Gay right movement in Hong Kong

LGBT right movement has developed slowly in the past few decades aftermath of the decriminalization of homosexuality in the 19th century. Although civil rights and civil liberties are stipulated and safeguarded by Basic laws, the scale of gay right movements is still relatively small and its history is short compared with other political and social movements. The first official LGBT pride parade was recently organized in 2008 with only 1200 participants joined the event. (Community Business 2010) Although the event is hold yearly and become more famous, social response is not great, with the number of participation rise slowly from 2000 in 2009 to 4000 in 2012. (SCMP 2012) Given homosexuality is decriminalized and protestors are free to exercise their freedom of expressions and assembly, the comparatively low participations may implied the great social pressure and intolerance of homosexuality that deterred homosexuals from disclosing their sexual orientation and calling for their rights blatantly in the allies. The intolerance is reflected in the recent findings of The Hong Kong LGBT Climate Study 2011-12 (Community Business 2012), which said that nearly half (47%) do not disclose their sexual orientation towards family members (figure I)and a majority of employees do not open their sexual identity to clients, boss and colleagues.(figure II) with the concerns of being decriminalized and unaccepted.

LGBT_not open at workplace.jpg 1.jpg Source of information: Hong Kong LGBT Climate Study 2011-12 Media Briefing (2012) Available:

LGBT communities emerge under the protection of freedom of assembly and organization:
There are a number of LGBT concerns groups which are calling for rights and equal opportunities of the sexual minorities. Given the freedom of organization and assembly were well protected in Hong Kong, these groups actively holding gay rights activities, delivering educational publications, providing medical checks and counseling. The LGBT right groups are active in online, they open Facebook pages and operate forums which create great platforms for LGBT to interact and speak out their rights.

LGBT Organiziation and gay right groups in Hong Kong:228482_214868728541163_7306012_n.jpgWC.jpg 578701_421110417935628_1454297616_n.jpg 60789_147694718605411_6557314_n.jpg 528163_301479879925113_1227637985_n.jpg
Freedom of speech and press lead to diverse opinions of LGBTFreedom of speech and press are safeguarded by Basic Laws so far. Freedom of media is deteriorating because of the self-censorship of press in content subversive to the reputation of government. (Moriarty, 2007) However, it seems that the content being self-censored are mostly political. Coverage of gays rights issues such as the anti-discrimination laws on sexual orientation and parades are objectively presented without noticing any signs of bias in reporting. Besides, LGBT organizations and gay rights advocates are free to operate their websites, register as officially-recognized organizations, and express opinions in both printed and non-printed media without confronting to any suppressions. At the meanwhile, opponents like some religious groups, can freely express their views on sexual minorities and opposition to the enactment of anti-discrimination laws as well. The decriminalization of homosexuality and freedom of speech has provided free platforms for both advocate and opponents of LGBT to express their opinions and thus facilitate rational discussion and ideas exchanges on the issue.

Restricted freedom to the choice of marriage partners and deprivation of civil rightsThere is no law legalizing same-sex marriage in Hong Kong. Given the legitimation of same-sex marriage is not recognized by laws, same-sex couples without a legalized marital status, are often excluded from legal protections and public goods adhered to heterosexual marriage such as accessibility to public housing and benefits of taxes for marriage partners. (Community Business 2010) Many LGBT couples like gay right advocates Roddy Shaw, get married in a place where same-sex marriage is legalized in order to obtain a recognized marital status.

Limited freedom to disclose sexual identity as a sexual minority under social pressure
Since no anti-discrimination law on sexual orientation is enacted in Hong Kong, discrimination of sexual minorities in public and private sectors are found to be rampant. According to the findings of LGBT Climate Study 2012 (2012), a majority of sexual minorities in the LGBT community tends not to disclose their gender identity blatantly because of the immense social pressure imposed by sexual expectations and sexual norms. These implied that the level of social intolerance towards homosexuality is still high, which impose great pressures on homosexuals to get out of the closet. The followings video recorded some sharing of sexual minorities about their struggles in disclosing their sexual identity in workplace, family and social networks.

Panel Discussion at HK LGBT Climate Study 2012 Launch