Hong Kong activists angered by government’s stalled LGBT rights reform

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

The refusal of Hong Kong lawmakers to carry out a public consultation on improving LGBT rights has sparked outrage in the local community.

The Legislative Council voted down a motion to carry out a public consultation in November 2012, but LGBT rights groups had hoped that Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying might revive the idea in his first annual policy speech on Wednesday.

However, Mr Leung used his speech to confirm that the consultation would not be held, causing fresh anger among the LGBT community.

In his speech Mr Leung said: “Society is deeply divided over this issue. Some are in support from the perspective of equal opportunity. Others are concerned that launching a consultation exercise may deal a blow to family, religion and education.”

“We will continue to listen to different views from various sectors. At present we have no plan to conduct consultation.”

Activist Yeo Wai-Wai responded by saying: “We have seen more and more complaints of discrimination. Hong Kong has the duty to protect the fundamental rights of everyone.”

Another activist, Anshuman Das, said in response to Mr Leung’s speech “How can launching a consultation deal a blow to family, religion and education? It doesn’t even sound logical… I believe the youth in Hong Kong are far more intelligent and are shaking their heads at this shameful policy address.”

Recently Mr Das has tried to draw attention to the problems faced by LGBT people in Hong Kong and the government’s lack of action through his YouTube short film ‘The Pantry’.

Raymond Chan, Hong Kong’s first openly gay lawmaker, said: “I think this will make more people be concerned about gay rights in Hong Kong. The rainbow revolution will have to start now.”

In the aftermath of Mr Leung’s speech three Hong Kong-based gay rights organisations have announced that they will form a coalition to push for new laws.

There are only limited anti-discrimination laws and no legal recognition of same-sex couples in Hong Kong.