• Tue
  • Dec 23, 2014
  • Updated: 4:16pm

Cecil Chao

Born in 1936, Cecil Chao Sze-tsung is a Hong Kong based real estate tycoon and chairman of HK-listed developer Cheuk Nang Holdings. Known for his flamboyant playboy lifestyle, Chao raised eyebrows the world over in September 2012 when he announced a HK$ 500 million bounty to look for a man who could win the heart of his daughter Gigi Chao, who is believed to be lesbian and have married her partner in a civil union overseas. 

NewsHong Kong

Dear Daddy, you must accept I’m a lesbian: Gigi Chao pens plea in open letter to tycoon father

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 28 January, 2014, 9:00pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 29 January, 2014, 9:48am

Hong Kong socialite Gigi Chao was reluctantly thrown into the spotlight when her tycoon father Cecil Chao Sze-tsung declared his refusal to accept she was a lesbian by issuing a HK$500 million ‘dowry’ to a man that could marry her. Now she has written a poignant open letter to him after he doubled his offer last week.

Despite the fact that Gigi Chao married her partner of nine years, Sean Eav, in a civil ceremony in France in 2012, her property developer father has continued to attract the attention of the world’s media with his bounty. In an interview this month with the Malaysian newspaper Nanyang Siang Pau,  Cecil Chao insisted his daughter was still single, adding that he believed it was not too late to change her thinking because she was only 33.

Previously, Gigi, an executive director at her father’s Cheuk Nang property development company who has made no secret of her sexuality, has laughed off the bid to find her a husband.

However, today she issues a plea to her ‘Daddy’ in an open letter she hopes will finally halt his interference.


Dear Daddy,

I thought the timing was right for us to have a candid conversation.

You are one of the most mentally astute, energetic yet well mannered and hard-working people this humble earth has ever known.

Your confidence, quick wit, and charisma brightens any room you enter.

I love you very much, and I think I can speak for my brothers also, that we have the utmost respect for you as a father and role model in business.

I am sorry that people have been saying insensitive things about you lately. The truth is, they don’t understand that I will always forgive you for thinking the way you do, because I know you think you are acting in my best interests. And we both don’t care if anybody else understands.

As your daughter, I would want nothing more than to make you happy. But in terms of relationships, your expectations of me and the reality of who I am, are not coherent.

I am responsible for some of this misplaced expectation, because I must have misled you to hope there were other options for me. You know I’ve had male lovers in the past, and I’ve had happy, albeit short-lived, relationships. I found myself temporarily happy, buoyed by the freshness, the attention, the interest, of someone physically stronger than myself.

But it was always short-lived, as I quickly lost patience, and felt an indescribable discomfort in their presence. It usually made me frustrated, and I would yearn for my freedom again. I’ve broken a few hearts, hearts of good, honest and loving men, and I’m sorry that it had to be so.

But with Sean, a woman, somehow it was different. I am comfortable and satisfied with my life and completely at ease with her. I know it’s difficult for you to understand how I could feel romantically attracted to a woman; I suppose I can’t really explain it either. It just happens, peacefully and gently, and after so many years, we still love each other very much.

My regret is that you have no idea how happy I am with my life, and there are aspects of my life that you don’t share. I suppose we don’t need each other’s approval for our romantic relationships, and I am sure your relationships are really fantastic too.

However, I do love my partner Sean, who does a good job of looking after me, ensuring I am fed, bathed and warm enough every day, and generally cheering me up to be a happy, jolly girl. She is a large part of my life, and I am a better person because of her.

Now, I’m not asking you to be best of friends; however, it would mean the world to me if you could just not be so terrified of her, and treat her like a normal, dignified human being.

I understand it is difficult for you to understand, let alone accept this truth.

I’ve spent a lot of time figuring out who I am, what is important in my life, who I love and how best to live life, as an expression of all these questions. I am proud of my life, and I would not choose to live it any other way (except also figuring out how to be gentler on the planet).

