HK LGBT pro­test­ers say city lags be­hind in gay rights

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

HONG KONG: Hong Kong’s streets were a sea of rain­bow flags yes­ter­day as pro­test­ers marched in the city’s an­nual gay pride pa­rade to call for equal­ity and same-sex mar­riage.

Around a thou­sand demon­stra­tors pa­raded through down­town Hong Kong, with many com­plain­ing that the city lags be­hind other ma­jor Asian hubs in terms of LGBT rights. “There’s still a lot of room to im­prove, com­pared to Tai­wan and even to Ja­pan,” Carol Yung, a 40-year-old mar­ket­ing of­fi­cer in the mu­sic industry, told AFP.

“Th­ese days they are...al­ready dis­cussing about same sex mar­riage, but in Hong Kong we’re still very far be­hind,” Yung said. Tai­wan, which held a mas­sive pride pa­rade at­tended by nearly 80,000 peo­ple last month, is one of the most pro­gres­sive Asian coun­tries when it comes to ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity, but a bill to make same-sex mar­riage le­gal has been stalled in par­lia­ment since it was first pro­posed in 2013.

Hong Kong’s LGBT com­mu­nity has for years sought a ban on dis­crim­i­na­tion on the grounds of sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion. LGBT is­sues are in the spot­light again this month af­ter com­ments from the city’s Catholic bishop, which an­gered many in the com­mu­nity.

Car­di­nal John Tong, in a let­ter pub­lished Thurs­day, said con­cepts of mar­riage and fam­ily were be­ing “chal­lenged” by what he called “the gay move­ment”. If a Sex­ual Ori­en­ta­tion Dis­crim­i­na­tion Or­di­nance were en­acted, or gay mar­riage le­galised “this would force our so­ci­ety into un­der­go­ing a change that would turn it up­side-down”, Tong said.

In an­other de­vel­op­ment, the judge­ment for a land­mark court case in which a gay Bri­tish woman chal­lenged the gov­ern­ment’s re­fusal to grant her a visa to live in the ter­ri­tory with her part­ner, is ex­pected in Novem­ber. QT, as she is re­ferred to in court, had called the author­i­ties’ de­ci­sion to be “dis­crim­i­na­tory”. She en­tered into a civil part­ner­ship in Bri­tain in 2011 and moved to Hong Kong in the same year af­ter her part­ner was of­fered a job in the city.—AFP

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