The very public row between Hong Kong Property tycoon Cecil Chao and his lesbian daughter, Gigi Chao, has continued this week. After claiming in an interview with a Malaysian newspaper last week that he still did not accept his daughter’s choice of partner and would offer HK$1 Billion to any man that could win her heart, his daughter Gigi completed an open letter to her father.
In the letter she complimented her father and apologized for misleading him that she may be happy with a man. Ultimately, however, she was adamant that Sean Eav is the one for her. She stated, “I am comfortable and satisfied with my life and completely at ease with her.” Gigi also expressed that “it would mean the world to me if you could just not be so terrified of her, and treat her like a normal, dignified human being.”
Cecil Chao replied to the letter in an interview with CNN this week. In the interview, Chao appeared slightly hurt at the way his daughter had declared her sexuality through an open letter. “She never tell (sic) me in person, I saw it on the paper” he said.
He then went on to say that “her private life is hers, if this is her choice, then it’s for her," suggesting that he somewhat accepted her choice. However, he also hinted that he did not see the situation as permanent. “she is only 33. Life changes. I mean I changed a lot when I was 33 to now.”
Perhaps most upsetting to Gigi was Chao’s blunt refusal to accept Sean Eav as part of the family. “I don’t have to accept her partner. It’s for she (sic) to accept her partner,” he said. The reporter followed up by asking if he welcomed Sean Eav into the family. Chao bluntly replied: “No.”
Below is the full letter, originally published in the South China Morning Post on Tuesday.
I thought the timing was right for us to have a candid conversation.
You are one of the most mentally astute, energetic yet well mannered and hard-working people this humble earth has ever known.
Your confidence, quick wit, and charisma brightens any room you enter.
I love you very much, and I think I can speak for my brothers also, that we have the utmost respect for you as a father and role model in business.
I am sorry that people have been saying insensitive things about you lately. The truth is, they don’t understand that I will always forgive you for thinking the way you do, because I know you think you are acting in my best interests. And we both don’t care if anybody else understands.
As your daughter, I would want nothing more than to make you happy. But in terms of relationships, your expectations of me and the reality of who I am, are not coherent.
I am responsible for some of this misplaced expectation, because I must have misled you to hope there were other options for me. You know I’ve had male lovers in the past, and I’ve had happy, albeit short-lived, relationships. I found myself temporarily happy, buoyed by the freshness, the attention, the interest, of someone physically stronger than myself.
But it was always short-lived, as I quickly lost patience, and felt an indescribable discomfort in their presence. It usually made me frustrated, and I would yearn for my freedom again. I’ve broken a few hearts, hearts of good, honest and loving men, and I’m sorry that it had to be so.
But with Sean, a woman, somehow it was different. I am comfortable and satisfied with my life and completely at ease with her. I know it’s difficult for you to understand how I could feel romantically attracted to a woman; I suppose I can’t really explain it either. It just happens, peacefully and gently, and after so many years, we still love each other very much.
My regret is that you have no idea how happy I am with my life, and there are aspects of my life that you don’t share. I suppose we don’t need each other’s approval for our romantic relationships, and I am sure your relationships are really fantastic too.
However, I do love my partner Sean, who does a good job of looking after me, ensuring I am fed, bathed and warm enough every day, and generally cheering me up to be a happy, jolly girl. She is a large part of my life, and I am a better person because of her.
Now, I’m not asking you to be best of friends; however, it would mean the world to me if you could just not be so terrified of her, and treat her like a normal, dignified human being.
I understand it is difficult for you to understand, let alone accept this truth.
I’ve spent a lot of time figuring out who I am, what is important in my life, who I love and how best to live life, as an expression of all these questions. I am proud of my life, and I would not choose to live it any other way (except also figuring out how to be gentler on the planet).
I’m sorry to mislead you to think I was only in a lesbian relationship because there was a shortage of good, suitable men in Hong Kong.
There are plenty of good men, they are just not for me.
Wishing you happiness.
Your daughter, Gigi.