UPCLOSE: ALEX SEE

HK Magazine - - CULTURE -

Alex See is one of the forces be­hind The Har­mon­ics, an LGBTI and ally choir that per­forms at LGBTI events and even churches around the city. He chats with Jes­sica Wei about the choir, the gay com­mu­nity in Hong Kong and how to be a bet­ter ally.

HK Mag­a­zine: How did The Har­mon­ics get their start?

Alex See: The Har­mon­ics was founded in Au­gust last year by a group of eight peo­ple from Out in HK. At the be­gin­ning, they just thought they would gather to­gether, do some­thing with mu­sic—un­til they had to per­form at a fundrais­ing event for AIDS aware­ness. I joined shortly be­fore the per­for­mance. With that per­for­mance, we knew that we’d be a sing­ing group. The di­rec­tion and iden­tity was formed, and we be­came a choir.

HK: What kind of mu­sic do you per­form?

AS: We sing pop mu­sic and mu­si­cal show­tunes: Mainly pos­i­tive, up­lift­ing fun mu­sic. Some of the songs talk about in­jus­tice, but ev­ery sea­son we have a dif­fer­ent theme. We’re just a year old, so we’re ex­per­i­ment­ing a lot and learn­ing from other choirs, like the Pink Singers in Lon­don. We learned that each year has two sea­sons, and each sea­son has a theme. At this point, our theme is “Sing as One.”

HK: How is the at­mos­phere dur­ing re­hearsals?

AS: One of main rea­sons we sing as a choir is to cre­ate a sup­port­ive and safe en­vi­ron­ment for LGBTI peo­ple and al­lies. I think we’ve been do­ing a re­ally great job of that. The re­hearsals are re­ally fun. We also have peo­ple who have just come out, or are still in the closet, who have come to join us. Then they make friends and they feel like they have a sup­port sys­tem.

HK: Are there other sim­i­lar groups in Hong Kong?

AS: Most of the peo­ple think that the LGBTI com­mu­nity all re­volves around drink­ing and dat­ing apps. But re­cently, there have been more or­ga­ni­za­tions like Out in Hong Kong, Out Run­ners, and us. Lots of peo­ple in the com­mu­nity want more va­ri­ety.

HK: How large is the LGBTI com­mu­nity in Hong Kong?

AS: I started to help with the or­ga­ni­za­tion of the choir in De­cem­ber. If you’d asked me this ques­tion be­fore this, I would have said that Hong Kong is a small place, ev­ery­one knows ev­ery­one, and the com­mu­nity seems re­ally small and there are only a hand­ful of bars. But the more I get in­volved with com­mu­nity work, I’ve re­al­ized that there are lots of peo­ple who don’t go to the bars. When we per­form at some events, I only know 10 out of 200 peo­ple there. I think this is why this kind of work is needed: We need to reach out to peo­ple who don’t go out or so­cial­ize with other LGBTI peo­ple.

HK: How can peo­ple in Hong Kong be bet­ter al­lies to the LGBTI com­mu­nity?

AS: Af­ter hav­ing helped or­ga­nize the choir, I’m more com­fort­able with my sex­u­al­ity. I’ve started to talk about it with peo­ple who are not in the LGBTI com­mu­nity. I’ve re­al­ized that a lot of peo­ple don’t re­ally know what the LGBTI com­mu­nity is. Of course, it de­pends on their age, ed­u­ca­tion and whether or not they have LGBTI friends them­selves. Peo­ple are just re­ally un­in­formed. Just talk­ing about it openly helps the com­mu­nity.

In­ter­ested in join­ing The Har­mon­ics? Send them a mes­sage at face­book.com/the­har­mon­ic­shk

The Har­mon­ics

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