Hong Kong’s first Pride Parade
The Hong Kong Pride Parade saw its inception in Hong Kong on 15 October 2004, in coordination and joint sponsorship with LGBT organization Horizons, ninetysevengroup under Lan Kwai Fong Restaurant Group, and event specialists from House of Siren. The parade began at 6pm with a procession around the Lan Kwai Fong area. About one hundred people attended the event, along with a number of colourful outfits. Organizers noted in interviews that they aimed for a show of respect and dignity amongst the tongzhi community that will sound out their closeted ‘comrades’. The first Hong Kong Pride Parade received a great deal of positive coverage in the press.
International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia (IDAHO)
In early 2005, the Home Affairs Bureau began consulting LGBT groups on the feasibility of enacting the Sexual Orientation Discrimination Ordinance (SODO), and on 29 April of the same year, the Hong Kong Alliance for Family advertised its opposition to the SODO in a four-page spread on Ming Pao, with some 9800 individuals and 374 organizations signing its petition. The Society for Truth and Light also initiated a letter-writing campaign by variously mobilizing Christian-affiliated secondary school students and members of social welfare institutions, as well as their neighbours, relatives, and friends. Homophobic rhetoric was in the air.
As LGBT organizations sought countermeasures, the Women Coalition of HKSAR noted the initiative by Mr Louis-George Tin in its capacity as a member of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Intersex Association (ILGA); with the Association’s backing, the Women Coalition made a bold proposal for a Hong Kong IDAHO and called for international support.
IDAHO premiered in Hong Kong on May 16, 2005 under the theme “Turn Fear into Love”, calling for acceptance and care amongst gender and sexual minorities in a diverse and friendly society. (The Chinese translation of homophobia was clarified in 2006 following confusion over phobia and terror.) The procession began at the East Point Road pedestrian zone in Causeway Bay and proceeded to the fountain at Victoria Park before returning to the starting point. 350 participants found themselves sharing the 100 masks prepared by the organizers for the half-hour march, but the final ‘expose’ – an unmasking at the destination – proved to be a tearful moment of truth for some. With only two weeks’ preparation, the IDAHO demonstrated to the LGBT community and organizers that Hong Kong could make it. The city continues to hold the event every year.
Hong Kong Pride Parade 2008 “Celebrate Love”
The four annual IDAHOs from 2005 to 2008 gave LGBT organizations invaluable experience. Turnout stabilized, and participants clamoured for a Pride event much as Taiwan did – a positive and happy way to promote respect for diversity and LGBT rights. In view of this, the Women Coalition of HKSAR, Rainbow of Hong Kong, Midnight Blue and the HKFS Social Movement Resource Centre (aka Autonomous 8a) formed the organizing committee for the Hong Kong Pride Parade 2008. In the afternoon of 12 December, 2008, the Pride departed from East Point Road, Causeway Bay to Southorn Playground, Wanchai under the banner of “Celebrate Love”. The procession affirmed that every person is born equal and free to be themselves under the same sky, and it is the attestation of this universal prerogative that encourages diverse gender and sexual minorities to join in the parade. Local participants took heart from Taiwanese, Mainland Chinese, Southeast Asian, European and American attendants who boosted the rally count above 1,000 in the second largest Chinese Pride after Taipei’s. Hong Kong Pride has thus grown from strength to strength in turnout, with the exception of 2010 due to a budget shortfall. By now a firmly annual event, Pride 2015 saw more than 9,500 participants. We went through the toughest rainstorm at the 2016 Pride Parade. The pouring rain, however, could not drench the fire in our hearts, and we had 6800 brave souls joining us in pursuit of equal opportunities.
Number of participants in previous Hong Kong Pride Parades: