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Title: Tongzhi HK Credit: Craig Young Comment Thursday 15th September 2011 - 10:29am1316039340 Article: 10809 Rights
 
While mainland China has a hesitant perspective toward its tongzhi communities, Hong Kong has a thriving LGBT community of its own. Here's a brief description. In DNA 139, Tim Cribb explored the Northern Chinese metropolis, business centre and financial hub, which reverted to Chinese sovereignty in 1997 after a century as a British Crown Colony. As Beijing didn't want to slay the metaphorical goose that lays so many golden eggs, Hong Kong is allowed considerable political autonomy as a "Special Autonomous Region". Its LGBT communities also has strong linkages to diaspora Chinese tongzhi (Cantonese for comrade- and gay) communities and other East Asian gay communities in mainland China, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines and Malaysia (!). Despite decriminalisation back in 1991, independent housing is at a premium, whatever one's sexual orientation, and many tongzhi have to live with their older conservative parents and relatives. While Hong Kong has public sector anti-discrimination laws, they don't apply to the private sector at present. Moreover, relationship and parenting equality are fought by a loud and obnoxious Christian Right population, assisted by Cantonese language outreach from the US Christian Right, operating from Taiwan. What is life like for tongzhi in Hong Kong? In terms of social attitudes, homophobic violence doesn't seem to be a problem, nor are gay-themed corporate advertisements. However, the churches run most post-primary secondary education and remain silent about gay male and lesbian sexuality and social identity in sex education classes. Whether straight or gay, public displays of affection face disapproval from one's conservative elders. That siad, there's a thriving Hong Kong social gay scene, consisting of Mr Gay Hong Kong pageants, a Gay Pride Flotilla and the Hong Kong International Lesbian and Gay Film Festival. More recently, the Tongzhi Community Joint Meeting has fotrmed to press for greater LGBT community assertiveness and attention to human rights issues. Recommended: Tim Cribb: "Going hyper in Hong Kong" DNA July 2011: 66-67 Mr Gay Hong Kong: http://www.mrgayhongkong.com Gay Pride Flotilla 2009 (Youtube): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RTOSRUAdW1A Hong Kong International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival: http://hklgff.hk/en/ Tongzhi Community Joint Meeting: http://www.tcjm.org/ Craig Young - 15th September 2011    
 
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