Turnout doubles for gay pride march

An estimated 5,200 marched through the city centre to demand rights for sexual minorities

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 10 November, 2013, 6:01am
UPDATED : Sunday, 10 November, 2013, 6:01am

It has been on a slow boil, but support for sexual minorities is on the rise in Hong Kong if the turnout for the fifth staging of the Hong Kong Pride Parade is anything to go by.

Organisers estimated 5,200 people took part in the march to government headquarters in Admiralty this year, more than double the number two years ago. Police estimated 4,500 took part.

Equal Opportunities Commission chairperson Dr York Chow Yat-ngok led the parade, following a giant rainbow flag as it weaved down Hennessey Road followed by buff boys with angels' wings and transgender women striking poses for the cameras.

The parade halted trams at one of the busiest intersections of Causeway Bay, with passengers taking pictures or looking irritated at the delay.

Video: Thousands join Hong Kong Pride Parade to support sexual minorities’ rights

"LGBTs [lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people] face discrimination at home, in education, in the workplace and in social circles. Hong Kong should move ahead, and I hope you can influence everyone in society to move forward," said Chow, addressing the crowd gathered at Victoria Park.

The ex-health secretary is pushing for the discrimination laws to cover sexual minorities, and has said change, though it might take time, was inevitable.

"We have to be visible," said Lee Faulkner, a 52-year-old actuary and internet radio operator. "Hong Kong is a tolerant place, but scratch the surface and it's not a tolerant place."

Faulkner also addressed the city's legislators, telling them Hong Kong was losing out economically by making it difficult for same-sex couples to bring their partners to the city. "You're missing out on talent," he said.

He expressed confidence in Chow, but called Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying "weak" and "without initiative" for staying silent on the issue.

The pro-establishment Liberal Party approached people during the event to sign a petition opposing gay marriage.