Hong Kong elects first openly gay legislator

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By Anna Peirano

This past Sunday marked a milestone in the development of LGBT rights in China. Raymond Chan, former TV personality, became the first openly gay representative in Hong Kong’s 70-person legislative assembly, reports Queerty. 

Chan says he did not discuss his sexual orientation during his campaign in which he defeated Democratic Party vice-president Emily Lau Wai-hing by a mere 1,000 votes. 

“As a lawmaker, either I like a man or a woman. It doesn’t affect my capability or my political ideology,” Chan says in a video interview with Agence France Press. He told the Oriental Daily that to have announced his orientation during the campaign would have, “blurred the [center]of focus. I would have said so if anyone asked. I do not feel embarrassed about it but neither will I tell it to people.” 

Chan now hopes to fight to implement the Sexual Orientation Discrimination Ordinance and fight for gay rights in Hong Kong. He says, “If I can’t fight for my own rights, how can I help the oppressed, and the underdogs?” 

Hong Kong’s current policy has protections for people based on gender, disability, and family status. But Chan believes it is still behind the times. “I think Hong Kong’s anti-discrimination ordinance is very backward. For so many years the ordinance includes sex discrimination, disability discrimination, and family status discrimination,” he says. “But when discussing homosexual discrimination, it’s really hard to pass the ordinance, as there is a strong conservative influence in the legislative counsel.”

He hopes that one day, same-sex marriage will be embraced in China, and plans to be among the first in line to take advantage of such progess. “I hope to invite the chief executive to attend my wedding. I’ll be an example. If the law is approved, it would be good to be the first one to get married.”

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