Gay Hong Kong News & Reports 2011

| Tuesday, February 1st, 2011 | Comments Off on Gay Hong Kong News & Reports 2011

1 Hong Kong NGOs to campaign against homophobic bullying in schools 1/11

2 Hong Kong’s theatre pushes wider the closet door 2/11

3 Lies, damned lies and government surveys 2/11

4 Survey: 46% of gay men are ‘proud’ or ‘very free’ 3/11

5 Queer Bangkok 3/11

6 Survey: 46% of gay men are ‘proud’ 3/11

6a Hong Kong police interrupts IDAHO rally, programme cut short 5/11

7 The Courage Unfolds Campaign 5/11

7a Joey Leung: The Queer Show 6/11

8 Hong Kong government hires ‘gay cure expert’ 6/11

9 In Hong Kong, a quiet advance for gay rights 7/11

10 Hong Kong’s Pink Season, Sep 30 – Dec 4 8/11

11 Hong Kong To Launch Asia’s Biggest LGBT Festival 9/11

12 But what about Pride? 9/11

13 Sexual Orientation Conversion Advocated by Govt. 10/11

14 Thousands March For Gay Rights In Hong Kong 11/11



24 January 2011 – Fridae

1
Hong Kong NGOs to campaign against homophobic bullying in schools

by Nigel Collett
With Mr Gay Hong Kong Heihei Yau as the ambassador for the ‘Tongzhi Tsai’ (Junior Tongzhi) campaign, the Boys and Girls Clubs Association (BGCA) and Tongzhi Community Joint Meeting (TCJM) are gearing up to address the issue of homophobic bullying and the use of ex-gay reparative therapy literature in schools.

Fighting back against homophobic bullying in schools has been a lonely and dispiriting task till now for the Hong Kong NGO, the Boys and Girls Clubs Association (BGCA). They raised this issue almost alone and initially unnoticed once they started to realise there was a problem that had so far not been recognised in Hong Kong’s schools and so which no one had so far addressed. In July 2009, they conducted an online survey which found alarming levels of homophobic bullying in schools accompanied by a complete lack of any institutional protection for the students suffering from it. They released the results to the press that year, to little notice. You can read detail of their findings in the article Fridae.com carried on 13 August 2010, ‘Hong Kong NGO fights homophobia in schools’.

The BGCA were alarmed enough by what they had found to make them determined not to give up the issue, so set out to raise awareness of the problem by mounting a series of showings of the film Prayers for Bobby in a major Hong Kong cinema in June and July 2010. At that stage, the leader of BGCA’s Project Touch, CY Chau, who was leading their effort, reached out to the Hong Kong LGBT alliance, the Tongzhi Community Joint Meeting (TCJM), which immediately saw the need and took up the issue, deciding to make it their major campaign for 2011.

The TCJM appointed a task force led by Barry Lee, the TCJM’s Treasurer and a figure well known in the Hong Kong LGBT community for his long service in the Hong Kong AIDS Foundation. Aided by Brian Yeung, the TCJM’s Joint Chinese Secretary, and others, Barry committed TCJM resources to further research and planned a programme of activism and lobbying that will unroll this year.

The BGCA survey of 2009 had sought views and comments from students alone, so the task force believed that the next step was to gather supporting information from teachers. An online survey was placed on the TCJM website (you can find it at http://tcjm.org/surveys, where the survey will close at the end of January). It is intended that this, with the original student survey of 2009, will enable the team to attract the interest of one of Hong Kong’s university departments to fund an academic study that will give a published, peer-reviewed report that can be used in lobbying Hong Kong’s Legislative Council (Legco), the Government and the public.

The task force took up the issue last year with Hong Kong’s Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC), and found considerable support from its new Chairperson, Mr Lam Woon-kwong, who, though having no statutory powers to take up the matter (Hong Kong has no legislation yet against discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender) offered his support. Mr Lam has already started to speak in public on the issue and has indicated in his statements that he would like to see the EOC empowered to protect bullied students (for more on Mr Lam, see below).

Read article



7 February 2011 – Fridae

2
Hong Kong’s theatre pushes wider the closet door

by Nigel Collett
Fridae.com‘s Hong Kong correspondent, Nigel Collett meets Clifton Kwan, writer, producer and star of forthcoming Hong Kong show, It’s Oh So Queer.

Bjork has never ceased to amaze, and she’s been doing it for quite some time now. Back at Christmas, 1995, she released "It’s Oh So Quiet", her sort-of-Broadway take on Betty Hutton’s old song "Blow a Fuse", and the odd amalgam of run-down sleazy locations with stereotypical musical routines made it to Number Four in the British charts. So maybe it’s not too surprising that Clifton Kwan has adapted the title of her song for the name of his new show, It’s Oh So Queer, which will run at the Shau Kee School of Creativity Multi Media Theatre between Feb 11 and 13. I went to meet Clifton between rehearsals at the Hong Kong Arts Centre to find out about him and his production, and found his choice of title did not indicate any attempt to emulate the strangeness of his titular inspiration!

I should have guessed that he was likely to be both talented and have his head screwed on the right way, of course, as this is his third show. He’d managed to pack all his houses for the first two, both productions of his own drama, Singles in Love, which ran for six shows in the Sheung Wan Civic Centre in July 2010. His second production There’s A Kind of Hush, which was shown in Sai Wan Ho Civic Centre, followed in September last year. The show was about friendship, but touched briefly on gay life, for its main character, a woman, falls for a guy who’s been the boyfriend of another lover. That show, like his present one, included Clifton in a starring role in which he sang as well as acted (he sings in the new show, too, singing the theme song for which he’s written the lyrics).

