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Hong Kong’s lesbian tycoon launches new bid for marriage equality

Hong Kong’s lesbian tycoon launches new bid for marriage equality

Hong Kong tycoon Gigi Chao (Photo: Provided)

Renowned Hong Kong businesswoman, Gigi Chao, is leading a new bid for marriage equality in the city.

Chao, along with lawyer Azan Marwah and other activists, will officially launch the group Hong Kong Marriage Equality (HKME) next month.

‘Our aim is to reach out to the vast silent majority of people in Hong Kong’ Chao told Gay Star News. ‘To promote the understanding that love knows no boundaries’.

‘The freedom to marry means LGBT+ couples can celebrate their love, strengthen their family ties, and affirm their equality under the law’ Chao explained.

Hong Kong does not recognize same-sex marriages.

Chinese society puts a lot of emphasis on heterosexual families and there are no legal anti-discrimination protections. Many LGBTI citizens do not come out to their family and colleagues.

‘The affirmation of their acceptance by society through marriage equality, sends a strong message that they are equal and should be proud of who they are’ she also said.

Chao, who is Vice Chairman of property development company Cheuk Nang, was named the world’s most influential LGBT business person in 2016.

She also made headlines in 2014. Her father, tycoon Cecil Chao, offered HK$1 billion to the man who could turn his daughter straight.

Right side of history

Chao’s group now hopes to build on recent gains for equality in Hong Kong.

In July last year, however, Hong Kong’s LGBTI had a reason to celebrate.

The Court of Final Appeal ruled the immigration department must recognize overseas same-sex marriages when issuing spousal visas.

Earlier this year, two gay men won the right to challenge laws banning same-sex marriage.

The group will act as a community platform where different organizations and Individuals can collaborate and pool resources.

It also hopes to shift opinion among everyday Hong Kongers.

‘Having equal rights does not mean others having less rights’ said Chao. ‘As more people understand this, we hope that the support will continue to grow.’

Taiwan, Thailand, and Japan’s recent moves towards equal marriage are encouraging, she said.

‘Study after study has shown that an open, inclusive society tends to be more nimble, competitive, and attractive to international talent’ she explained.

‘To stay competitive as a society, Hong Kong must step up’.