By Melissa Tsang
Hong Kong-Crowds of people paraded with bright rainbow flags in their hands and brilliant smiles on their faces, decorating downtown Hong Kong a sea of colorful banners. On the 3.1-kilometer-long parade path from Victoria Park to Tamar Park, some worn eye-catching wigs, some put on big sunglasses, some attired in cross-dressing ancient costumes with heavy makeup.
It was a drizzly day in November, 8,900 people participated the 6th Hong Kong Pride Parade, reaching the historical high, the organizer released. Among the energetic revelers, two middle-aged men without exaggerated facial expressions looked somewhat different. They appeared natural and calm, whispering at an obscure corner.
They were Brian and Eric, gay friends but not a couple. Brian was 53 years old, who engaged in transport services. “It was seven years old, the first time when I was vaguely aware of my intimacy to men,” Brian said with faintly grin. It was a much more conservative society in 1960s. Brian could do nothing except self-doubt and inner struggles when he found the fact that his sexual orientation was different from other boys. “I thought I was a monster,” he added.
Hong Kong Legislative Council decriminalized homosexuality on July 11, 1990, with 31 votes in favor, 13 votes against, according to the official archives. “That was the turning point of my life, because I began to be relieved about my homosexual identity,” Brian recalled with eyes glistening. He was 30 years old that year.
Gays and lesbians tended to open their identity prudently, for there was a risk to break good friendship. “The majority of my friends did not know my sexual orientation,” Brian said, “some would not speak it out, but the behavior of alienation was obvious.” Brian used to reveal his secret to a colleague, however, this put their relationship to an end. Brian was not wealthy, “if economic conditions permitted, I might immigrate to an open country at a young age,” but life was never about a second chance.
The controversy about gay never ends. Opponents treat AIDS as the revenge for gay people. Brian denied, “heterosexual also get HIV virus, ” he believed that was just because more gay people had the opportunity to know they are infected. Objectors from Christians think LGBTs are sinners, “it was kind of morally hijacked,” Brian considered they should pay more attention to those who really brought damages to the society. Besides, gay people get increased cynicism for a marriage of convenience, which means a gay getting married with a lesbian. It seems to be a compromise between real-me and pressure from society. “I can understand them, but I will never do that,” Brian explained.
For the future of Hong Kong’s gay rights, Brian is optimistic. He believes the situation will be better and better in an enlightened society, like the social tolerance of homosexuality now is far beyond the past when he was young. Further, Brian expects more, a society of equality and fairness.