Yesterday, Hong Kongers marked the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) in preparation for a soon-to-be-released ‘climate report’ into the cultural state of affairs for the LGBT community in HK. Over 100 people gathered in Chater Garden, Central dressed in black to give a ‘final burial’ to homophobic and transphobic bullying.
The city often plays ‘catch-up’ with the rest of the democratic world in that 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. The ongoing debates still raging in Hong Kong plant our city firmly in the 1970s.
Saturday’s event was supported by Amnesty, Mr Gay HK and local law firm Vidler & Co which have been fighting for gay rights in HK for decades. (Even freedom-hating Regina Ip temporarily displayed some human compassion and gave her approval).
The next event will be street forum called ‘Who Stole our LGBTQI Movement?’, held at Times Square this coming Thursday, 17th, at 7pm. The organisers welcome volunteers: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Facebook event.
- IDAHOT 2012 website and Hong Kong version.
- Time Out article on transgendered Hong Kongers.
- Gay Star News Report from yesterday.
- Wikipedia – LGBT rights in HK (includes corporate List of Shame).
IDAHO 2012 International Campaign
The main goal of the annual campaigns is to combat homophobia. What’s more, each year the choice of a theme aims to raise people’s awareness of a particular issue. The objective of the campaign “Sexual diversity in the workplace. It pays off!” is to:
- Promote the idea that fighting homophobia in the workplace is profitable for companies, institutions and employers;
- Help gays, lesbians and transgender people reach their full potential in the workplace;
- Motivate more workers to stay in local towns instead of fleeing to big cities because of their sexual orientation;
- Inform and raise the awareness of all workers and employers about the consequences of homophobia;
- Encourage employers to adopt policies that discourage homophobia in their workplace;
- Make LGBT workers feel even more included in the businesses they work for;
- Motivate people to start LGBT committees in the workplace, for example Workplace Pride Committees and LGBT Committees in labour unions.
The sorry state of affairs in Hong Kong, via Wikipedia.
Hong Kong’s LGBT community…