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Taiwan

Why Taiwan LGBT vote must not make Hong Kong lose heart on gay rights

  • Hong Kong and China are officially non-religious, so why would the Hong Kong government acquiesce to religious values?
  • Our identity, or our pursuit of the right to love, is not defined by other people’s votes
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 27 November, 2018, 1:12pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 28 November, 2018, 5:52pm

Yes: it is discouraging to see the LGBT community in Taiwan lose its reference battle on the passing of same-sex marriage laws (“Taiwan’s image as LGBT beacon hit by same-sex marriage rebuff”, November 25). But, if I may extend a word of encouragement, I genuinely think our identity, or our pursuit of the right to love, is not defined by other people’s votes. Even if the majority do not agree with us or join us in our fight, the LGBT community can still live proudly in this new era.

In the past, we would be too embarrassed to attend gay pride parades – we would be heckled by bystanders. But society is progressing: more than 20 countries in the world have legalised same-sex marriage, and more people are embracing this new idea, respecting our identity and even encouraging our pursuit of our rights. Still, although gay sex has been decriminalised in India and is legal in Vietnam, for example, not a single country in Asia has legalised same-sex marriage, probably for fear of infuriating religious and conservative groups.

However, as legislator Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee has pointed out, the concept of marriage as the union of a man and a woman is a Christian belief, not a traditional Chinese custom. Hong Kong and China are officially non-religious, so why would the Hong Kong government acquiesce to religious values but not protect the rights of the LGBT community?

The LGBT community includes many people of calibre, including artists, doctors and lawyers, not to speak of our openly gay lawmaker Raymond Chan. If they feel excluded or discriminated against in our society and decide to leave for more liberal jurisdictions, the loss of talent would hinder social progress.

John Yau, Kwun Tong