The Pink Elephant in the Room

For the first Tilt podcast acclaimed London based performance artist, writer and radio presenter, Scottee, joined Sophie Jackson to explore what it means to be gay in Hong Kong.

Through conversations with a variety of people in Hong Kong we began to uncover what life is like for LGBT people in Hong Kong. Although on the surface a cosmopolitan place with a liberal love of hedonism, Hong Kong is rooted in both Chinese and British traditionalism and its social and judicial systems reflect that. Reports of hate crime against gay people are rare and an atmosphere of permissiveness pervades across the city, however in legal terms gay people are not afforded the same rights as straight people and are therefore far less protected.

One area that this is particularly troubling in is at work where many gay people lead double lives for fear of their lack of protection in the workplace were they to openly display their sexuality. Another area where there is a dangerous lack of protection is family life whereby gay parents’ may both not be legally recognised as parents, where marriages and spousal recognition are not given and where couples and families can be seperated because of this human rights omission. Healthcare becomes another minefield as medical spousal cover isn’t recognised for gay marriage. Essentially in Hong Kong at present gay people are tolerated but not accepted and are stranded out alone without the full support and recognition that should be afforded to them.

A number of people helped to frame the conversation around gay life in Hong Kong including La Chiquitta, Hong Kong’s premier drag performer also known as Rye Bautista, Betty Grissoni and Abby Lee,  wives at the centre of the gay rights movement in Hong Kong who run Les Peches, Hong Kong’s main lesbian night. Azan Marwah, barrister and Michael Vidler, a human rights solicitor well known for his role in the W case, were on hand to explain the complicated legal situation for LGBT people in Hong Kong. Thank you to you all and to special co-presenter Scottee.

Listen to the Pink Elephant in the Room