Now he’s gone for a full-on approach to a gay theme, which is almost as clear from the show’s Chinese title, My Simple Life, as it is from the English, for the Cantonese word for ‘simple’ is a pun on ‘gay’. Its main character, Jeremy, played as before by Clifton himself, finds that gay single life is not simple at all and the show runs the audience through the whole gamut of the issues that affect it in Hong Kong: politics, work, relationships, feelings, religion, the whole lot. Some of it, though Clifton won’t reveal which parts, is what he’s gained from his own experience and those gay men among us who will have the chance to see the show will recognise much that they can relate to in their own lives. It’s Clifton’s intent that Jeremy’s life to show up a lot of the stupidities of straight life, for instance the failure of many heterosexuals to understand anything about gay men’s lives and the contortions many gay men have to go through to cope with this. There’s a good deal that’s touching in the show, and this all may sound very serious, which it isn’t, for there’s plenty of humour as well to lighten the theme.

The stage is where Clifton has always been heading, though he didn’t get there in a bee line. He is Hong Kong-born but was educated in Vancouver from the age of ten, so he has a distinct Canadian burr to his voice. He studied at the University of British Columbia, wanting all along to go into the theatre, but his family saw this as a career mistake, and it was not until he worked as a radio and TV host in Vancouver for five years that his life began to change in a direction he could be happy with. Radio brought him out of himself and he learned how to work with people from all walks of life, including showbiz. He became a make up artist (his interest in make up is still evident from the advertising for his new show) and came back to Hong Kong in 2004. There, he freelanced until 2007, watching the burgeoning Hong Kong drama scene and wanting all along to be a part of it. That year, Hong Kong’s ex-DJ and multi-media personality Missy Hyperbitch invited Clifton to help out with a Cantonese musical theatre production she was mounting, and he has never looked back. Three years later, his own first show was staged.

This rapid trajectory has brought Clifton into the ranks of a select but growing number of live performers who have started to open up the issues of gay life to Hong Kong’s clearly unfazed and increasingly appreciative audiences. Openly gay actor Joey Leung has starred four times in Alvin Wong Chi-lung’s Queer Show since it was first staged in 2004 and has reprised the role in several of Alvin’s other productions.

Cabaret singer Rick Lau has been singing to us almost every year about gay love since he first came back from Australia to sing in Sunrice in Hong Kong in 2006. The trio of Frankie Ho, Pichead Amornsomboom and Tony Wong gave us the incredibly flamboyant gay musical Homo Superus twice in 2007. Last year, Derek Wong gave us his take on coming out as a Chinese gay man in the States in his one man show My Very First Time. It’s remarkable to see the genre expanding so.

The only problem for the linguistically-challenged in Hong Kong is that almost all of this is in Cantonese. Clifton has not been able this time to produce English supertitles for the show. It’s a real bug-bear in Hong Kong that the cutting edge of theatre is often veiled from the non-Chinese part of the community because there are no resources for translation. It’s something the Hong Kong Government really could do to help out with not a very large expenditure. The irony is that the Government’s Leisure and Cultural Services Department often stages these shows in its own venues and even sponsors some of them. Translation would bring these shows to an international audience; at present they are trapped in Hong Kong. Clifton himself, though, has no problem with putting his show into English, and has plans to do so in future. English speakers can only look forward to his doing so.

It’s Oh So Queer shows at Shau Kee School of Creativity Multi Media Theatre on Friday, Feb 11 to Sunday, Feb 13 at 8pm and on Saturday, Feb 12 to Sunday, Feb 13 at 3pm. Tickets are available for HK$150 and HK$190 at Urbtix outlets and here.



14 February 2011 – Fridae

3
Lies, damned lies and government surveys

by Nigel Collett
Fridae.com’s Hong Kong correspondent, Nigel Collett, discusses a disturbing survey report by the Hong Kong Women’s Commission.
On 23 November last year, the following report appeared online on the M&G News site:

Survey: Majority of Hong Kong people does not accept homosexuality
More than seven out of 10 Hong Kong people regard homosexuality as unacceptable in society, according to a social survey released Tuesday.

Homosexual relationships were unacceptable, 72.4 per cent of respondents said in the survey of 3,000 people. Only 8.5 per cent of men and 13.7 per cent of women said they could accept homosexuality in society. Among people aged 18 to 34, 22.6 per cent of women and 11.8 per cent of men said homosexuality was acceptable. Around 65 per cent of people in that younger age group said homosexuality was unacceptable. The survey by the government-funded Women’s Commission shows stubbornly traditional views on personal morality in the city, where many gays keep their sexual orientation secret from their families.

This report was prompted by a press release which had emanated a few days before from the Women’s Commission (WoC), a QUANGO (quasi-autonomous non-governmental organisation) established by the Hong Kong Government, according to their website, to enable women in Hong Kong to fully realise their due status, rights and opportunities in all aspects of life.

