Hong Kong rainbow lions spark LGBT rights debate - BBC News

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A photo of the two rainbow coloured lions outside the HSBC main building in Hong KongPicture copyright Fb @HSBCHK

Considered one of Hong Kong's icons - a pair of lions guarding the HSBC constructing - has been given a rainbow-coloured makeover.

Replicas of the 2 lions have been painted as a part of the financial institution's "Have fun Satisfaction, Rejoice Unity" marketing campaign for Lesbian, Homosexual, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) rights.

It is a sight which may not be thought-about controversial in lots of cities - however in Hong Kong it has reignited debate about homosexual rights and whether or not firms ought to become involved.

Many individuals have expressed help for the marketing campaign - and have been posing for selfies with the lions. However it has additionally angered a number of marketing campaign teams, who've began a petition towards the lions. Organisers say greater than four,500 individuals have signed the petition.

Why is there controversy?

Though Hong Kong is a world metropolis, it's divided in relation to social points like LGBT rights.

In a 2011 survey, 22% of respondents stated they have been "not accepting" of lesbian, homosexual and transgender people, and an extra 21% stated they felt ambivalent or not sure.

1 / 4 of respondents additionally felt it was "acceptable" or "typically acceptable" to not supply a job to an LGBT particular person.

The 2 HSBC lions are well-known in Hong Kong - and seem on most of the territory's financial institution notes.

Picture copyright AFP
Picture caption The lions guarding the HSBC headquarters in Hong Kong are usually brown...
Picture copyright AFP
Picture caption ...however multi-coloured variations are on show for the subsequent few weeks

Forward of the rainbow versions being unveiled, HSBC Group basic supervisor Kevin Martin stated: "Understanding and embracing everybody's distinctive views, beliefs and experiences is core to HSBC's values. This marketing campaign demonstrates our dedication to attaining a very open and numerous working setting."

However a number of teams, together with the Household Faculties Sodo Concern Group, Mother and father for the Household Affiliation, and Overturning LGBT Agenda, have issued a joint statement, accusing HSBC of "trampling on the prevailing household values of Hong Kong".

Roger Wong, from the Household Faculties Sodo Concern Group, advised the BBC: "The lions are an icon of Hong Kong. A number of Hong Kongers have a sure affection for them - and it isn't proper that they're projecting meanings on to them, that lots of people might disagree with.

"The male lions symbolize the steadiness and energy of the financial institution. By including a rainbow on the lions - does that imply they're gay? I discover that objectionable - they usually do not look that aesthetically good both."

The teams say they're additionally sad with different pro-LGBT insurance policies of HSBC - saying the insurance policies are "not truthful to the shareholders as a result of it primarily forces each shareholder to endorse the gay way of life".

Does everybody really feel that method?

Picture copyright AFP
Picture caption Some followers have posed for footage with the lions

No. On social media, many individuals have been vocal about their help for the marketing campaign. On HSBC's Fb web page, one consumer wrote "help HSBC for his or her stand for variety", whereas one other lauded the "lovely colors and delightful state of mind".

And almost 7,000 individuals took half in a pride parade final month, marching in help of the LGBT group.

There's additionally rising help for anti-discrimination legal guidelines for LGBT individuals. In a recent survey, greater than half of respondents stated they might help such laws - almost double the determine from a decade in the past.

And younger individuals have been particularly supportive - with 91% of these aged 18-24 supporting anti-discrimination laws.

Rights activists have been essential of the truth that Hong Kong has laws prohibiting discrimination on the grounds of gender, incapacity, race and household standing, however not sexual orientation.

They argue that Hong Kong lags behind many Western nations, which have similar attitudes in the direction of LGBT rights however higher authorized protections.

What's life like for LGBT individuals in Hong Kong?

Picture copyright Wong Ka Ying
Picture caption Wong Ka Ying says she was criticised on-line after revealing she was a lesbian

Many LGBT individuals say they expertise discrimination - with Hong Kong's first brazenly homosexual legislator, Chan Chi-chuen, additionally being subjected to verbal abuse on public transport.

Wong Ka Ying, an area artist who's a lesbian, says numerous her LGBT pals have to cover their orientation for worry of dropping their jobs.

"I am actually fortunate as a result of, as an artist, I haven't got friends, colleagues or workplace politics," she says. "However lots of my buddies in skilled industries cannot come out."

With out legal guidelines towards LGBT discrimination, "you do not know the place to report it… so you need to cover your sexuality, and never speak about it to guard your self", she says.

Picture copyright AFP
Picture caption Hundreds have taken half in Hong Kong's satisfaction parades

Ms Wong says she was subjected to on-line assaults after she revealed she was a lesbian on a actuality TV present, and argues it's due to a scarcity of schooling about LGBT points.

"In Chinese language tradition, individuals have a tendency to not put 'embarrassing' topics on the desk… it is a social norm that retains dialogue of LGBT rights, and same-sex marriage, underneath the desk," she says.

LW, a lawyer who requested to not be recognized, says he thought-about LGBT discrimination to be "fairly critical in Hong Kong".

"Although I feel issues are altering with the youthful era, discrimination continues to be fairly rampant for the older era - I'm 'out' to my youthful colleagues at work however to not my boss."

The Hong Kong authorities has revealed anti-LGBT discrimination adverts - however has stopped in need of implementing anti-discrimination laws up to now.

Some pro-family or spiritual teams have argued that an anti-discrimination regulation might infringe on individuals's spiritual freedoms.

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