Hong Kong’s think­ing pink. Are you on board?

HK Magazine - - FRONT PAGE -

It’s here! Sun­day, Septem­ber 25 marks the third edi­tion of Pink Dot HK, a cel­e­bra­tion of di­ver­sity in sup­port of LGBTI com­mu­ni­ties in Hong Kong and all over the world. This year’s theme, “Love Wins,” is a re­minder that in the end, love re­ally can con­quer all. We take a look at other places around the world where, de­spite of­ten enor­mous odds, love is win­ning. By David Vet­ter, Xavier Ng and Adam White. Il­lus­tra­tions by Kay Le­ung

China

Ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity was de­crim­i­nal­ized in China in 1997. Since then, the Peo­ple’s Repub­lic has seen grad­ual progress to­wards a wider ac­cep­tance of LGBTI is­sues, though more in the so­cial arena than the le­gal. This year, 27-year-old Meng Fanyu was voted the first ever Mr Gay China in the first suc­cess­ful it­er­a­tion of the com­pe­ti­tion in the coun­try. A sur­vey sug­gests that of the 27 mil­lion users of Blued, China’s largest gay dat­ing app, less than 5 per­cent are out.

Q: What are the main chal­lenges of be­ing gay in Chi­nese so­ci­ety?

A: I would say the big­gest dif­fi­culty in the re­gion would be the un­even pro­tec­tion across China for the rights of LGBTI peo­ple, which are part of the hu­man rights of ev­ery Chi­nese cit­i­zen. Hong Kong and Tai­wan fare a bit bet­ter in terms of equal pro­tec­tion un­der the law. How­ever, there are still lapses. Hong Kong still lacks leg­is­la­tion to ban dis­crim­i­na­tion based on sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion and sex­ual iden­tity.

— Ray­mond “Slow Beat” Chan, Hong Kong’s first and only gay leg­is­la­tor

Nepal

The Hi­malayan na­tion is now con­sid­ered a world leader in its ap­proach to LGBTI is­sues. The abo­li­tion of the monarchy in 2007 paved the way for new laws that le­gal­ized ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity. Nepal took an­other leap for­ward in 2015, with the in­tro­duc­tion of a con­sti­tu­tion that, among other things, en­shrines in law the right of Nepalis to dis­play their pre­ferred gen­der on their iden­tity cards, as well as pro­vi­sions against dis­crim­i­na­tion on grounds of gen­der or sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion. Nepal is also the home of Su­nil Babu Pant, who in 2008 be­came the first openly gay mem­ber of par­lia­ment in Asia, serv­ing un­til 2012.

Q: What’s the next step for trans ac­cep­tance in Hong Kong?

A: Our next step should be to re­view the cri­te­ria of gen­der recog­ni­tion laws. Trans peo­ple who de­sire dif­fer­ent de­grees of bod­ily mod­i­fi­ca­tion should be treated equally. I also hope that gen­der boxes will not be a re­quire­ment to un­der­stand a per­son. Ev­ery­one, no mat­ter how they iden­tify them­selves, should be treated equally—just as hu­mans.

— Si­u­fung Law, gen­derqueer body­builder and ad­vo­cate

Viet­nam

While Viet­nam lacks strong anti-dis­crim­i­na­tion leg­is­la­tion, the coun­try has taken no­table strides in the di­rec­tion of equal­ity. It lifted a ban on same-sex mar­riage in 2015, though not grant­ing the same le­gal pro­tec­tions given to het­ero­sex­ual cou­ples. Also in 2015, Viet­nam adopted new laws en­shrin­ing the rights of trans­gen­der peo­ple. In June this year, Viet­nam was one of seven Asian coun­tries that voted in sup­port of a UN res­o­lu­tion on the pro­tec­tion of LGBTI in­di­vid­u­als.

Q: What are your hopes for trans rights in Hong Kong and South­east Asia? A: Anti-dis­crima­tion and gen­der recog­ni­tion leg­is­la­tion, as well as mar­riage equal­ity, are the top pri­or­i­ties for trans rights in Hong Kong and in South­east Asia. And yet I hope that dis­crim­i­na­tion can be elim­i­nated through more un­der­stand­ing, rather than leg­is­la­tion.

— Joanne Le­ung, Chair­per­son, Trans­gen­der Re­source Cen­ter

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