Hong Kong Pride Parade organisers expect record crowd, with theme of legal equality for local LGBT community in 2018

  • Event will take place on November 17, with organisers expecting 12,000 marchers
  • Theme highlights all forms of legal equality LGBT community lacks in Hong Kong
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 06 November, 2018, 7:45pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 06 November, 2018, 10:55pm

The colourful costumes, banners, music and marchers of Hong Kong Pride Parade will fill main thoroughfares on Hong Kong Island on November 17, with organisers expecting a record turnout for the event’s 10th year, dedicated to legal equality for the local LGBT community.

This year’s parade comes on the heels of a landmark decision in July by the Court of Final Appeal to grant same-sex partners spousal visas previously available only to heterosexual couples.

Organisers said this year’s chosen theme, “Call for the Law, Equality for All”, looked broadly at all forms of legal equality that the LGBT community was lacking in Hong Kong, starting with a law to ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

“Our main concern or key demand is the anti-discrimination ordinance, but we support all kinds of legal protection for LGBT equal rights,” parade committee member Yeo Wai-wai said on Tuesday.

“We chose ‘for all’ because that means legal protection broadly speaking for LGBT people, like the spousal visa and gender recognition law.”

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In addition to no legal provision for same-sex marriage, Hong Kong has no legislation dedicated specifically to addressing discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex status.

“We get asked all the time why we stay focused on the anti-discrimination clause, when other groups call for same-sex marriage rights,” event organiser Francis Tang Yiu-kwong-yiu said.

“But without the ordinance, we have nothing. This is the main course, everything else is a side dish.”

But Tang said the parade was not all about politics, instead it was a celebration and a platform that people could easily join.

“The pride parade is not only a local community event, it’s an international activity,” Tang said, noting that 30 per cent of participants came from overseas.

“You don’t have other marches like that in Hong Kong.”

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Tang said 12,000 marchers were expected at this year’s parade, up from 10,000 in 2017. About 20 per cent of last year’s participants came from mainland China, with another 10 per cent from Taiwan, Western and Asian countries, organisers said.

Another issue highlighted at the parade would be all-gender facilities, or restrooms and fitting rooms that could accommodate transgender people. A petition would be circulated calling for the expansion of access to such facilities, which currently were only available at a handful of Hong Kong shopping malls, universities and hospitals, according to organisers.

For the first time, the parade, which starts at Victoria Park in Causeway Bay at 2pm and ends at Edinburgh Place in Central, will begin with a worship service and communion, offered by the Blessed Ministry Community Church and Covenant of the Rainbow, a coalition of LGBT-friendly Hong Kong religious organisations.