LGBT activists and the Equal Opportunities Commission have lambasted pro-Beijing lawmakers for opposing the 2022 Gay Games.
The event promotes values of equality, inclusion and diversity, and are consistent with the principle of equal opportunities, Ricky Chu, chairperson of the EOC, said in a radio program on Thursday. He called on the public not to stigmatize the event or get wound up, and urged people to hold an attitude of respect and inclusion.
Hong Kong is set to host the 11th Gay Games in November next year, but pro-government lawmakers Junius Ho and Priscilla Leung have voiced their opposition in the Legislative Council. Ho described the estimated HK$1 billion (US$129 million) in economic benefits from the event as “dirty money.”
Speaking in the same radio program, Leung, who had criticized the Tourism Board and InvestHK for supporting the event, said the Gay Games is not a normal sport event, but a tactic to promote LGBT cause. She claimed that “the majority of Hong Kong people” are against the cause and the government should maintain its neutrality instead of endorsing the event.
Brian Leung, chief operating officer of the group BigLove Alliance, said the lawmakers are making themselves a laughing stock. “Their remarks have shown that they know nothing about the Gay Games,” Leung said.
First held in San Francisco in 1982, the Gay Games has nearly 40 years of history. As the first Asian City to host the event, the government and people of Hong Kong should be glad and proud, he stressed.
“Those with a dirty mind see everything else as dirty,” said Leung. Their comments also revealed that homophobia and discrimination still exist in Hong Kong society. He also slammed that lawmakers with poor character and voices of prejudice are the only ones that remain in the Legislative Council, without any counter force. “This is what we should be concerned about and is truly disgraceful to Hong Kong.”
He admitted he no longer expects the Legislative Council to offer a voice of balance. “It is why civil society needs to speak up,” the activist said.
Leung hopes the government will not bow to the lawmakers’ demand. The pandemic will largely be under control by November next year and the event offers an opportunity to promote tourism and stimulate the economic recovery. Ricky Chu’s performance on other issues of equal opportunities also fails to demonstrate that “he is a true ally,” he added.
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