kong parade is actually one of our tour pit stops,' tour guide You Feng said 'It's a shame that we don't have these parades on the mainland.'
Anthony Wong Wai-yin, a third-year Baptist University social work student, works with many LGBT teenagers through his work placement. 'I am walking in the parade today to show my clients that I not only support them verbally, but also through action showing that there is nothing to be ashamed of,' he said.
A 17-year-old student from Chinese International School, who only came out as a lesbian to friends and family four months ago, walked with her sister and friends. 'I feel surrounded by love and by genuinely good people,' she said. 'Love really knows no bounds.'
The Blessed Minority Christian Fellowship - a primarily LGBT congregation - has participated since 2008, for the first time carried banners and signs. 'We want to show that we are at one and completely related to the LGBT community,' pastor Silas Wong Kwok-yiu said.
Crowds that gathered in the pedestrian area of Causeway Bay's East Point Road caused no disruption. Organisers had earlier said the meeting point was a safety hazard. They had claimed that a decision by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department to reject Victoria Park as a meeting point was discrimination.
However, the department's chief leisure manager, Winnie Lee Fung-ming, said the parade could not use the park's bandstand as it had been booked by RTHK's City Forum. Lee said the organisers only applied to use the bandstand, and not the lawn and soccer pitch as they had claimed.
Hong Kong Pride Parade director Connie Chan Man-wai insisted the group applied to use the three locations as meeting points. She claimed the department told her the application was rejected because it did not want the park to be known as a meeting point for parades or protests.