Between February and May 2010, Policy 21, a subsidiary of Hong Kong University, acting as consultants for the WoC, had carried out a survey in which 3,000 women and men were interviewed face-to-face (with a response rate of 66%) to answer the question: What do Women and Men in Hong Kong Think About the Status of Women at Home, Work and in Social Environments? Innocuous enough, one might think, as were the vast majority of the survey’s reported results. But one paragraph of the English survey results, Paragraph 3.5, was anything but. It said:

Same-sex relationship was still generally unacceptable in the society
3.5 Concerning the acceptability of homosexuality in the society, over 70% (72.4%) of persons said they found homosexual relationship unacceptable. More women (13.7%) than men (8.5%) accepted homosexuality, but they were still a minority. A relatively higher proportion of those who indicated acceptance of homosexuality were in the younger age group of 18-34 years old. Among them, more women (22.6%) than men (11.8%) expressed acceptance. This notwithstanding, 66.8% of males and 64.1% of females in this age group indicated that they did not accept homosexuality.

For those with knowledge of the recent history of the Hong Kong Government’s policies towards the LGBT community, this survey result was alarming. The Government continues to refuse publicly to implement the obligations it undertook when it signed a series of UN human rights conventions, obligations which include enacting legislation to outlaw discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. It does this because, it claims, there is no consensus in Hong Kong society for such reform, and it bases its views upon survey results and the mound of anti-LGBT hate mail it receives from the religious right. Apparently, here was yet another piece of ammunition for the Government and opponents of the LGBT community to use to deny the latter its rights.

Read article



2 March 2011 – Fridae

4
Survey: 46% of gay men are ‘proud’ or ‘very free’ living as a gay man in Hong Kong

by Nigel Collet – Fridae.com’s Hong Kong correspondent, Nigel Collett, examines Leo Burnett’s recent survey of the Hong Kong gay community’s spending power and attitudes about being (openly) gay.

The mythical power of the pink dollar has ironically always been as hard to quantify as it is to escape the nowadays almost ubiquitous attempts by the commercial world in Hong Kong to take advantage of it. Sky-high black bodies wearing Calvin Klein underwear gaze down from Central’s high-rise buildings or from the massive billboards that help while away the time for those stuck in the Cross Harbour Tunnel jam. The approach is now so common that when metrosexuality in magazine and TV ads slides over into homoeroticism scarcely anyone notices.

Yet until now, the minority of retailers who have aimed at the pink dollar have maintained a wall of silence about what is clearly one of the major features of their campaigns. So much so, that when Erman Akinoi, a young American documentary film maker with GS Productions, came up from KL at the end of 2008 to make a film about the commercial search for the pink dollar in Asia, he was stonewalled and eventually had to give up the project. The shyness, presumably, is for fear of what a firm’s other customers will think if brought face to face with marketing reality. The lack of openness, though, has till now prevented advertising agencies from being able openly to focus their clients’ campaigns on the lucrative segment of the market. It makes, in short, no commercial sense.

Kara Yang is the Executive Planning Director for Southern China for the worldwide advertising giant Leo Burnett (creator, amongst many other things, of that archetypal homoerotic symbol, the Marlboro Man). Their Hong Kong client list is like a Who’s Who of the business world. Kara has long seen the opportunity here staring her in the face and last year she decided to do something about it. The result was an online survey conducted between 22 October and 1 November 2010, which revealed the first ever statistics about the commercial power of the gay community. I went to see her at Leo Burnett’s Cityplaza offices, accompanied by Jasmine So of the PR firm PR People Consultancy that handled the publication of the results for Leo Burnett.

I asked Kara why she had been interested in the subject at all. “I’ve got loads of gay friends”, she replied (I discovered when I met her that Kara is a highly glamorous, classically attractive and very smart Hong Kong Chinese woman who is a power in her business, so I was not surprised by this at all!).

“I know how they spend their money and in my job I know that no marketer is openly targetting them. Leo Burnett brands itself as a ‘HumanKind Agency’, a company that looks at people from every perspective, including the emotional, and yet this was one area that we hadn’t got covered. The gay community was a segment of the market that no one was looking at. I wanted to put it in the spotlight.”

The closeted nature of the business world meant that there was never going to be any upfront money for this, so Kara went out to the LGBT community’s own resources to do it for free. Aside from getting word of mouth out through her own large list of contacts, Kara partnered with the Chinese-speaking part of the gay community through the online LGBT radio station, Gayradio.hk, and with the English-speaking side through Fruits in Suits. With these two organisations getting the word around, Kara got 396 respondents in the short time the survey was online. The results this gave her were backed up by eight in-depth interviews with eight volunteers.

So, maybe not a huge total of respondents, and critics of the survey might point to the fact that much of the gay community that is not in touch with Gayradio.hk or Fruits in Suits was not reached. Hong Kong’s fragmented gay ‘community’ is such only in theory, though, and there is no way anyone has yet devised of reaching out to more than a small part of it; would that there were. Yet the numbers were enough, from Kara’s professional perspective, to give her meaningful results that she could use to persuade clients to take an active interest in the gay segment of the market.

Read article



March 2011 – Hong Kong University Press

5
Queer Bangkok

21st Century Markets, Media, and Rights
Edited by Peter A. Jackson
Queer Asia Series

Queer Bangkik

"The myriad faces of Thai gender/sexuality culture have been an attraction for both pleasure-seekers and researchers/scholars/activists. Exploring the rapidly changing LGBT cultures and Thai queer identities, the essays collected here provide insightful analyses of historical continuities as well as developing variations within the highly complex erotic/economic texture of Thai society." — Josephine Ho, National Central University, Taiwan

– Analyses the roles of the market and media — especially cinema and the Internet — in the transformations of Thailand’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender/transsexual (LGBT) cultures.
– Considers the ambiguous consequences that the growing commodification and mediatization of queer lives have had for LGBT rights in Thailand.
– Traces Bangkok’s emergence as a central focus of an expanding regional network linking gay, lesbian, and transgender communities in other East and Southeast Asian societies.

