On November 7, 50-year-old Small Luk, with beautiful long hair to her waist, put on a long grey cotton dress and a light checked shirt. Having been considered as a man for forty years, she held the banner which read “Stand up for Diversity. Stand up for Intersex.” and stood on the stage of 2015 Hong Kong Pride Parade, calling on respect and equality for LGBTI.
“Intersex is just a variation not a disorder,” said Luk. As a traditional Chinese practitioner, she was the first and only person in Hong Kong to stand out and publicly introduce herself as an intersex.
An intersex is born with a sexual anatomy that doesn’t correspond to the typical expectations for either sex. It is different from a transgender who has an evident sex but alter it by medical intervention.
This was Small’s forth time coming to the parade but the first as a widely-known intersex. Over the years, she witnessed that the increasing number of LGBT people who have come out and taken to the street. “Previously, I saw the abhorred look on people’s faces. But this time, I saw many give their thumbs up. I feel great that people are becoming more inclusive and supportive,” she said.
The Pride Parade is an annual march in Hong Kong supporting gay rights. The theme of this year was “Yell Out for Equality,” and the mascot was two giraffes, inspired by a Cantonese idiom “waiting until the necks become long.” Yellow is the theme color to always remind people of equality, because according to psychological studies, things written on yellow have the better chance of being remembered.
23-year-old Hui Tung held a banner saying “Parade Done. What’s next?” to alert people the parade was just a start. She specially wore a black cheongsam and tied herself with yellow ribbons, because she knew many people only dared to like ribbon secretly, but she wanted the public to face the seeming taboo directly.
“Generally, people in my generation support LGBT. However, they are unable to explain why it is correct. It’s just like I am discriminating you but you don’t know the reason. Legislation is of no use if the mind of people is not changed. Thus, the more important thing is to educate the public,” Hui said.
The parade started from Victoria Park to Tamar Park, which is in front of the Hong Kong Government Office and Legislative Council Building.
The procession of the three-kilometer walking consisted of domestic and international groups from commercial enterprises, social organizations and local universities. Around 9,500 people joined in the parade this year, compared to 5,200 in 2013 and 8,900 in 2014, according to the organizers.
Jas Low, 39, and Crystal Lok, 28, are a lesbian couple from Singapore. They came Hong Kong to celebrate Lok’s birthday but came across the parade.
“It is really nice to be surrounded by a group of people who share the same attitude with us,” Low said. They have been together for four years but haven’t told their parents. “Actually, I think they (family) know we are together since we live together and go travel together. If they ask, I will tell them. If they don’t, that means they don’t want the answer.”
Low and Lok considered the year 2015 as a big year for LGBT, especially the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage in the United States.
“But it is more of an issue related to the US. Generally, Asian countries are more conservative,” said Lok. She mentioned that in Singapore, the government had already made a declaration on its Facebook page that it wouldn’t discuss the LGBT issue for the moment.
In Hong Kong, the fights for LGBT human rights have been carried out for two decades. Although awareness and tolerance is increasing, there is no legislation banning discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Jaco Lam from Socialist Action, a left-wing political organization in Hong Kong, believes that the true democracy is the way out.
“The system in Hong Kong is not democratic enough. Half of the council members are not selected by the public but represent the benefits of conservative religious powers and financial groups. They are disgusted with LGBT and even try to resist to put the issue on the agenda,” Jaco said. One Liberal Party member once claimed that gay people tended to use paternity leave to defraud of holiday.
To Jaco’s, the Mainland is faced with a worse situation, especially discrimination in workplace, because of the lack of independent labor unions, and the access to large activities to publicly voice the appeals for equal human rights.
Jiang Xinyi was one of the mainlanders in the parade procession. She is the founder of an online service center for homo-wives named “Hibiscus.” She came all the way from Shanghai to call on attention to the group of victims which can be easily neglected around LGBT.
“Parade like this is not allowed in the Mainland. What’s worst, the public seems to be blind and choose to ignore the whole LGBT issue,” Jiang said.
In China, millions of straight women are married to gay men. Jiang said every woman is a potential homo-wife; however, due to the deficiency in the law, they are less protected when they get divorced. She hopes that someday, gays can get married freely with their true love, and less women will be hurt by the traditional concept of marriage.
After the parade, a concert raised the curtain at Tamar Park.
Back beneath the glittering skyscrapers, Small Luk danced to the upbeat music with her friends. One year ago, she finally got over the feeling of being a monster and started to believed that she was also loved by God. In the twilight, she had the faith in mind that one day, the society would give LGBTI more acceptance and the long-lasting happiness would finally come.
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