LGBT Rights Recognized by the Hong Kong Government

LGBT Rights Recognized by the Hong Kong Government

By Stacy Caprio

The Hong Kong Legislative council recently shot down a motion to consult with the public about equal rights for LGBT people according to an article in the Gay Star News. LGBT rights in Hong Kong are limited at the moment.

A New York Times article states that gay marriage is illegal in Hong Kong. The age of consent for ‘heterosexual sex’ is 16, and the age of consent for ‘sodomy’ is 21, which some gay activists find discriminatory.

Right now in Hong Kong there is no legal LGBT marriage, no way to have the government officially recognize two homosexual partners as family, and none of the official rights such as hospital visits, life-support decisions, or property sharing that come with being recognized as family by the government in Hong Kong.

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Anshuman Das, a Pink Season LGBT event organizer shares his personal experience and thoughts about the Hong Kong government’s lack of action on gay rights, and the consequences of this inaction:

Anshuman comments that he thinks the government is coming to the realization there is a large LGBT community in Hong Kong.

Commenting on the Hong Kong legislature’s recent vote to not consult with the public about LGBT rights he says, “You must be kidding me. And I pay for these people. The tax I pay goes toward the salary of these stupid people who make no decisions.  [Anshuman is referring to the 37 out of 70 legislative council members who did not show up to vote for this motion, and to the 8 present who chose not to vote, statistics taken from Gay Star News article written by Anna Leach].

There is always the possibility to be fired, for Anshuman and all other LGBT, due to their gender identity or sexual orientation, with no easy legal recourse. However, Anshuman explains that there are more important issues than simply being fired, and that when his boyfriend was dying last year he couldn’t take a holiday because they weren’t recognized officially as family by the Hong Kong government.

Same sex marriages are not recognized in Hong Kong, and Das goes on to explain the implications of this, that homosexual partners can’t visit eachother in the ICU because you aren’t ‘officially’ family, they can’t make life support decisions for their partner, they can’t share savings with their partner, and it’s harder to claim money from their partner’s will than it is for any heterosexual married couple.

He ends by saying, “So why would you want to work in a place where the government doesn’t even care to stop discrimination against you?”

Leach, Anna. “Hong Kong Lawmakers Reject Public Consultation on Equal Rights for Sexual Minorities.” Gay Star News. N.p., 8 Nov. 2012. Web. 14 Dec. 2012.http://www.gaystarnews.com/article/hong-kong-lawmakers-reject-public-consultation-equal-rights-sexual-minorities081112

“Hong Kong Turns down Gay Marriage.” The New York Times. 16 Apr. 2006. Web. 14 Dec.2012.http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/16/world/asia/16iht-gay.html

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