This past Saturday was the date of the annual Gay Pride festival in Hong Kong. Last year, the festival was also attended by the Occupy activists as well. It was felt that linking the political democratic tone of the Occupy movement and a gay rights agenda was not universally accepted. However, what did happen is the Occupy activists supported the call for equality in gay rights. The support from Occupy was not only in words and action, but also in number, as 2014 Gay Pride mustered over 8900 in attendance when combined. This was a substantial increase from the prior year.
At the event this Saturday, the theme and those attending were all in support of LGBTQ equal rights. Reports denoted “thousands” in attendance, but numbers at the parade were closer to 1,000 – a significant decrease that may be much in part due to the absence of the Occupy folks this year. The attendance was less than previous, and perhaps the combined agenda last year saw the LGBTQ activism of lesser import, and this left a distinct need to define the cause without the Occupy activists at this year’s celebration.
With only 1,000 in attendance, one has to wonder if the Hong Kong support has become less committed to the advancement of LGBTQ rights over the past year. The activists don’t seem to have wavered from the position of fighting anti-LGBTQ discriminatory practices. Religious figures have a distinct opinion, as Cardinal Tong remarked that if gay marriage was legal in Hong Kong, “Society would (undergo change) that would turn it upside down.”
Hong Kong’s Catholic Bishop is known to feel that the “gay movement” was a challenge of the ideals of family and marriage.
A precedent setting case is soon to go to judgement, in which a British lesbian has been refused a visa to stay in Hong Kong with her partner of civil partnership since 2011. Denied the request to stay, the definition of discrimination applies rightfully. With all of these issues percolating, the fate of the 2016 Hong Kong Pride attendance is uncertain, but the masses requesting change are very clear.