HK needs to stop hiding its homophobia behind contradictions and confusion


Likening sexuality with morality, and this has become an excuse for blatant discrimination. This needs to stop

Cyril Ip |

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There’s a statement that’s often declared by the self-righteous and self-declared “non-discriminatory” conservatives – that they “do not mind gay people”, which is closely followed by “as long as they do not display affection in public, because that has a negative influence on children”.

“I do not mind”, which means accepting circumstances as they are, is a sort of “conditional acceptance”.

In other words, homosexuality can be tolerated if it is never celebrated or embraced, and never understood as positive or normal. Conservatives would then decide the dos and don’ts for gays, which heterosexuals have the privilege to not adhere to.

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Labelling homosexuality as a “negative influence”, and yet tolerating it, is self-contradictory. Society should eliminate what is wrong and harmful to the common good and rightfully so; pro-government legislators, on the one hand, determine homosexuality as negative and damaging to society, while on the other hand, preach their counterfeit “I don’t mind” attitude. This is ironic because the “I don’t mind” statement is a camouflage that protects homophobes from revealing their true nature, which is in fact discriminatory.

Hong Kong confuses sexuality with morality; sexual orientation with crime. On the RTHK programme The Pulse, legislator Priscilla Leung Mei-fun said that same-sex marriage “opens a floodgate [to] the existing monogamous marriage” and is in itself a “polygamous system”. Leung equating homosexuality with polygamy is no different to the Crimes Ordinance equating gay sex to crime (before it was determined unconstitutional by the Court of Final Appeal in 2007). It is easy to penalise homosexuality when conservatives falsely associate it with values that contradict public morals, such as polygamy and bestiality.

The bottom line is, accepting homosexuality has nothing to do with legalising polygamy and bestiality – this confusion is totally unnecessary.

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The act of “gay sex” was only legalised in 1991; the unequal age of consent for gay men and heterosexuals were only made the same in 2006; lesbianism remains undiscussed. Hong Kong recently took a step backward as a anti-gay-rights group, the Family School Sexual Orientation Discrimination Ordinance Concern Group, successfully pressured the government into moving 10 children’s books with LGBT themes to the “closed stack sections” in public libraries. The Leisure and Cultural Services Department refused to explain the reason behind the decision.

The American news site, Huffington Post, recently reported the story of a university student from Hong Kong who sought help from conservative Christian groups after realising he was gay. The advice he received was “stop watching porn, look ‘macho’, and avoid spending time alone with other boys”. In this instance, homosexuality is not regarded as immoral, but a curable illness or a changeable decision.

Hong Kong is comparatively ahead of Asian countries such as Singapore and Malaysia, where homosexuality is outlawed. But our continued false association of homosexuality with immorality and sinful acts will inevitably set back the progression of LGBT communities and the reformation of human rights – that may be the objective of anti-gay-rights groups, but certainly not that of most Hongkongers.

Edited by M. J. Premaratne

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