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Legislative Council elections 2016

Backing sexual minority rights does not affect support for Hong Kong candidates, survey finds

Survey by Gender Research Centre finds 76 per cent of general public respondents view such candidates positively or their stance does not bother them

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 24 August, 2016, 5:57pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 24 August, 2016, 10:30pm

Supporting sexual minority rights would boost the public image of politicians, while opposing these rights would hamper how the public views them, a survey by a local university has found.

Conducted by the Gender Research Centre at the Chinese University, the survey asked 1,013 people how they viewed politicians with different stances on sexual minority rights between August 3 and 15.

The research team also distributed online questionnaires on the same topic to 997 people who see themselves as non-heterosexual.

The survey found that taking a pro-gay-rights stance would not lead to a significant loss of public support as 76 per cent of the general public surveyed said they would either view such candidates positively or that their stance did not bother them.

Gay rights still on the agenda, says new Hong Kong equality chief Alfred Chan

Close to 93 per cent of the sexual minority respondents also said they would support a pro-gay-rights politician.

By contrast, politicians who oppose gay rights would lose significant support among sexual minorities as well as the general public.

Over half of general public respondents and 92 per cent of those from sexual minorities said they viewed anti-gay-rights politicians negatively.

Seventy-five per cent of the sexual minority respondents also said they would not support a politician who refused to declare their stance on equal gay and lesbian rights.

“Politicians might not have to fear such a strong public backlash ... for supporting equal rights for lesbian, gay and bisexual people,” the report said.

Meanwhile, 25 Legco election aspirants, including the Labour Party’s Cyd Ho Sau-lan, People Power’s Raymond Chan Chi-chuen and Demosisto’s Nathan Law Kwun-chung, were crowned “LGBT-friendly candidates” on Wednesday after they agreed to back all eight demands raised by a coalition of gay rights groups.

They included legalising same-sex marriage and enacting a law against discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation.

The 14 LGBT concern groups sent out questionnaires to all election hopefuls in a bid to understand their stance on several key gay rights issues. But just 39 responded, with Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee from the New People’s Party being the only one from the Beijing-friendly camp.

Brian Leung Siu-fai of the Big Love Alliance said it was encouraging to see that a growing number of aspirants now cared more about LGBT rights, though the attitude of the pro-establishment camp was disappointing.

“The Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, the Liberal Party and the Business and Professionals Alliance have all made their stance against same-sex marriage clear in election forums as well as in their campaign pamphlets, yet no candidate from these parties bothered to get back to us,” Leung said.

For a full list of candidates, please see http://multimedia.scmp.com/legcocandidates/