Peter A. Jackson is professor of Thai cultural studies in the Australian National University’s College of Asia and the Pacific.

Hong Kong University Press
The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong
Tel: (852) 2552 4789
E-mail
Website



2 March 2011 – Fridae

6
Survey: 46% of gay men are ‘proud’ or ‘very free’ living as a gay man in Hong Kong

by Nigel Collett
Fridae.com’s Hong Kong correspondent, Nigel Collett, examines Leo Burnett’s recent survey of the Hong Kong gay community’s spending power and attitudes about being (openly) gay.The mythical power of the pink dollar has ironically always been as hard to quantify as it is to escape the nowadays almost ubiquitous attempts by the commercial world in Hong Kong to take advantage of it. Sky-high black bodies wearing Calvin Klein underwear gaze down from Central’s high-rise buildings or from the massive billboards that help while away the time for those stuck in the Cross Harbour Tunnel jam. The approach is now so common that when metrosexuality in magazine and TV ads slides over into homoeroticism scarcely anyone notices.

Yet until now, the minority of retailers who have aimed at the pink dollar have maintained a wall of silence about what is clearly one of the major features of their campaigns. So much so, that when Erman Akinoi, a young American documentary film maker with GS Productions, came up from KL at the end of 2008 to make a film about the commercial search for the pink dollar in Asia, he was stonewalled and eventually had to give up the project. The shyness, presumably, is for fear of what a firm’s other customers will think if brought face to face with marketing reality. The lack of openness, though, has till now prevented advertising agencies from being able openly to focus their clients’ campaigns on the lucrative segment of the market. It makes, in short, no commercial sense.

Kara Yang is the Executive Planning Director for Southern China for the worldwide advertising giant Leo Burnett (creator, amongst many other things, of that archetypal homoerotic symbol, the Marlboro Man). Their Hong Kong client list is like a Who’s Who of the business world. Kara has long seen the opportunity here staring her in the face and last year she decided to do something about it. The result was an online survey conducted between 22 October and 1 November 2010, which revealed the first ever statistics about the commercial power of the gay community. I went to see her at Leo Burnett’s Cityplaza offices, accompanied by Jasmine So of the PR firm PR People Consultancy that handled the publication of the results for Leo Burnett.

I asked Kara why she had been interested in the subject at all. “I’ve got loads of gay friends”, she replied (I discovered when I met her that Kara is a highly glamorous, classically attractive and very smart Hong Kong Chinese woman who is a power in her business, so I was not surprised by this at all!). “I know how they spend their money and in my job I know that no marketer is openly targetting them. Leo Burnett brands itself as a ‘HumanKind Agency’, a company that looks at people from every perspective, including the emotional, and yet this was one area that we hadn’t got covered. The gay community was a segment of the market that no one was looking at. I wanted to put it in the spotlight.”

The closeted nature of the business world meant that there was never going to be any upfront money for this, so Kara went out to the LGBT community’s own resources to do it for free. Aside from getting word of mouth out through her own large list of contacts, Kara partnered with the Chinese-speaking part of the gay community through the online LGBT radio station, Gayradio.hk, and with the English-speaking side through Fruits in Suits. With these two organisations getting the word around, Kara got 396 respondents in the short time the survey was online. The results this gave her were backed up by eight in-depth interviews with eight volunteers.

So, maybe not a huge total of respondents, and critics of the survey might point to the fact that much of the gay community that is not in touch with Gayradio.hk or Fruits in Suits was not reached. Hong Kong’s fragmented gay ‘community’ is such only in theory, though, and there is no way anyone has yet devised of reaching out to more than a small part of it; would that there were. Yet the numbers were enough, from Kara’s professional perspective, to give her meaningful results that she could use to persuade clients to take an active interest in the gay segment of the market.

Read article

 



16 May 2011 – Fridae

6a
Hong Kong police interrupts IDAHO rally, programme cut short

by Raymond Ko
The Hong Police interfered in last Sunday’s International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) rally, cutting the programme short. Police say the organisers were not in possession of a permit for the dance performances but organisers say other similar events didn’t require one. Raymond Ko reports
On the afternoon of Sunday, May 15, a dance performance at the seventh annual International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) rally in the busy commercial district of Causeway Bay came to an end midway after organisers were told by the police that they did not have the required license.

Over a hundred supporters dressed in pink – this year’s colour theme – and many more onlookers were gathered for the event. The theme of this year’s rally was ‘Born This Way’, with the aim of promoting equal rights for all, disregarding sexual orientation or gender identity. The event opened with speeches from LGBT activists and some Hong Kong luminaries, including legislator Cyd Ho Sau-Lan and Hong Kong Equal Opportunities Commission’s (EOC) Chairperson Lam Woon-Kwong.

“I am wearing black, not pink today, to reflect my sadness in the face of the inequalities faced by LGBT people in Hong Kong,” said Ho, founder of the political party Civic Act-up. “The EOC may not have much statutory power, but we pledge to fight for an anti-discrimination bill for LGBT persons,” said Lam, a long-term supporter of LGBT rights. The speeches were followed by a dance performance by Dancing Angels, who commenced their act twirling and waving to "All Because of You" a Canto-pop hit by Cass Pang.

