As the annual Pride march took place over the weekend, Hong Kong’s anti-LGBT forces spoke out.
The fundamentalist Christian/fundamentally gruesome Truth and Light Society repeated its opposition to legal recognition of transgender people’s adopted gender, now accepted in many (notably Western) countries. And a pro-establishment Liberal Party local politician freaked out over a foreign plot to force gay marriage onto Hong Kong after the British consulate flew a rainbow flag. (The Standard’s layout people wittily-perhaps put the story on a pink background.)
For most of Hong Kong, this is fringe stuff. In the West, the transgender issue has become absurd – see the bathroom-war sagas in the US. Radical activists themselves can’t get their heads around it (the TERF thing), and the whole subject of gender identity could use a serious dose of science. But beneath all the hoo-hah is a reality not a curable ailment. Meanwhile, gay marriage has gone from being unthinkable and outlandish to a big snore in open-minded societies.
The key thing is that in Hong Kong (as elsewhere) a fairly small but loud group of people insist that any expansion of LGBT rights somehow oppresses the straight majority, while an unknown number of more tolerant people disagree or simply don’t care much.
The anti-LGBT movement in Hong Kong clearly has religious roots. Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s panicky I’m-a-Catholic non-commitment over the Gay Games is an example. And it’s no secret that fundamentalist Protestants have had a growing influence in the education sector and civil service over the years (trying to push creationism and gay-conversion therapy, for example). We also know that there is a political overlap (the Devil’s handiwork, indeed) between the fundamentalist Christian and pro-Beijing forces.
As well as activists, the pro-LGBT lobby includes the (otherwise pro-establishment) international business community and (to an extent) the government’s own Equal Opportunities Commission.
What is relatively new is the involvement of pro-establishment political parties in these debates. Members of the DAB – a Communist Party-front – have jumped on the anti-gay bandwagon. And now the pro-business/cartels Liberal Party has done the same, as they have with transgender recognition.
This doesn’t look like a coincidence. Cynics would also assume that anything these spineless puppets do is guided by the Chinese government’s local Liaison Office. So there are two possible explanations (which are not mutually exclusive).
One is that the Communist Party sees LGBT issues as part of the Western universal-rights threat, incompatible with its superior Leninist quasi-Confucian Chinese-characteristics human cultural zombification-civilization model. But if this were the case, we would expect gay etc communities in the Mainland to be given the full Muslim/lawyers/feminists clampdown treatment – which doesn’t seem to be happening.
The other is that the Liaison Office has identified this as a wedge-issue in Hong Kong. In other words, they believe they can use pro-family/local-values slogans to draw some popular support away from the pro-democrats to the patriotic camp. Such obsessive micro-management sounds right up their street, as does the probable futility of the effort.