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LGBTI

‘Upset with Lam’s lukewarm response’: 10,000 attend Pride Parade amid calls for Hong Kong laws to protect LGBT rights

Advocates urge city’s government to act on anti-discrimination ordinance

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 25 November, 2017, 7:04pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 25 November, 2017, 10:41pm

Rainbow flags and blue balloons were part of the flamboyant displays on Hong Kong streets on Saturday as advocates and members of the LGBT community joined hands in the ninth annual Pride Parade, attended by 10,000 people, according to organisers.

The festivities were held against the backdrop of an ongoing public consultation over the legal recognition of transgender and intersex people.

Crowds clad in blue – the theme colour of the event – marched from Victoria Park in Causeway Bay to Edinburgh Place in Central. Attendees included more than a dozen top diplomats, several Hong Kong legislators and the chairman of the Equal Opportunities Commission, Alfred Chan Cheung-ming.

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Chan said the public consultation on transgender recognition was a step in the right direction, but added that the government was “acting a bit slow”, and that it would be difficult to achieve equal rights for the LGBT community without official support.

The consultation, which will close on December 31, centres on the legal status of transgender and intersex people as no legislation in Hong Kong currently provides for amendments to one’s gender status in legal documents.

In response to the city’s recent successful bid to host the 2022 Gay Games, the largest LGBT sporting event in the world, Chan said: “The government has an ambiguous attitude – they are not showing support or opposition ... But it would be difficult for organisers to go ahead without official support such as in booking venues.”

Ousted lawmaker Nathan Law Kwun-chung said he felt fortunate to make it to the rally as he was on bail, pending an appeal against an eight-month jail sentence for storming the government headquarters in a lead-up to the 2014 Occupy movement.

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“We see more and more people in this generation supporting equal rights, including marriage equality,” the 24-year-old said on stage in a speech. “We need legislators to press for LGBT rights.”

Jimmy Sham Tsz-kit, a spokesman for the parade’s organisers, said he was disappointed that Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and Secretary for Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Patrick Nip Tak-kuen did not accept their invitation to attend the event.

“We hope the new government will stop procrastinating and push for an anti-discrimination ordinance for sexual minorities,” Sham said. “We are upset to see Carrie Lam’s lukewarm response to pleas to protect the rights of sexual minorities.”

The organisers said blue was chosen as the theme colour to represent the sky and ocean, which for them symbolised freedom and equality.

Currently, Hong Kong does not recognise same-sex marriages and does not have any legislation against discrimination based on sexual orientation.