A meetup group for gay parents in Hong Kong still continues to grow despite its founders having moved back to the United States and the Chinese territory still not recognizing same-sex parents or allowing them to adopt children.
The group Rainbow Families was set up in 2013 by an American gay couple unable to find a support network for gay parents in Hong Kong. Since then it has 80 members with about 20 of those families with children and the rest mostly gay couples looking to adopt, according to South China Morning Post.
It was set up by Harun Sinha and Austin Dowling who have since moved back to New York with their two adopted boys, one of whom was adopted while they were living in Hong Kong.
The idea for a support group came up when teachers who knew about their family excluded their son in a mother’s day activity. “I realized that we'd probably face more of this while in Hong Kong so I wanted to look for other similar families," Sinha told South China Morning Post.
They chose to move back to the United States because life as a gay parent easier, Sinha said adding that in New York “we are treated just like other parents at schools, playgrounds and everywhere we go as a family.”
“Hong Kong didn't recognize my relationship with my husband. This created a lot of inconvenience, having to leave the city every three months with a toddler," Sinha was quoted as saying.
Laura Simonsen, who now organizes monthly meets for Rainbow Families, says life as a gay parent in Hong Kong does have few challenges.
She and her wife had to return to her native Sydney to give birth to her first son, conceived with the help of a sperm donor. "In Sydney they allow you to have two mothers recorded on the birth certificate. But for her second child “who I had in Hong Kong, it's only me on the birth certificate," she told South China Morning Post.
“But while gay parenting is relatively easy in Hong Kong for expats, it's still a tough road for local couples,” reported South China Morning Post.
The report noted that only 20 percent of Rainbow Family members are Chinese and many of them choose not to be visible on the group's Facebook page but prefer to receive newsletters privately.
Legally, prejudices against the LGBT community and discrimination on the basis of sexuality are not banned in Hong Kong and although same-sex relations were de-criminalized in 1991 much of society remains opposed to equal laws for same-sex couples.