The original version of this report was written by Mandy Cheng and published in Hong Kong Free Press (HKFP) on May 17, 2023. The following edited version has been published on Global Voices as part of a content partnership agreement with HKFP.
Sixty percent of Hong Kong people now support same-sex marriage nad believe it should be legalized, according to a joint study published by three universities on May 17, 2023, the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia (IDAHOT). Same-sex marriage remains illegal in Hong Kong.
The new report was jointly issued by the Centre for Comparative and Public Law at the Faculty of Law at the Hong Kong University (HKU); the Sexualities Research Programme at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK); and the Human Rights Law Program at the University of North Carolina School of Law.
The telephone survey has been conducted in 2013, 2017, and 2023. In this year’s poll, the Centre for Communication and Public Opinion Survey (CCPOS) at CUHK questioned 1,551 Hong Kong residents aged 18 and over between January and February 2023.
“It [is] the longest-running research project to track public opinion concerning same-sex marriage using representative samples of Hong Kong residents,” the report said.
The report said that, by 2023, 60 percent of residents surveyed favoured same-sex marriage; only 17 percent said they did not support it, whilst 23 percent were neutral. Meanwhile, in 2013 and 2017, only 38 percent and 50.4 percent of people agreed with same-sex marriage, respectively.
The path toward equal rights
The survey also asked about same-sex couples’ rights in connection to issues including hospital visitation rights, housing discrimination, fatal accidents, and property inheritance.
In 2023, 85 percent of Hong Kong people surveyed said that same-sex couples should have some or all of the rights enjoyed by different-sex couples, up from 73 percent in 2013 and 78 percent in 2017.
Meanwhile, 71 percent of respondents in 2023 said that Hong Kong should have a law to protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation, compared with 58 percent in 2013 and 69 percent in 2017.
“Over the past ten years, the share of Hong Kong people who favour protecting gay and lesbian rights has grown markedly,” the report said.
Government-funded conversion therapy
But as highlighted by Hillary Leung, Hong Kong Free Press reporter on Twitter, the state policies are not following public opinion:
🏳️🌈 Today is #IDAHOT, so it’s as good a time as any to learn that the HK government – under an “equality” scheme – has been funding groups promoting conversion therapy for two decades. My reporting from last month: https://t.co/Ou9PCsAoCk
— Hillary Leung (@hillary_leung) May 17, 2023
Around 10 percent of funds from the Equal Opportunities (Sexual Orientation) Funding Scheme since 2017 have been distributed to groups that reportedly encourage sexual orientation change efforts. A university student who attended one of the conversion therapy funded by the Hong Kong government told HKFP:
They amplified the message that I had internalised growing up: that same-sex attraction was not normal, that it was unnatural, that it was not right.
IDAHOT is observed annually on May 17 to draw attention to violence and discrimination experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex people.