Singer and LGBTI ac­tivist An­thony Wong Yiu-ming on not be­ing an icon

Singer An­thony Wong Yiu-ming is a de­fi­ant voice for LGBTI rights in Hong Kong. He fa­mously came out in 2012, on stage in the mid­dle of a con­cert. Ahead of Pink Dot, he talks to Xavier Ng about com­ing out and why he speaks up for mi­nori­ties.

HK Magazine - - PAGE 3 -

I was born this way. I didn’t have to join the LGBTI com­mu­nity or be­come part of it. I’ve been part of it since I was born. It’s not a life­style choice.

Most peo­ple know about me com­ing out in my con­cert in 2012, but to my friends and fam­ily, I was out long be­fore that. Many of my songs di­rectly or in­di­rectly ref­er­ence LGBTI is­sues.

To me, com­ing out in pub­lic was just a small step, but to many oth­ers it might be a big one.

I de­cided to take the step be­cause there are still peo­ple in so­ci­ety who think [be­ing gay] is an is­sue.

I wanted to de­mys­tify it, and I wanted to use the sim­plest lan­guage to tell ev­ery­one on stage, once and for all.

I think my com­ing out has changed some peo­ple’s minds [to­wards the com­mu­nity].

I didn’t re­al­ize this small step could have such a big ef­fect.

I’m glad I made the de­ci­sion to come out that night.

For a pub­lic fig­ure to walk on stage to tell ev­ery­one he’s gay... the im­pact is very dif­fer­ent from peo­ple just as­sum­ing you’re gay.

I founded BigLove Al­liance in early 2013. Back then we were fight­ing for the leg­is­la­tion of the Sex­ual Ori­en­ta­tion Dis­crim­i­na­tion Or­di­nance (SODO), but the govern­ment de­cided it wasn’t ur­gent and they didn’t need to put it for­ward for pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion. The govern­ment is con­don­ing dis­crim­i­na­tion against sex­ual mi­nori­ties.

That’s why a few of us de­cided to form BigLove Al­liance, hop­ing to be a pres­sure group to push for­ward top­ics about sex­ual mi­nori­ties and the LGBTI com­mu­nity.

We are fu­ri­ous be­cause this had been de­layed for so many years al­ready, and there is so much bla­tant dis­crim­i­na­tion hap­pen­ing out there in so­ci­ety.

So­ci­ety has been mov­ing for­ward. Back then our Pride pa­rades were very small.

But in the past few years, there have been a lot more peo­ple join­ing and they are no longer shy about it.

We’ve also started Pink Dot, and there are a lot more events for the LGBTI com­mu­nity in Hong Kong.

Peo­ple are not afraid to step out and show they are mem­bers of the LGBTI com­mu­nity—they may not be com­ing out on stage, but one or two decades ago peo­ple wouldn’t even want to par­tic­i­pate in pub­lic events that would im­ply they were gay.

The most im­por­tant thing is that there are non-LGBTI peo­ple will­ing to join us and par­tic­i­pate in our events like Pink Dot and Pride Pa­rade. We call them our straight al­lies.

Re­search shows that so­ci­ety is very ac­cept­ing to­wards the LGBTI com­mu­nity.

Even on more spe­cific is­sues such as same-sex mar­riage, sup­port is very high amongst young peo­ple.

You can tell so­ci­ety is chang­ing, but the govern­ment has to take the lead and make laws to give sex­ual mi­nori­ties the rights they de­serve.

Hong Kong is in such a com­pli­cated state right now and it’s chang­ing so quickly. I don’t know what will hap­pen next year.

But as long as we’re united, it will grad­u­ally get bet­ter.

I think that I, as a pub­lic fig­ure, have cer­tain re­spon­si­bil­i­ties.

I’ve been out­spo­ken be­cause I think this is a gift from above.

I have the plat­form, I have the crowd base, so I should uti­lize it. Not ev­ery­one has that.

I’ve never thought about be­ing a “gay icon,” be­cause it’s not im­por­tant to me. I don’t do what I do to be an icon.

As long as I think it’s the right thing to do, I’ll do it.

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