The performance was suddenly cut short when the Chairman of the IDAHO Organizing Committee, Reggie Ho, stepped forward to announce: “The police have requested us to stop the performance as we do not have an entertainment licence.” The crowd booed. “We are going to respect their decision, as Hong Kong is the land of the rule of law,” said Reggie Ho. “However, we want you (the police) to know that what we are doing here is to fight for equal rights for all, including your rights.”

The police said that the group did not have a ‘Temporary Places of Public Entertainment Licence’, and that therefore the dance performance was not allowed. Ho told Fridae that the police had in fact watched a rehearsal of the dance performance right before the event started, and did not mention that the organisers were not in possession of a valid license to stage the show. As a result of the interference, the programme of the event was dramatically cut short, with the 20-minute art performance cut down to less than five minutes. A 10-minute sing-along was also scrapped. The remaining activities, including the taking of photos of couples and the tying of pink ribbons to a symbolic ‘wishing tree’ went ahead as planned.

The rally had, from the start, met with a heavy police presence and the police video-recorded the proceedings on the stage before the dance performances began. The video recording equipment was withdrawn after the dancing stopped, though six to seven police officers remained at the site. “This is over-policing. Your presence is an act of intimidation, and violates our right to freedom of speech. Please withdraw,” argued solicitor Michael Vidler. This was to no avail.

“It is strange that the police should prohibit LGBT people from expressing themselves through dance. This has not happened with other events I know of, such as gatherings promoting racial tolerance, in which ethnic dances were performed. I think this is an infringement on our freedom of speech. We shall certainly look into this incident,” commented Madeleine Mok of Amnesty International, one of the organisers.

Her comment was correct; all LGBT public events held so far in Hong Kong have included some form of celebratory performances, and none have so far been similarly banned. In fact, Amnesty International Hong Kong had a rally in Kowloon at the same time, which included music and dancing but did not require a license. Ho acknowledged in an interview with Fridae that when organisers were applying a "notice of no objection" for the rally, the police told the organisers they "might" need a performance license.

“But we felt that it was more for events of much larger scales and actual entertainment purposes, not for a 20-minute segment of dancing to convey an anti-discrimination message. That view has been echoed in the press by legislators James To and Cyd Ho. And because there were rallies with music and dance before without such a license and there were never any problems, we went ahead without. It was only when the police turned up with camera during the event that they told us that they were acting on Chapter 172 Places of Public Entertainment Ordinance.”

Despite the police interference, attendees thought that the rally had achieved its aims. “I saw many pedestrians stopping by to see what this was about. I think that will help to spread the message of equality to the wider public,” said Brian, an attendee. One participant even thought that the police interference was helpful to the cause: “This act of suppression only helps to bring people together. This event has really helped to build a bridge of communication and cooperation between different LGBT groups in Hong Kong,” said Anshuman Das. The seventh IDAHO rally was organised by the following groups and organisations: Amnesty International Hong Kong, Gay Harmony, Rainbow of Hong Kong, Tongzhi Community Joint Meeting, and Transgender Resource Centre.



May 17, 2011 – IGLHRC

7
The Courage Unfolds Campaign

The Courage Unfolds Campaign calls for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people to be protected by law, respected by society, and accepted by family. It is a call for the use of the Yogyakarta Principles as a tool to ensure the respect, protection and promotion by governments of the human rights of all people – including LGBT people. This set of international legal principles addresses the application of international law to human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

To achieve this goal, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) is asking activists, LGBT groups, human rights defenders, and concerned citizens to join the campaign. As central to this campaign, IGLHRC’s Asia Program has produced a documentary film – Courage Unfolds – highlighting the issues faced by LGBT people in Asia and how the Yogyakarta Principles are a relevant and effective tool that LGBT activists can use in their advocacy for human rights.

Learn: Learn more about the Yogyakarta Principles and LGBT activism in Asia by watching the Courage Unfolds documentary

Share: Tell your friends and community about this Campaign and how they can join you. Share your actions with us and others on IGLHRC’s Courage Unfolds Map.

Act: Screen Courage Unfolds, hold a rally, a training or a community event, write about using the Yogyakarta Principles, or petition your government to address violence and discrimination against LGBT people.



15 June 2011 – Fridae

7a
Joey Leung: The Queer Show

by Raymond Ko
Seven years after it was first performed, Joey Leung and Alvin Wong’s The Queer Show, which is playing from July 14-24, has became a landmark in the Hong Kong’s comedy scene. Raymond Ko of Fridae.com talks to Joey Leung about his show and his life.
For the past seven years, The Queer Show (???) has moved numerous Hong Kong audiences, both gay and straight, to laughter and to tears. In this deeply conservative society, The Queer Show has offered a rare opportunity for the straight to laugh with, not at, gay men, while allowing the gay one of the few chances they get to see images of themselves on stage. Immensely popular and always sold out, the show’s fifth production will be performed this July in Hong Kong.

Beginnings
Above and top of page: Joey Leung. ‘The Queer Show’ will be performed in Cantonese (without English subtitles due to cost concerns) at the Lyric Theatre at the Academy for Performing Arts, Hong Kong, from the 14th to 24th of July.
The Queer Show began in 2003, when Alvin Wong and Joey Leung first started to collaborate. “Alvin hated stand up comedy,” says Joey. “He thought it was neither funny nor touching. To break this mode, we set out to create a solo-comedy about life as a gay man, with a plot and distinctive characters. The writing process went like this: I would give Alvin some ideas, and he would write them into a scene. It would be immediately rehearsed. Afterward Alvin would adjust the script, and we would repeat the process until it was perfect.” The show was first performed in August 2004 and quickly achieved critical acclaim. In 2005, Joey won the award for best comedy actor at the 14th Hong Kong Drama Awards for his performance in show.

The Pioneer
At the time, The Queer Show was the first main-stream drama to portray a gay leading character. It was not easy for Joey and Alvin to take the first step. “Some relatives and friends tried to talk me out of doing it, for fear that the publicity would hurt my mom”, Joey tells me. ”But when I talked to her, she was totally supportive. And after she saw it, she said it was her favourite of all my shows.” Speaking of his experience with the mass media, Joey says: “I don’t mind identifying myself as a gay man, but on the other hand, I don’t want my sexual orientation to define my acting. One newspaper reporter put ‘Explosive: Joey Leung says he is gay’ as the headline of an article that was supposed to be about the show. I was really angry, because it hurt my mom.”

“It is important to maintain the distinction between the character and the actor,” Joey believes. And the actor is certainly different from his characters. Eating in the RTHK Canteen, where the interview takes place, Joey Leung is confident, personable and thoroughly ordinary – a long way from the bitchy starlet in flamingo-pink he portrays on stage.

The Show
The main plot of The Queer Show revolves around three stages of gay life – first, when gay men are susceptible to the heart-pounding, eye-wetting variety of gay love; second, the unrelenting pursuit of sexual adventure, then third, the emotional settlement that follows. The show is also interspersed with light-hearted portrayals of various gay and straight characters – for example, of the much loved starlet ‘Gay Michael’, and of the long suffering mothers of gay men. “The script has not changed much over the years, because it was already well developed from the beginning. We have only updated the jokes a bit, to make use of current news. But that doesn’t mean that the show hasn’t changed. For one thing, I am now older and in a relationship with a different man (compared to how I was when the show first started). My acting of seven years ago was very different from now.”

The play aims to explore the love and sorrow of gay men in Hong Kong. Is comedy a suitable medium to handle such grave topics? “Why not?” said Joey. “Entertainment and artistic quality are not mutually exclusive. I like the mixing of genres – in The Queer Show I try to balance the more serious and lighter elements. Also, comedy is a good way to prepare the audience for an emotional climax,” he adds.

Read article



17 June 2011 – PinkNews

8
Hong Kong government hires ‘gay cure expert’

by Staff Writer, PinkNews.co.uk
Hong Kong’s government has hired a ‘reparative therapy’ expert who says gays can be cured. Psychiatrist Hong Kwai-wah has been taken on as a trainer for the government’s social welfare staff, AFP reports. Mr Hong is chairman of the New Creation Association, which says the wishes of gay people who want to become straight should be respected.

The group’s website says it aims “to help people struggling with homosexuality and diffuse their inner dilemmas, rewire their mental state as well as propagate the belief that homosexuals can change”. Treatments reportedly include cold showers, prayer and abstinence. It is not known how much Mr Hong is being paid.

Gay activists held a protest outside the Social Welfare Department today, accusing the government of “criminalising” gay people. In response, the Social Welfare Department said it had invited gay rights campaigners to speak at past sexual identity seminars and that “knowledge from multiple perspectives [is] essential for social workers … to address specific needs of service users.” The department added that it would “continue to adopt an open and impartial attitude” in staff training and professional development.



July 15, 2011 – Asia Times

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In Hong Kong, a quiet advance for gay rights

by Kent Ewing
Hong Kong – While gay activists in this conservative city of 7.1 million people have for years struggled, mostly in vain, to win equal rights and legal protections for homosexuals, immigration officials have been quietly handing out special "relationship visas" for partners of gay professionals coming from overseas.
The stark contradiction has, of course, met with protests of a double standard among the local gay community. In the end, however, rights granted now on the sly to only a relative few high-flying gay executives will inevitably trickle down to their local counterparts. As with trickle-down economics, however, those waiting for tangible improvement in their lives are, understandably, growing impatient.

Anti-discrimination legislation protecting gays in the workplace and in public life, now commonplace in much of the West, is still a long way off here, and recognition of gay marriage even farther away. But, thanks to Hong Kong’s relentless pursuit of its economic interests – which includes attracting the best foreign talent to the city, no matter the color, creed or sexual orientation of that talent – the agenda of the city’s increasingly vocal gay community is on the advance, albeit slowly.

Although city officials only begrudgingly accept it, Hong Kong hosts an annual gay-pride parade, but that usually features campy displays of homosexuality, often garbed in provocative pink, that mostly serve to reinforce local stereotypes and prejudices. And gay-rights organizations such as Horizons and the Hong Kong Ten Percent Club have been up and running for more than 20 years. In all that time, however, victories – both legal and attitudinal – have been few and far between.

It wasn’t until 1991 that Hong Kong’s Legislative Council (Legco), then under British rule, acted to decriminalize consensual sex between men, although the legislation set the age of consent at 21 (while it remained 16 for heterosexuals) and ignored lesbianism altogether. In 2005, Hong Kong’s High Court ruled the higher age of consent for gay men unconstitutional, and a government appeal of that ruling – spearheaded by Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, a devout Catholic – failed in 2006. So the age for consensual sex for both heterosexuals and gay men in Hong Kong is now 16, but the legal invisibility of lesbianism continues.

Legco has also enacted equal opportunity legislation. Despite the increasingly visible presence of gay life in the city – in the form of gay nightclubs, gay beaches, gay pride parades and even a gay film festival – sexual orientation is not covered by these laws. In 2006, RTHK (Radio Television Hong Kong) – an independent public broadcaster modeled on the BBC – aired a controversial documentary called Gay Lovers, which prompted a stream of complaints from viewers who felt that it encouraged a homosexual lifestyle. Acting on those complaints, the Broadcasting Authority censured RTHK for showing a program that was "unfair, partial and biased towards homosexuality" and that had the effect of "promoting the acceptance of homosexual marriage".

Two years later, however, after one of the gay men featured in the documentary launched a legal challenge, the High Court overturned the authority’s ruling, saying that it was not necessary to include anti-gay views in the program in order to honor broadcasting guidelines of equal time and fair play. Moreover, in 2009, after prolonged sessions of wrangling laced with homophobic asides, Legco voted to include same-sex cohabiting couples in landmark legislation aimed at preventing domestic violence.

While the city’s gay community celebrated these recent victories, their enthusiasm was tempered by larger legislative failures to protect their rights. RTHK may feel free to air programs about gay life and battered gay lovers can now take their abusive partners to court, but employers can still fire workers because of their sexual orientation and gay relationships remain a social taboo and a legal nonentity. Unless you happen to be a gay expatriate with professional skills that Hong Kong needs to keep its competitive edge. Even in this case, however, recognition is limited and provisional.

Read article



31 August 2011 – Fridae

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Hong Kong’s Pink Season, Sep 30 – Dec 4

by Nigel Collett
It’s a bumper crop of events including the Mr Gay Hong Kong pageant, Flotilla, HK Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, Gay Day @ Disney for Hong Kong’s first LGBT festival – an unprecedented collaboration between local LGBT groups. The pride parade will be held Nov 12 after a hiatus last year but organisers say they do not wish to be included in the line-up for now.

Hong Kong has been lagging behind. Not something it likes to acknowledge usually, of course, but in the case of its lack of a gay festival Hong Kong has allowed other cities to steal a march on it. If you look around the region, Hong Kong is beginning to stick out like a sore thumb (if that is possible for something not there at all!). Across the straits in Taiwan, there have been growing and internationally very successful festivals of some sort as far back as 1997, when Taipei held its first Gay Pride Festival; its pride parade or carnival, launched in 2003, has by now become the largest in Asia with 30,000 participants and attendees, usually in late October every year. Singapore founded its Indignation festival in 2005 and has had the by now hugely successful Pink Dot since 2009. Over the border in the Mainland, Beijing has had sporadic LGBT festival events since 2005 and Shanghai, though with difficulty, kicked off a Pride Week in 2009.

Now, though, there are encouraging signs that Hong Kong is getting its act together. This month, the Tongzhi Community Joint Meeting (Hong Kong’s alliance of LGBT groups, the TCJM) announced the birth of The Pink Season, a festival of LGBT events to link many of those already happening in Hong Kong and to stimulate and create more. The idea is to build on what already exists to provide a focus for the local LGBT community’s calendar and to attract tourists from across the world.

The Pink Season 2011 kicks off on 30 September. This may be seen by some as a trifle premature, for when the constituent events were planned no one had thought of a season, so they are all very widely spread about the calendar, indeed as late as 4 December. What happened was that when the TCJM and the key event organisers approached the Hong Kong Tourist Board they had not expected more than a guarded acknowledgement of the season’s existence, and that it would be 2012 that would see its start date. Instead, they found that the Tourist Board were much more enthusiastic than that, and in effect pressed everyone to go ahead this year so that they could observe the events and then, if all went well, include them in their calendar for 2012. So ahead they decided to go. ‘Pink Season organisers hope the city’s authorities realise the tremendous potential this festival has in terms of attracting tourists from all over the world,’ comments Season Coordinator, Anshuman Das.

The Pink Season will be headed up by ‘Mr Pink’ aka DJ BLing aka Brian Leung, radio presenter of RTHK’s We Are Family programme, founder of Hong Kong’s first gay netcast Gaystation and moderator of the gay dating service Member2.com. Brian is one of the best known figures in the Hong Kong gay community, so a great choice for the Season’s public face. He’ll be backed up by The Pink Season Coordinator, Anshuman Das, AD to all who know him, who’ll be the man shouldering most of the day-to-day work for the festival. AD is the TCJM’s webmaster and leader of communications, and he heads up an already growing team of volunteers.

Read entire list



08 September 2011 – Pink Season

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Hong Kong To Launch Asia’s Biggest LGBT Festival this September – Pink Season

Pink Season, Hong Kong’s first ever and Asia’s biggest LGBT festival kicks off on 30 September. It is an unprecedented collaboration between local LGBT organizations and artists over a 2.5-month period. The Pink Season schedule covers the Electric Pink music party, the glamorous Mr. Gay Hong Kong pageant, Floatilla – Party at Sea, Out in the Open

The All Inclusive beach carnival, Gay Day @ Disneyland plus the solidly established HK Lesbian and Gay Film Festival. Organizers are still planning for more activities with local artists and organizations, while looking to add a distinguished speaker series, plays, dance shows, painting exhibitions, and much more. Mr. Pink, Brian Leung (from RTHK’s “We are family”, aka DJ Bling), Ambassador for Pink Season, is confident the festival will provide a good platform for local talent to showcase their work to an international audience and demonstrate LGBT community’s contribution to Hong Kong.

