HK still has no law protecting its gay citizens from discrimination

PUBLISHED : Monday, 21 November, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 21 November, 2011, 12:00am


I couldn't agree more with your editorial ('Gays miss out on discrimination law', November 10).

Two decades have passed since the decriminalisation of homosexual behaviour and Hong Kong still lacks any legislation protecting its gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender citizens from discrimination.

'Asia's world city' does not have to look far to see what can be done.

Taipei's ninth Pride Parade last month received government support and more than 50,000 people attended. Some visitors came from countries outside Asia to celebrate the region's largest festival that promotes diversity and acceptance.

Taiwan has a similar culture and traditions to Hong Kong and it has already outlawed discrimination based on sexual orientation in the workplace. It has introduced a policy to eliminate discrimination and promote respect in schools. Japan is seeing openly gay, lesbian and transgender people serving in public office and Nepal is set to become the first Asian country to offer equal marriage rights.

The administration of Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen has failed to act to end the different age of consent between heterosexual and homosexual couples, which the Court of Appeal ruled unconstitutional in 2006. Various UN bodies have repeatedly urged the government to establish effective measures to combat discrimination based on sexual orientation, yet it continues to sidestep these obligations.

You say that Hong Kong is conservative by nature, but I don't think citizens are narrow-minded. A Polytechnic University study in 2002 found that 70 per cent of Hongkongers believed gays and lesbians had the right to form families.

Drawing examples from my immediate surroundings as an openly gay man, my grandmother, who was converted to Christianity two decades ago and turned 84 last week, often says that love between two persons of the same sex is no different than love between a man and a woman.

Many Hongkongers accept and desire diversity in our society. However, what we have is a vocal and powerful extremist movement fighting against equality and a head of government who seems to have difficulty separating his personal beliefs and policymaking, as seen in his highly publicised daily morning prayer session on his Facebook page all the way from New York.

Billy R. Leung, Chai Wan