Hong Kong’s equality watchdog has vowed to speed up protections for LBGTQ+ people after they found themselves powerless to investigate an incident of harassment towards their only openly gay lawmaker.
York Chow, who is the chairman of the Equal Opportunities Commission, said while speaking to a legislative panel that legal protections for LBGTQ+ people were his second priority just behind his review of the city’s anti-discrimination law.
When speaking on the incident, which involved two women mocking Ray Chan’s sexuality and calling him “shemale”, York said: “What can the public do when they experience a similar situation? I feel sorry that there is not any law to protect against this kind of affair at this moment. We don’t have any statutory protection.
When possible, I will bring this to society for discussion but we do not have any statutory power to handle such cases, so I hope discussions in society will let more people understand the problems facing sexual minorities.”
He then went on to say that an EOC-commissioned feasibility study against LGBTQ+ people would be presented to the government toward the end of this year for “appropriate legislative steps”.
However, he was not optimistic about the chances of Hong Kong following in the footsteps of the US happening in his lifetime.