Rights chief throws support behind staging of Gay Games

Top News | Maisy Mok 11 Jun 2021

The Equal Opportunities Commission chief has rejected misconceptions about the Gay Games after several lawmakers objected to the government helping the sports event.

Ricky Chu Man-kin said yesterday the games - set next year in Hong Kong - are worth the commission's support due to their promotion of equality, diversity and inclusion and that it is unfair to say their aim is to promote same-sex marriage.

Several lawmakers have opposed a call by the New People's Party's Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee for the government to offer more support to the games.

Junius Ho Kwan-yiu said "holding the event is disgraceful" and describe any economic benefits from it as "dirty money."

On radio yesterday, Chu urged lawmakers and the public not to stigmatize the event, adding people should carry an inclusive and respectful attitude as "there is no doubt that it spreads the message of equality, inclusiveness and diversity."

As there is currently no legislation in Hong Kong to prevent discrimination against sexual orientation, Chu said it is hard to prove whether Ho's speech was discriminatory on a legal basis.

"If everything has to take a combative approach and treat all matters in Hong Kong in a rigid manner, then nothing can be done," Chu said.

He said the commission will continue to offer assistance to the games and hoped the government can assist in providing venues.

Lawmaker Priscilla Leung Mei-fun said the games should not be supported as they promote the LGBT+ movement, which "may stir a huge controversy."

Dennis Philipse, founder and cochair of Gay Games Hong Kong, told The Standard: "Everybody has their own opinion but the games are about bringing everyone together."

Philipse said the government "is welcoming to have this event in Hong Kong as it aligns with the city's values to promote inclusion and diversity."

Francis Tang, founder of social service organization Gay Harmony, said Ho's remark is discriminatory.

The organizer is expecting 12,000 participants from 100 countries to join the event.

It comprises 36 sports such as dragon boat racing and e-sports, as well as arts and cultural events in which everyone is eligible to participate. It is estimated to have an economic impact of HK$1 billion. The games are held every four years and next year marks the first time they will be held in Asia.


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