Gay Olympics: HK leaders label event ‘disgraceful’

Politicians have been warned for their biased views of the international event and the LGBTQ community

Gay Olympics: HK leaders label event ‘disgraceful’

Hong Kong’s leaders have been feuding over the upcoming Gay Games 2022 or Gay Olympics, and some politicians have been warned for their biased views of the LGBTQ community.

The city will be the first in Asia to host the international sports and cultural event but some leaders believe the government shouldn’t offer their support as it’ll suggest their approval of same-sex marriages. The union remains illegal in HK.

Lawmaker Priscilla Leung said the event might even “tear apart society”. Another legislator called the event “disgraceful”. One urged the government to stop supporting the event entirely as it’ll anger various religious and family-oriented groups.

Read more: Asia ‘at a crossroads’ in fight for LGBTQ+ rights

The heated debate began when lawmaker Regina Ip urged the government to support the game’s organiser as they have been experiencing difficulties in finding event venues. Ip made the case that it’ll help maintain the city’s metropolitan image and boost the economy, reported South China Morning Post.

Fellow politician Junius Ho shot down the idea and said that it’ll be akin to taking “dirty money”. “We respect people with different sexual orientation,” Ho said. “Whatever you do in your room, it’s your own business. But if you do it in public, it’s disgraceful.”

Ricky Chu, chairman at the Equal Opportunities Commission fought back against the clear LGBT bias. “Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill,” he said in a local radio interview. “All people can participate in the sports event and it is completely different from advocating same-sex marriages in the city.”

He added that leaders’ inflexible attitude “will only bring more harm than good” to HK. “The Gay Games is a public event in which everyone can participate, regardless of your race, sex or sexual orientation,” he said. “We hope society can stop the stigmatisation and uphold the values of equality and respect.”

The Gay Games is a global event founded in San Francisco, US in 1982 with aims to promote unity and diversity. In 2017, HK was announced as the host city for the latest event. The games is currently supported by organisations like the Equal Opportunities Commission and the HK Tourism Board.

Read more: Japan passes landmark ruling on LGBTQ discrimination

While there are some protections for LGBTQ individuals in HK, such as some anti-discrimination laws around employment and the right to change legal gender. There is still limited recognition of same-sex couples and marriage remains illegal for now. This affects their access to benefits and entitlements as compared to heterosexual unions, including at work.

Despite the lack of laws, some multinational companies based in HK continue to support LGBTQ staff and offer the same perks to all to uphold a culture of inclusivity. Currently, Taiwan remains the only city in Asia that legally recognises LGBTQ marriages.

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