November 10, 2013
(Hong Kong) Dressed in red and rainbow garb, thousands of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, and transgender (LGBT) people and their supporters marched through Hong Kong’s busy streets on Saturday to demand equal rights in society and stop discrimination again LGBTs.
The parade was led by the chairman of the Equal Opportunities Commission, Dr. York Chow Yat-ngok, bearing a roughly 50-meter-long rainbow flag, which represents equal rights for sexual minorities in the society. It took over three hours for the group to complete their parade from the busy streets of Causeway Bay’s Victoria Part to the heart of Hong Kong’s government zone, Admiralty’s Tamar Park.
“Again and again, governments from everywhere are trying to stop us from speaking out, so we must unite and stand together to have our voice,” said one of the organizers, who took to the stage to rouse participants ahead of Saturday’s parade. “Say no to discrimination and no to injustice!”
Thousands of people participated in the parade, including LGBT alliance teams from mainland China. The marchers who later filled Tamar Park held up banners to express themselves, and some wore Brazilian Samba dancing dresses or traditional Chinese costumes.
“We stand for love, we stand for LGBTs” was one of many slogans that could be heard during the parade yesterday.
“Hong Kong has lots of experiences in discrimination. LGBTs face lots of discrimination at schools, the workplace, and families,” Dr. Yat-ngok told the crowds of people before starting the march. “That’s why you should come out and express yourselves.”
Despites sexual discrimination legislation, Hong Kong remains a difficult and challenging place for gays and lesbians to survive. In 2008, an annual Gay Pride parade was established in Hong Kong to encourage homosexuals to come out and express themselves.
Iris Shieh, an event organizer who works for a Christian advocate group called Queer Theology Academy, said that the goal of the march was to raise awareness and encourage more gays and lesbians to come out demanding equal rights.
“This is very important for them [LGBTs]. They can show up and share their experience and express themselves,” said Iris Shieh, adding that the event had also attracted many LGBTs from mainland China, where most of them still hiding their identities.
“What I am doing here is to advocate an end to discrimination against LGBTs. I am wearing traditional Chinese dresses to show that we are the same,” said 25-year-old Liu Ting-Ting, who wore a red Chinese traditional outfit.
Ms. Liu, who is a lesbian advocate for a group called Girl’s Friend from Guangzhou province, added that hundreds of LGBT representatives from mainland China took part in the parade because they do not have any chance to express their identities in China.
“They [government] does not ban our organization from operating, but we must to do it in the underground way. We cannot organize such a big event like here. Some people are still hiding,” she said. “The situation is not good for us, but more people are coming out like us and trying to make their life better. They choose other alternative ways, like marrying gay friends .”