Dec 30, 2012

Hong Kong: Out of the closet

¨Hong Kong’s 2nd Pink Season wrapped up earlier this month after more than two months of activities. It’s been an amazing time here and the feeling of change in the air is almost palpable. It’s been a long time coming. When the Hong Kong Lesbian &; Gay Film Festival (HKGLFF) started up in 1989, homosexuality was still a criminal offence here. (It was repealed in 1991). The LGBT community that the film festival played a big part in kickstarting took another two decades before it felt confident enough, last year, to create the Pink Season. At times, it has felt like nothing would ever change.

It doesn’t feel like that anymore. The HKGLFF and the Pink Season are both symptoms and causes of the changes in attitude to LGBT issues we are starting to see all around us. I write ‘symptoms’ because the two institutions have only arisen as our community has grown strong enough and free enough to mount them; and ‘causes’ because each provides a foundation from which to build a cultural bridge to the wider community. The film festival and the Pink Season are both better educators of the public than any school programme or government propaganda ever could be. They have helped drive the cultural change from which political change here is coming. They have helped us become, openly, part of Hong Kong. We are not quite yet seen as ‘normal’ here, but it now feels like we are getting there.

It might seem odd to write this only weeks after Hong Kong’s Legislative Council voted not even to debate whether the Government should consult the public’s attitude to LGBT issues. Odder when the Secretary of the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau, Raymond Tam, commented after the vote that now was not the time to consider change as there was no public consensus for it. As often in LGBT history, the gerrymandered voting and the very enunciation of the conservative position caused a reaction to our benefit...¨ read it all, HERE

Thanks to Fridae, Asia
Thanks to Nigel Collett

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