Cantonese singer Denise Ho has come out as gay in her first appearance at Hong Kong Pride today (10 November).
Amid the cheers of some 4,000 Pride-goers, she said: ‘I think I have an obligation, a duty to stand forward for the sake of love and more peace.
‘I would like to proudly declare here that I am Tongzhi (a Chinese slang for gay people).’
Ho had written on her Facebook and Weibo pages it would be ‘an important day’ for her, but the announcement still came as a surprise for fans as the boyish-looking star had for a long time regarded her sexuality as a private issue.
‘I really should have done this a few of years ago, but I just didn’t have the right chance’ Ho said nervously.
Ho noted that despite the Pride being a loving, peaceful, accepting environment, Hong Kong has seen a rise in biased and narrow-minded views.
This included the a botched effort to start a legislation consultation on sexual discrimination, which prompted her to make the decision to come out.
‘Silence is no longer an option,’ she explained. ‘By speaking out, you may lose some chances, face extra problems and get unexpected results, but still fail to change the status quo immediately.
‘However, as a public figure, I think if a little fact that I say can add my voice and give a bit of a boost to the fight for equal rights, then I think my personal concerns are simply trivial.’
Hugging her parents in tears after the announcement, Ho told reporters she started telling executives at her record label, friends and family yesterday (9 November).
‘My [biggest] concern was my company and job,’ she said. ‘We don’t know how inclusive and progressive society is, so high-profile public figures like us have to test the water’
Ho said fellow singer Anthony Wong’s decision to come out earlier in a concert was also a driving force for her and he gave her much useful advice.
Her parents were not among the first to learn about her decision, knowing they would be fully supportive.
‘I had barely told him my decision to come out at this event, when he just went: "Hey, just do it. Who on earth could say anything?",’ she said.
See below the crowd’s reaction when Ho came out: