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Hong Kong: Pride Parade 2008 – Celebrate Love

In this coming weekend (13 of December), a coalition of civic groups will organize a pride parade to celebrate diverse love expression. Although Hong Kong is a global city, to organize this parade is not easy at all, the government, public service sector and conservative Christian do not even try to hide their discrimination; at the same time, many progressive social service organizations do not consider sexual minorities as part of the social minority deprived from basic rights and equal opportunities and thus further marginalize the LGBT movement.

Rainbow not Gold Bauhinia

Earlier this week on December 7, a number of gay activists wrapped the Gold Bauhinia, a symbol of Hong Kong SAR, with a rainbow flag to deliver the theme of this year pride parade to the public. Below is a video showing their action and the theme song:

Cybercoffee, a citizen reporter from inmediahk.net and an organizer for the event tells the readers the meaning of the action:

我們今天跑到今紫荊廣場,在這個象徵主權的公共空間內,展示多元的愛情。六色的彩虹旗擁抱金紫荊,喻意香港從過去單一的(只有金色的)經濟價值,添上六色的尊重多元、擁抱差異的美麗色彩。

Today we went to Gold Bauhinia Square, a place signifying the autonomy of Hong Kong, to demonstrate the diversity of love. The wrapping up of the Gold Bauhinia with the colorful rainbow flag symbolizes our intention to transform Hong Kong from a mono-colour (Gold) and a mono-value (economic) society into a diversity of colors and values, including respect for diversity and differences.

Marginalized movement

Choifung organized a series of feature report at inmediahk.net on the pride parade discussing the significance of LGBT movement in Hong Kong. In one of the articles, Yuk Tong (約瞳)points out that LGBT has been very marginalized in the society, as well as in the local social movement circle. In the past few years, gay and lesbian groups have been trying to fight for their rights in equal opportunity, in particular to social welfare protection, such as the rights for gay couple to apply for public housing and to be protected from family violence. However, their demand has been neglected or repressed by other civic organizations and Christian related welfare groups. The writer criticizes that:

以至有教徒政客,為了向上主表示忠貞,努力打壓性小眾權利,主動致電各方團體,要求在十二月八日的家暴條例修訂案中,不支持同性同居伴侶的修訂案得到通過,否則就是「鼓吹」同性婚姻云云。不少團體為怕開罪「米飯班主」,所以難怪同志運動跟其他的民生未能結連,因為他們之間,橫亘着一頭恐同大怪物在中間阻頭阻勢。

Some Christian politicians, in order to show their loyalty towards God, keep repressing the rights of sexual minorities. They even called up civic groups telling them to reject the amendment of Family Violence Bill to exclude the gay couple from the protection. They said that the support of such amendment would be an advocation of same sex marriage. Many organizations, for fear of losing financial support, do not show their support. That's why gay and lesbian movement has failed to connect with other social organizations, as there is a big monster standing between them.

Discriminatory government and public sector

Even the Hong Kong government is discriminatory towards the LGBT, the Leisure and Cultural Services Department of Hong Kong government have openly rejected the organizing committee to use a park in Wanchai as the destination of the parade. And it is even more outraging that the Department suggested the organizers to use a pet park located at the margin of the Wanchai area. Choi fung posts the detail of such discriminatory government act:

1. 貴署早前一直堅持以當天場地須預留給灣仔區議會後備之用為理由,但是灣仔區議會的活動於十二月六日已圓滿結束,場地已空置下來,然而貴署又以場地繁忙、要留給香港市民作球類活動之用,拒絕我們的申請。在此請問一聲,香港的同志不是香港市民嗎?香港的同志不應與其他的香港市民一樣,享有同等的福利、待遇嗎?

1. The department insisted that the park is to be reserved for other Wanchai district council activities, but it is known that all activities had already ended in December 6 and the park is now empty. Then the department said the park is to be reserved for other Hong Kong citizen to use and rejected our application. So LGBT is not part of Hong Kong citizen? Shouldn't we enjoy the same kind of social service in Hong Kong?

2. 貴署一直建議我們在灣仔海濱長廊花園及告士打道花園進行終點集會。然而,海濱花園長廊是狗花園…。此外,告士打道花園活動空間狹小,根本不適宜進行大型的集會活動,貴署的建議,不能不令我們有「請君入甕」的感覺,強烈感到有被侮辱的感覺。

2. The department has been suggesting us to use the park near Wanchai seafront or the part at Gloucester Road as the destination of our parade. However, the seafront park is a dog's park.. The Gloucester Road park is too small for the gathering. The suggestion of the department is like a trap, and we feel insulted.

Apart from the government, the Citi bus company also withdrew from renting of open top bus for the parade. The renting arrangement was made in December 5, but out of commercial consideration, in December 10, the bus company informed the organizer that the company would not rent out the bus. Choifung posts the details:

整件事是「有車不出租」、「有錢不賺」,只以「商業原因」不肯租讓,理由與解釋欠奉。這個因「歧視」而拒絕提供服務的模式不能夠更明顯。做為公共服務機構,我們認為這樣的服務與歧視態度是不可以接受的。

The bus company has the car, but decided not to rent out, they can earn money but decided not to take the business, and their excuse is “commercial reason”, without further explanation. This is an obvious discriminative act. As a public service sector, such kind of attitude and discrimination is unacceptable.


