Hong Kong sex education classes don’t teach pupils about sexual minorities

Some students report being verbally and physically abused at school, but LGBT advocacy groups’ talks with government officials about tackling the problem have come to nothing

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 19 May, 2016, 6:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 19 May, 2016, 5:59am

A notable gap in sex education in Hong Kong is the failure of some schools to acknowledge that not everyone is heterosexual.

Hong Kong’s sex education crisis: why people turn to sex workers for knowledge

A 2014 government-commissioned study of sexual minorities in Hong Kong found that 69 of more than 200 people interviewed experienced discrimination at school. Name-calling – “abnormal” and “monster”, for example – is common; a transgender student reports being kicked, stalked and stabbed with pencils by classmates.

The Pink Alliance and other lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) groups held talks with education officials over 18 months to discuss such bullying but nothing came of it, says alliance spokesman Reggie Ho.

I just wish the Education Bureau weren’t so scared of us, as if we were hostile
Reggie Ho

They weren’t out to tell the bureau what to do, but “we want to get rid of intolerance. It has to start with the grown-ups, the teachers,” Ho says. “But at some point we just hit a brick wall; they just stopped talking to us.

“I just wish the Education Bureau weren’t so scared of us, as if we were hostile.”

Ho points to a December 2015 report from a government advisory group on action that could be taken to address discrimination against sexual minorities. Among other things, the report recommends training for teachers and social workers on the issue of sexual minorities, and issuing a voluntary charter on non-discrimination to schools and employers.