4000 people including openly gay legislator Raymond Chan Chi-chuen joined Hong Kong’s annual gay pride event on Saturday.
HK remains years behind other ‘world cities’ with regards to LGBT rights. Homosexuality was only legalised in the 90′s and the age of consent was only equalised for gay couples in 2006 (despite opposition from Donald Tsang). In 2008, a judge upheld a ruling against RTHK for broadcasting a programme about homosexuality which failed to give air-time to homophobic counter viewpoints. And until as recently as 2009 , co-habiting gay couples were not recognised in the Domestic Violence Ordinance.
Meanwhile, anti-discrimination laws remain flimsy. Same-sex marriage and civil unions are illegal and sex changes are not recognised by the state. Just last week, legislators voted against a motion urging the government to consult the public on new laws to protect the rights of sexual minorities whilst 27% of citizens surveyed believed gays should “keep their views to themselves”. Much of the local opposition to gay rights has been fanned by the right-wing Society for Truth and Light (who have been quite rightly described as the SAR’s “moral Taliban”.)
The ongoing debates still raging in Hong Kong plant our city firmly in the 1970s. Heroic human rights lawyer, Michael Vidler, stated that “Hong Kong needs to keep pace with worldwide social trends and developments in protecting human rights if it is to remain a world city.”
Shots by Flickr user H.L.Tam…