Don't let any more suffer like Leslie, gay icons urge

At the Big Love concert on Kowloon waterfront, stars joined by equal rights chief Dr York Chow call for legislation protecting sexual minorities

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 02 April, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 02 April, 2013, 4:15am

Celebrities and lawmakers celebrated "Big Love Day" at an outdoor concert yesterday, saying that a decade after the suicide of bisexual pop icon Leslie Cheung Kwok-wing, they do not want to see any more Hongkongers die because of society's prejudices.

Cheung had been suffering from depression and attacks against his sexuality when he took his life on April 1 10 years ago. Around the world, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transexual (LGBT) people have some of the highest rates of suicide attempts of the general population.

Gigi Chao and girlfriend Sean Eav joined the concert at the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront, in a rare appearance at a LGBT rights event.

Chao, whose tycoon father had earlier offered HK$500 million to the man who could marry his daughter, now says her family "is quite supportive, but it is an ongoing process with them".

"My hope is that the LGBT rights movement in Hong Kong will continue to develop, and no more LGBT youth will become suicidal because of bullying," said Chao, who added that she supported anti-gay discrimination legislation.

My hope is that the LGBT rights movement in Hong Kong will continue to develop, and no more LGBT youth will become suicidal because of bullying

The concert was organised by the Big Love Alliance. It was founded in January by lawmaker Cyd Ho Sau-lan and openly gay singers Anthony Wong Yiu-ming and Denise Ho Wan-sze.

Newly appointed Equal Opportunities Commission chairperson Dr York Chow Yat-ngok joined the stars on stage, where he promised to make legislation to protect gay rights a top priority during his three-year term.

"In my field of medicine … everyone knows that [sexual minorities] were born that way. Those, such as Christians who are prejudiced against sexual minorities, need to change their false beliefs," said the former health minister.

Chow delivered his comments with more force in front of the cheering crowd than when he discussed LGBT issues earlier that day in an interview with RTHK radio. In that interview, Chow said his conservative Christian background would not prevent him from lobbying on behalf of sexual minorities. "Of course, my religious background is relatively conservative," he said. "But whatever my religious background or even personal opinion may be, [since] society as a whole believes sexual orientation is innate and natural … these people should not be subjected to any form of discrimination."

Chow stressed that before starting on legislative work, a public consultation would be necessary for lawmakers and the public to express their views.

But fellow concert attendee, Civic Party chairwoman Audrey Eu Yuet-mee, told the South China Morning Post the beliefs of the majority should not influence whether the legislation would pass.

"The point of anti-discrimination legislation is to protect people against oppositional attitudes common in mainstream society," she said.