About 1,800 – nearly twice the number last year – marched from Wan Chai to Chater Garden in Central on Sunday, Nov 1, for greater visibility and equal rights.
Organisers say they hope for the event to promote awareness, dignity, and understanding of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people. With this year’s Be Proud Be Yourself theme, they hope for LGBT individuals to have the confidence and courage to come out and be counted.
Aside from the organising coalition comprising Women Coalition of HKSAR, Rainbow of Hong Kong, Midnight Blue, Nutong Xueshe, Gay Harmony, local groups marched alongside lesbian and gay groups from Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Beijing; representatives from InterPride, Taiwan LGBT Pride Community and Taipei’s Gingin bookstore; and tourists from Singapore, Philippines, US, Canada, chief director of the Hong Kong Pride Parade committee Connie Chan Man-wai told Fridae.
Notably, the Interbank LGBT Exchange contingent comprising at least 20 gay or gay-friendly members marched for the second consecutive year. Their “Walking with Pride” banner featured the logos of Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan and UBS. The group is said to comprise representatives from 13 banks including Citi, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Morgan Stanley, Nomura, Societe Generale, Standard Chartered and Wachovia, in addition to the four mentioned earlier.
Chan, who is also the chairperson of the Women’s Coalition in Hong Kong, told Fridae that she hopes that local banks and other companies are motivated by the show of support towards the LGBT community at large and LGBT employees by the foreign banks – many of whom have implemented workplace diversity and anti-discrimination policies.
Following the successful campaign this year to have same-sex couples covered under the Domestic Violence Ordinance, the next item on the agenda is to have sexual orientation covered under Hong Kong’s anti-discrimination legislation. Activists from campaigned for anti-discrimination provisions since the mid 1990s but have continuously faced strong opposition from right-wing Christian groups.