Hong Kong holds gay pride rally as police ban march

Hong Kong (Pahichan) November 17 – Hong Kong’s gay and lesbian community rallied on Saturday night, bringing drag queens and disco beats to the strife-torn city after police banned the annual gay pride march.

As Taiwan became the first city in Asia to legislate for marriage equality this year, prominent LGBTQ activists in Hong Kong have instead been on the frontline of the democracy movement.

Police only permitted an assembly to be held on the harbourfront.

Jimmy Sham, convener of the Civil Human Rights Front which organised marches that drew 1 million people onto the streets in June, was there on crutches.

Sham, who is gay, was in hospital after being attacked by thugs. He said it was disappointing the parade had been banned and it showed citizens were losing their rights.

He said the reason the push for marriage equality in Hong Kong had been unsuccessful was the same reason democracy protesters had their demands ignored.

“The government is not willing to listen to the people,” he said.

“Only when the minorities and disadvantaged groups are protected and secure will the general public be secure.”

Pop star Denise Ho said, “The whole city had been on hold in the five months of protests because of this government’s arrogance, so of course LGBTQ rights are on hold without democracy.”

Pop star Anthony Wong, who came out in 2012, said, “Every march is being cancelled by police and this is very worrying because these are basic human rights to rally and march and express ourselves.”

 Pop stars Denise Ho and Anthony Wong.
Pop stars Denise Ho and Anthony Wong.CREDIT:KIRSTY NEEDHAM

Democracy activist Joshua Wong said LGBTQ rights were closely associated with protesters’ rights.

“If we still hope to recognise Hong Kong as a global city it is a must for Hong Kong to be an open society to facilitate same-sex marriage.”

Sydney residents Rob and Stacey Lamont, in rainbow tutus, came to support gay pride because, as Rob said, “We know it is tough here.”

Their friend Tan Guerin, who lives in Hong Kong, said: “We were up for a march and have our running shoes on.”

The annual pride parade in Hong Kong.
The annual pride parade in Hong Kong.CREDIT:KIRSTY NEEDHAM

Local resident Hugo, 28, in a rainbow mask, said, “There is no point talking about an equality act if we don’t have democracy.”

As the rally continued, local media published photographs of what appeared to be People’s Liberation Army troops on the streets clearing bricks from roads in Kowloon Tong outside Baptist University in the New Territories.

They wore khaki T-shirts and shorts. The PLA are rarely seen outside barracks.

Source : The Age