After Hong Kong lesbian socialite Gigi Chao wrote an open letter to her billionaire father, Cecil Chao, who was offering a staggering $128 million “dowry” to any man that would marry her, asking him to “just not be so terrified” of her female partner of nine years, the elder Chao rescinded his offer.
On January 30, in an interview with CNN, Cecil Chao admitted, “If Gigi’s said that this is what she chooses, then it’s all over…[the reward money]stays in my pocket.”
However, he isn’t ready to fully accept her sexuality or her partner. “I can’t say I am happy…I have no intention of mixing my life with her life. But if this is what she wants, then I respect her choice.”
Chao has been with partner Sean Eav for nearly a decade, and the two women married in a French civil ceremony in 2012—yet in a January 2014 interview with Malaysian newspaper Nanyang Siang Pau, Mr. Chao still claimed his daughter was single and that it wasn’t “too late” for her.
In the January 2014 CNN interview, he said he learned his daughter is a lesbian when he “saw it in the paper.” Even though they “see each other every day,” he said, “her private life is hers.”
In Gigi Chao’s open letter, she told her father, “I’ve spent a lot of time figuring out who I am, what is important in my life, who I love and how best to live life, as an expression of all these questions. I am proud of my life, and I would not choose to live it any other way (except also figuring out how to be gentler on the planet).
“I’m sorry to mislead you to think I was only in a lesbian relationship because there was a shortage of good, suitable men in Hong Kong.
“There are plenty of good men, they are just not for me.”
In addition to her work as the executive director at the Cheuk Nang property development company owned by her father, Gigi Chao is also a founder of the anti-poverty Faith in Love Foundation and the gay rights group Big Love Alliance.