Alex See of LGBTI choir The Harmonics on the City's Gay Community and Being a Better Ally
Alex See is one of the forces behind The Harmonics, an LGBTI and ally choir that performs at LGBTI events and even churches around the city.
How did The Harmonics get their start? The Harmonics was founded in August last year by a group of eight people from Out in HK. At the beginning, they just thought they would gather together, do something with music—until they had to perform at a fundraising event for AIDS awareness. I joined shortly before the performance. With that performance, we knew that we’d be a singing group. The direction and identity was formed, and we became a choir.
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What kind of music do you perform? We sing pop music and musical showtunes: Mainly positive, uplifting fun music. Some of the songs talk about injustice, but every season we have a different theme. We’re just a year old, so we’re experimenting a lot and learning from other choirs, like the Pink Singers in London. We learned that each year has two seasons, and each season has a theme. At this point, our theme is “Sing as One.”
How is the atmosphere during rehearsals? One of main reasons we sing as a choir is to create a supportive and safe environment for LGBTI people and allies. I think we’ve been doing a really great job of that. The rehearsals are really fun. We also have people who have just come out, or are still in the closet, who have come to join us. Then they make friends and they feel like they have a support system.
Are there other similar groups in Hong Kong? Most of the people think that the LGBTI community all revolves around drinking and dating apps. But recently, there have been more organizations like Out in Hong Kong, Out Runners, and us. Lots of people in the community want more variety.
How large is the LGBTI community in Hong Kong? I started to help with the organization of the choir in December. If you’d asked me this question before this, I would have said that Hong Kong is a small place, everyone knows everyone, and the community seems really small and there are only a handful of bars. But the more I get involved with community work, I’ve realized that there are lots of people who don’t go to the bars. When we perform at some events, I only know 10 out of 200 people there. I think this is why this kind of work is needed: We need to reach out to people who don’t go out or socialize with other LGBTI people.
How can people in Hong Kong be better allies to the LGBTI community? After having helped organize the choir, I’m more comfortable with my sexuality. I’ve started to talk about it with people who are not in the LGBTI community. I’ve realized that a lot of people don’t really know what the LGBTI community is. Of course, it depends on their age, education and whether or not they have LGBTI friends themselves. People are just really uninformed. Just talking about it openly helps the community.