Anti-LGBTQ lawmakers call for ban on Hong Kong Gay Games, saying it poses threat to national security

Anti-LGBTQ lawmakers have urged authorities to ban the Hong Kong Gay Games set to open this weekend, claiming it poses a threat to national security and demanding the resignation of a top government adviser officiating at the event.

Ridiculing their claims on Wednesday, Executive Council convenor Regina Ip vowed to continue her open support for the Games, while the organisers insisted they were holding a sports and cultural event to promote inclusivity and unity.

The 11th Gay Games run from November 3 to 11 and will be held in Asia for the first time since the event’s inception in 1982, with about 2,000 athletes expected to compete.

Seven lawmakers – Junius Ho Kwan-yiu, Priscilla Leung Mei-fun, Peter Shiu Ka-fai, Duncan Chiu Tat-kun, Michael Lee Chun-keung, Carmen Kan Wai-mun and Tik Chi-yuen – held a press conference joined by more than a dozen other critics to voice their opposition to the event.

“We object to any Western ideology that sugar-coated its agenda in the name of diversity and inclusivity for a sports event, attempting to subvert national security,” lawmaker Junius Ho Kwan-yiu said.

Lawmakers including Junius Ho (third from right) present a letter at the Legislative Council building on Wednesday calling for a ban on the Gay Games. Photo: Edmond So

He described the event as a “criminal activity” that spread the ideology of gay rights, subverting traditional Chinese family values.

They were joined by a dozen critics of gay rights, including former Equal Opportunities Commission head Josiah Chok Kin-ming, who urged authorities to investigate whether the Games’ source of funding came from foreign organisations and amounted to collusion with external forces prohibited under the national security law.
The one-year countdown to the Gay Games is held last year. Among those attending were Hong Kong Gay Games co-chair Alan Lang (fourth from left), top adviser Regina Ip (centre) and Lan Kwai Fong Group chairman Allan Zeman (fourth from right). Photo: Jonathan Wong

He also hit out at Ip’s open advocacy for the Games and called on her to resign if she went ahead with officiating on Saturday.

“I am rather disappointed to see high-profile officials like Regina Ip herself argue against the government,” he said, referring to the contrast of her support for LGBTQ rights and certain broader official policies that favoured heterosexual couples.

In 2014, Chok was denied his end of contract gratuity after he distributed template letters at a church function opposing reforms of anti-discrimination laws he was helping to review.

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The Games’ organisers maintained they were not a political group and did not advocate for any political or legislative changes.

“We are a volunteer-driven group of people whose common goal is to bring about a safe, inclusive and welcoming sports, arts and culture event to Hong Kong,” they said. “We understand and acknowledge that there are various viewpoints on many social issues. Our focus is solely on promoting inclusivity and unity through sports and culture.”

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They had made it very clear to all participants they must strictly adhere to local laws, the organisers added.

Ip confirmed she would be officiating at the opening on Saturday and called the claims about the event “ridiculous”.

“If there is firm evidence that the Gay Games are in breach of national security laws, the police would have taken action,” said Ip, a former security chief. “I suspect the timing of the attacks are politically motivated, to smear my district council [election] candidates, one of whom has been harassed on-street because of my support for the Gay Games.”

Ip serves as chairwoman of the pro-establishment New People’s Party, which has put forward 29 candidates for the December poll, the first to be held under a “patriots-only” governing framework.

Gay rights advocate Jerome Yau called the lawmakers’ accusations “regrettable and unfortunate”.

“As we all know, the main purpose of the Gay Games is to promote diversity and inclusion,” Yau said. “I think this is something we all agree that it’s a good thing for Hong Kong and something we all cherish.”

Regina Ip says she suspects the timing of the attacks on the Games are politically motivated. Photo: Jonathan Wong

The founder of advocacy group Hong Kong Marriage Equality said claiming the Games posed a national security threat was “unthinkable”, stressing the event was organised by locals.

A government spokesman said any activity that took place in the city must not contravene the laws of Hong Kong.

“Law enforcement agencies will take action if there is any breach of the laws, whether it relates to general offences, crimes or acts endangering national security,” he said.

The city’s courts have handed gay couples a string of legal victories, most recently upholding a ruling protecting their inheritance rights.

Additional reporting by Connor Mycroft

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