An event in support of victims of homophobia, transphobia and biphobia will be staged from 6:00 – 9:00 pm in Chater Gardens, Central on 17 May by Pink Alliance, the umbrella group representing LGBT people in Hong Kong. Around this event, the Alliance will hold a month of activities promoting equal rights for people of alternative sexuality. Also at this time, the NGO Community Business will hold their annual gala event and award prizes to those commercial organisations supporting LGBT rights. Last year’s winners were HSBC Pride, with finalists Credit Suisse LGBT+ Open Network and Nomura LGBT Network.
Pink Alliance and other Hong Kong LGBT groups such as Hong Kong Marriage Equality, Rainbow Hong Kong and Big Love are campaigning to change a conservative society’s attitudes and for equal rights under the law. Here are some of the things they are seeking to have improved:
- Same-sex marriage is not recognised in Hong Kong. Australia, for example, voted recently about two thirds in favour. A poll by the University of Hong Kong two years ago found 50.4% supported same-sex marriage. In January a High Court judge agreed to hear two challenges to this, but suspended the case to allow a 29-year-old lesbian to present her case for a civil union partnership. Also last June a lesbian known as MK argued at the High Court for her right to equality because she was not allowed civil union with her partner. A hearing on this case is expected shortly.
- Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is not illegal in Hong Kong. It is legal to lose employment or be evicted from a lease simply on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity.
- Transgender rights: earlier this year three transgender people identifying as male lost their legal bid for this to be recognised on their ID cards. Hong Kong recognises transgender persons’ change of gender only if they have the complete range of sterilising operations that are impossible for some who are in bad physical condition.
- Hong Kong does not have:
1) anti-discrimination laws in employment.
2) anti-discrimination laws regarding provision of goods and services.
3) recognition of same-sex couples for tax, inheritance or medical visiting rights.
4) adoption of children by same-sex couples.
5) access to IVF for lesbians and commercial surrogacy for male couples
Since the 1990s LGBT groups have been lobbying the Legislative Council and the Government for equal treatment. Conservatives, many of them Christian, have been opposed, notably Donald Tsang and the current CEO, Carrie Lam, according to gay activists. On the other side many people have come out: Chet Lam, Anthony Wong, Ray Chan Chi-chuen and Denise Ho, to mention a few.
Pink Alliance is now carrying out crowd funding through www.sparkraise.com and seeking digital art, paintings, photos, videos, poetry, “anything” in promotion of the equality cause.
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