Aiming to attract tourists from all over the world, the Pink Season hopes to garner support from the HKSAR government, the local population and LGBT-friendly establishments and become a force for positive development for the LGBT community.

Get The latest on the Pink Season here
Pink Season welcomes the press for enquiries, interviews and information requests, please write to us



28 September 2011 – Time Out Hong Kong

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But what about Pride?

by Arthur Tam
The anticipation is rising for the arrival of Hong Kong’s Pink Season. But there’s one event missing that sticks out like a sore thumb. As we went to press, Pride Parade 2011 was not an event listed on Pink Season’s calendar.
The essence of any pride celebration is typically epitomised by a successful parade. “It attracts supporters from all around Asia and, as of now, it has been the only pride parade for mainland Chinese,” says Pride committee organiser Connie Chan of Hong Kong’s parade.

Our first-ever Pink Season gives an international brand name to a list of events in Hong Kong. So with both parties riding on the same boat, it seems like it would be a win-win situation for the two worthwhile groups to share resources and cross-promote each other. But not so. According to the Pride Parade organisers, they haven’t been able to schedule a formal meeting with the Pink Season organisers. “We have a responsibility to our supporters and their donations,” says Pride Committee organiser Waiwai. “We cannot enter into any agreement without a sit-down meeting – we require this from all of our partners,” she says. She adds that the group ‘welcomes Pink Season’.

Anshuman Das, the representative for Pink Season, responds: “All the information has been sent to the Pride Committee; they knew of Pink Season since its conception in 2010. I have tirelessly tried to get together with the Pride Parade Committee. I am very close with many members on the committee and my heart goes out to them and the work they have done for the LGBT community. I welcome them to join Pink Season.” Despite both sides claiming to welcome each other, an agreement has yet to be made. And with Pink Season set to launch this fortnight, a co-operative effort looks unlikely – for this year at least. It’s a shame, but we hope that Pink Season and the Pride Parade can work out their differences for a bigger and better celebration next year.



27 October 2011 – Global Voices

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Hong Kong: Sexual Orientation Conversion Advocated by Government

by Oiwan Lam
Sexual Orientation Conversion Therapy (SOCT) attempts to change the sexual orientation of a person from homosexual or bisexual to heterosexual. It is a very controversial practice in many countries as it reproduces prejudices against sexual minorities; mainstream medical and scientific organizations consider it potentially harmful.
Nevertheless, in June 2011, the Hong Kong Government Social Welfare Department took the initiative to invite the Chairman of Christian SOCT organisation New Creation, Dr Kong Kwai Wah, to train the department’s social workers in ”converting” their young clients’ sexual orientation.

The move has outraged the LGBT communities in Hong Kong. A coalition, Tongzhi Community Joint Meeting, was formed to launch a global petition campaign against the Hong Kong government: We are shocked and enraged, that the Hong Kong government invited Dr Kong Kwai Wah, the Chairman of New Creation and an advocate of reparative therapy, to train the staff of the Social Welfare Department in dealing with gay clients. Reparative therapy has been widely rejected by professionals as unethical, discriminative, unscientific and potentially harmful. The introduction of such “therapy” infringes the professional ethics that objects discrimination. Furthermore, it might have potential harms to clients.

We urge the Hong Kong government to apologize, and cooperate with the LGBT community and professionals, to provide its staffs with diversity training and issue concrete guidelines, to ensure that its service is scientific, professional, ethical and truly responsive to the need of LGBT community.

More than 20,000 signatures have been collected. In addition, a solidarity protest led by LGBT Asian American groups took place in New York back in August 2011:
At the same time, local LGBT groups issued a press release accusing the Social Welfare Department of violating the Guidelines on Code of Practice for Registered Social Workers, the World Health Organization‘s position on sexual orientation, the Hong Kong Bill of Rights, the Convention of the Rights of the Child, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, Guidelines on Sex Educations in Schools issued by the Curriculum Development Council of HKSAR, the Code of Professional Conduct by Medical Council and the Chinese Classification of Mental Disorders.

However, the Social Welfare Department denied that the seminar had anything to do with sexual orientation conversion and local right wing Christian group Truth-light [zh] also defended the government and accused the LGBT activists for over-reacting and twisting the purpose of the seminar.

Read complete article here



November 13, 2011 – On Top Magazine

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Thousands March For Gay Rights In Hong Kong

by On Top Magazine Staff
More than 2,000 people marched in Hong Kong’s Gay Pride Parade on Saturday, the AFP reported. The crowd marched through the city center demanding greater rights in what is considered one of the safest regions in Asia for LGBT people. “We are here today because we want the society to know who we are and we hope they don’t discriminate against the LGBT community,” Mic Au, a 21-year-old student, told the AFP.
“I hope the government will enact laws that ban discrimination against homosexuals, at workplace or at school,” she added.

While homosexuality was officially decriminalized in 1991, Hong Kong has not enacted laws barring discrimination against gay men and lesbians or recognizing the unions of gay couples. The military bans gay troops and there is no right to legally alter a person’s gender. However, activists at the parade said progress was being made. “Hong Kong is much more progressive than the rest of Asia, the LGBT groups are getting more prominence here,” said Goki Muthusamy, who moved from Singapore to Hong Kong three months ago.

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