I’m sorry to mislead you to think I was only in a lesbian relationship because there was a shortage of good, suitable men in Hong Kong.

There are plenty of good men, they are just not for me.

Wishing you happiness.

Patiently yours,

Your daughter, Gigi.


Watch: Gigi Chao: 'Love shall prevail.'



Related topics

For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive



This article is now closed to comments

Ms Chao is clearly an intelligent, compassionate and articulate person, who would make any parent proud.
It is despicable that Hong Kong is still so social conservative that even parents cannot accept their child having a loving relationship, just be cause it doesn't fit the social conventions. It is despicable that there's not even a concept of civil union for homosexuals; many of them resort to pairing up gay pairs with lesbian pairs to even get government housing. It is despicable that even to this day, soap operas on TV still champion the concept of "straightening" the gays (I'm looking at you, TVB).
And Hong Kong dreams to be an international metropolis? Ha! When it comes to stuff like this, Hong Kong is 2 steps better than Russia.
PS: SCMP - your automatic filter fails. I'm not calling someone derogatory names, but using the terms hom ose xual and ga ys and les bian for its actual meaning. You might want to consider having humans doing the moderation if this is a concern.
This les_bian is a 1st class opportunist. How did this letter get into the hands of the local newsgroups? Open letter meaning let the drama queen begin ? Mr Tycoon certainly wouldn't leak it out without more backlashes. Seems like she is enjoying this charade to further her gay foundation and using this propaganda to her advantage. I'm beginning to suspect the real victim here is not her. Very cunning, like father like daughter
Moreover, this letter seems more like a PR script more than a heartfelt letter between father and daughter. It sounds too superficial and derivative as these words must have exchanged thousands of times over the years in her rebellion against her dad. This letter made it seem more like a confession for the first time and I smell ulterior motives. Sympathy by being portrayed as being emotionally vulnerable always sells and though I'm no politician but neither am I a sucker. I don't buy it.
My verdict: You reap what you sow. There is no such thing as "by chance" or "natural selection" in layman's terms. Gigi, believe what you believe and leave our next generation alone and stop spreading your propaganda. Remember, you're not in France or UK. As long as you're the minority here you will always be viewed as outcasts. There are sympathizers, but ultimately you are the underdog. To the womanizer, be thankful that your offspring is physically normal, and don't push it. Cut her off your inheritance or set her loose.
The SCMP filters are the worst and totally ham fisted. They pretty much strengthen your point of how socially conservative Hong Kong is.
she is a beautiful lady!!! i think her study in England one of reasons behind her decision
when i look at her eyes, i feel sad for her, but it is her choice
@daily - there's nothing "dirty" about this, Gigi is responding to the public outing her father's actions caused, and her response is dignified, good-humoured and measured.
Coming out is culturally significant for other LGBT ppl, esp. the young, in a sometimes closed, occasionally parochial place like HK. The tone of both yrs and @pangkf's comments shows the importance of her act, and the need for greater EQ education in such matters.
set her free....mr chao...let her decide her karma and as long as she is happy and life fulfilling, dat matter most. now....as far as your 1 billion offer, donate them to the needful and both you and your daughter will be bless for your generosity...
aplucky1: what makes you think that I'm g a y? Just because I think that homophobia is wrong? It's ironic that you're accusing me of being intolerant of other schools of thought when you're the one who started ranting about g a y people! Clearly you don't know anything about them, it shows from your very "intelligent" responses (and that's really what I meant about you needing an education). I'm sorry about your kid, being brought up by such a hateful parent.
What an incredibly intelligent woman Gigi is! Kudos to Gigi for such a poised, classy, and dignified letter and video response! And Congratulations to her and her wife on their marriage in France! May they share long and happy lives together!
Please care about others - your comments is selffish and you have no empathy.
Your comment also is bigoted "she-man'. You are not well educated and it shows.



SCMP.com Account