Support and Come out

In respond to such social marginalization, HKFS Social Movement Resource Center circulates a declaration to build a strong alliance for the LGBT movement and invites everyone to join in:

一、為了追求理想社會和美好生活,我們不論性別、不論性傾向選擇,都將義無反顧地投入同志運動。

二、我們不會姑息任何歧視同志的言行,必將迎頭痛擊。

三、性別不只是男女、性傾向不只是同異,在任何公共決策及人際溝通,我們都必須加入其他性別及性傾向的考慮。

四、同志值得驕傲,我們為同志感到自豪。更為全民的同志運動義不容辭。

1. In pursue of a more idea society, regardless of our gender and sexual orientation, we will join the LGBT movement;

2. We shouldn't withstand any form of discrimination and should fight act it;

3. Gender is not just male and female, sexual orientation is not just homosexual and heterosexual, no matter it is public policy or communication, we have to consider the existence of other gender and sexual orientation.

4. the LGBT should be proud, and we feel proud of them. We should be part of the LGBT movement.

Ken, a member of Hong Kong Rainbow, urges his gay brother to come out for making changes:

同志們,要麼一輩子活在別人的指指點點下,扭曲人性,委屈自我,要麼衝出衣櫃,磊落做人,愛得英勇!

無論如何,要知道,光坐著等,等這個社會改變(開明進步),等身邊的家人朋友準備好,接納我們作為同志,這一天是不會到來的。

社會之所以改變,家人朋友之所以能夠正面、全面地認識並接納同志,就是因為一個一個同志主動現身,增加社會大眾對這個弱勢社群的「能見度」!

Brothers, either we twist our natural tendency and live under others’ standard principle, or we have to step out from our closet, be a human, be brave to express our love!

In any case, if we sit here and wait for the society to change, to become enlightened, wait for our family and friends to get ready to accept us, this day will never come.

The reason why the society will change and our family and friends will understand and accept LGBT is because of our coming out, so that they can see this group of minorities!

Midnight Blue, a male sex worker organization, also wants to come out in the society with pride:

我們有男客,他可能是同志,也可能是衣櫃裏的男人, 「躲於失落裏,躲於黑暗不想掛念誰」。哥哥仔發揮出來的情慾輔導和心理治療,就是衝擊着社會對美感、對身體、對異性戀的尺度,與男客在進進退退之間,尋找另一類樂土。

We have male client, he maybe a gay, or a male hiding inside the closet, “hiding in depress and in the dark”. Our brothers, they are therapist on sexual expression, they challenge the standardized esthetics of body and love relation by having fun with male clients.

為客人提供性服務時我們要盡心地做, 「驕傲愛上街」我們也要驕傲地去參與。無論你是賣的、買的,午夜藍作為黎明前的夜色,那種對光明、自由嚮往的夜色,呼籲大家一起邁向驕傲,在12 月13 日一同「驕傲愛上街」,賣出美麗新世界,嫖得快活性福園!

We are devoted to our work, we take pride to participate in this pride parade. No matter you are the one to buy or sell, midnight blue, as a color awaiting for the dawn, urges you to join and be proud of yourself. On 13 of December, to march in pride to a bright new world for sexual freedom.

Say no to sex hierarchy

Ziteng, a woman sex worker organization points out that LGBT helps woman's liberation:

因為同志和性工作者的現身故事正企圖顛覆異性戀霸權中心所建構的社會秩序,只有當我們願意朝向彼此包容和尊重性多元的性權運動,我們才可以讓性少眾之間的差異能夠平等的現身,並將異性戀霸權所建構的二元區分的性論述 —男/女之分、同性戀/異性戀之分、好女人/壞女人之分 —逐漸模糊化。

The come out story of LGBT and sex worker subverts and challenges the social order of the heterosexual hegemony. Only when we can tolerate and respect diverse sex rights movement, and let the sexual minorities come out in equal term, we can disrupt the dichotomy of male / female, homosexual / heterosexual, good woman / bad woman.

Action for Reach, a supporting organization for woman sex workers, points out that sex hierarchy causes violence to sex worker and other sexual minorities:

「替天行道者」以道德之名,對性工作者與同志施暴,雖是個人極端行為,卻也是主流道德價值的扭曲延伸。你我若不態度鮮明地力斥其非,如同當上幫兇;若不停止對性之二分、對「非主流」的性之污名化,也就是一再確立了性階梯的基礎,無異是便利了「衛道之士」對性小眾之負面標籤以至連番追擊,合力將性小眾排在邊緣、壓在底下。

Some people abuse and take violent action against sex workers and LGBT in the name of God and morality. Such extreme act of violence are twisted extension of mainstream moral value. If we don't reject such value, we are complicit in such kind of violence. If we keep on stigmatize minority sexual expression, we are reinforcing the sex hierarchy and help the “moral defender” to label and repress the sexual minorities, exclude them from our society.

The organizing NGO coalition includes Women Coalition of HKSAR, Rainbow Hong Kong, Midnight Blue and HKFS Social Movement Resource Center, together with more than 30 human rights, AIDS concern and sexual minority groups. Event details can be found in the official Pride Parade Website.

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