10 May 2012

Hong Kong: Gay groups clash over controversial politician invited to rally

For My Colours, a coalition which organised the IDAHO rallies from 2005-2008, has clashed with the Pink Alliance – organisers of this year's rally on May 12 – over an invited politican known for her anti-mainland immigration and anti-democratic views in an all-out spat.

For My Colours, a coalition comprising five LGBT groups, published a public statement opposing IDAHOT Hong Kong’s association with Legislative Councilor Regina Ip just four days before the rally scheduled to be held this Saturday. The rally is held to commemorate the 8th International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia, commonly known as IDAHO internationally.

Legislative Councilor Regina Ip

“We are very disappointed with regards to Pink Alliance’s recent invitation to former Secretary for Security, Mrs. Regina Ip, as the spokesperson of IDAHOT 2012,” read the statement published on May 8 and co-signed by NuTongXueShe, Midnight Blue, Comrade Zone, Women Coalition of HKSAR and Rainbow Action.

In an email to Fridae, a spokesperson for Pink Alliance, the organiser of the IDAHOT rally clarified that Ip is not the spokesperson for the rally but was invited, amongst other politicians, to attend the event. Her party is the second in Hong Kong after the Labour party to publish a statement supporting LGBT rights on their electoral platform. As she is unable to attend, she recorded a video message which appears on the rally’s website.

Click here for the Cantonese version.

Speakers at the IDAHOT rally will include pro-democratic legislators Cyd Ho, Lee Cheuk Yan and Audrey Eu while pop star Anthony Wong, who publicly came out as gay last month, is slated to attend the rally.

For My Colours is opposed to the rally’s association with Ip who is known for her discriminatory stance concerning mainland Chinese immigrants and in the past pushed legislation to expand the government’s powers despite broad opposition from the public.

The first IDAHO rally in Hong Kong was organised by For My Colours and several other groups in 2005 and annually until 2008; the running of the annual IDAHO rally has since been taken on by the Tongzhi Community Joint Meeting (TCJM), and now the Pink Alliance.

Connie Chan, the chairperson of Women Coalition, told Fridae: “Whether or not Mrs Ip is a spokesperson, I think the LGBT movement should work towards an equal and just society, Mrs Ip incites discriminations against new arrivals from Mainland and ethnic minorities, tries to enforce Basic Law article 23 to suppress freedom of speech, obviously Mrs Ip is not the one who stand for equality, justice, and human rights.”

In 2003, as the then Secretary for Security, she spearheaded the government's attempt to codify Hong Kong Basic Law Article 23 or “anti-subversion” legislation which resulted in her resignation following a 500,000 strong street protest.

The statement continued: “LGBTQI movement is part of civil society, stands together with other minorities from different walks of life. In order to establish a solid and stable social movement, we must embrace others who are at the same position, eg. new arrivals from Mainland, ethnic minorities, sex workers, women, physically/mentally disabled, diverse families, grass-root workers, freedom of speech, democracy & universal suffrage, Chinese human rights activists etc. 

“Therefore, we simply cannot accept someone who incites discriminations against new arrivals from Mainland and ethnic minorities… Mrs Regina Ip to attend and support LGBTQI equality right promotional events. Because we are not those who only care for our own benefits and neglect others. 

“So would it mean if Hitler was gay, we can still support and depend on him to fight for LGBTQI rights as well?” The statement asked rhetorically. 

The remark references Ip’s comments at a City University of Hong Kong forum in 2002 where she said: “Hitler was elected by the people. But he ended up killing seven million people. This proves that democracy is not a cure-all medicine."

As the organiser of the rally, Pink Alliance (TCJM) Chairman Reggie Ho says the group is appreciative of the support of any politician or party which supports LGBT rights.

He also rejects the view that Ip is supporting the event to attract LGBT votes given that she has announced that she will lead her party in September's Legislative Council election.

“They (For My Colours) should know better than that - how many Hong Kong politicians out there ever got voted in because of endorsing the LGBT cause? If anything, the fear of otherwise has always prevailed in the political circle. What Regina has done, I think, is courageous.” 

Ho added: “With tongzhi groups expressing different views, it reflects an open and diverse society… At the event, there will be pro-democratic legislators in attendance, which shows that our supporters can come from different political backgrounds, and they all seek common ground while reserving differences.”

The For My Colours alliance has announced a street forum that will take place on May 17 to commemorate IDAHO. The forum titled “Who Stole our LGBT Movement" and will feature “discussions on the latest strategies for the LGBT movement in Hong Kong, an analysis of homophobia around world and a review of the collaborations between LGBT organisations and civil society”.

“Who Stole our LGBT Movement" Street Forum
Date: May 17, 2012 (Thu)
Time: 7-9.30pm
Venue: Clock Tower, Time Square, Causeway Bay

The IDAHOT Hong Kong rally is themed “What To Fear?!”and aims to eliminate homophobic and transphobic bullying in Hong Kong, and to commemorate victims of homophobic and transphobic bullying in past years.

IDAHOT Hong Kong Rally: “What To Fear?!”
Date: May 12, 2012 (Sat)
Time: 3-5pm
Venue: Chater Gardens, Central
Dress code: Black

Hong Kong