HONG KONG– A man called in, 42, having a family of two children. “I think I’m gay. Should I come out or I just kill myself?”
Phone calls like this rings in the office of Rainbow of Hong Kong every day.
Rainbow of Hong Kong is a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) non-governmental organization, concerned about protecting LGBT’s rights, pushing legislation of sex orientation discrimination and fighting for legitimating gay marriage.
Tian, answered the call, but he neither said yes nor no. “He knows he is gay for many years, but only too weak to face it. I can only can help him accept himself the way he is, a gay.”
When Tian was kicked out of his home, he was 19 and gay, after his father disclosed him calling another male “my love”. Just graduating from high school, the homeless boy barely could feed himself by odd jobs. That’s then he turned to Rainbow of Hong Kong.
Rainbow of Hong Kong offers telephone counseling out of privacy concern. And Tian, the boy who was thrown out of his home, is the one who provides psychological counseling. Now he is the executive officer of Rainbow of Hong Kong, and also a liberal studies major graduate from Hong Kong University.
“Till this day, my father still said his son is dead.” Tian said with ease and smiled, “my mother cried secretly for me being gay, but she never scold me to my face.”
Rainbow of Hong Kong provides a shelter for those like Tian, ruled out by their original society and seeking for recognition. This is small group consisting of 10 regular staff, eight of whom are gay and one transsexual. It is sited inside a shabby building, amid the crowd of convenient and cheap hotels.
“It is extremely hard for LGBT organization to survive,” Tian said. Founded in 1998, Rainbow of Hong Kong has survived through shortage in funds, loss of volunteers, “indifference” from government, and “damnation” from the conservatives.
Providing free AIDS test, helping the old homosexuals who have no children and families, operating parades, and fighting for legitimate rights are the major affairs for Rainbow of Hong Kong. Until 1991, homosexual sex became decriminalized in Hong Kong. Since then LGBT rights groups have lobbied the Legislative Councilto enact civil rights laws that include sexual orientation, coming to nothing.
“Hong Kong tags itself as an International city full of tolerance and diversity. But the government neither openly discriminates LGBT nor it tries to help this community.”
A transsexual student, 20, was cut financial support by his parents. Neither will her parents provide documents for her to apply for special accommodation in school. “In this case, we can only pressure the government department for not considering the fact and demanding for documents insistently.” Tian said.
Tian’s pay check can only cover his daily expense. “What is money for? Happiness. Isn’t it I am enjoying now?” Tian said, with laughter.
“I believe in an equitable world. The ideal of promoting social equality and justice of Rainbow of Hong Kong appeals me.” Tian said. “And that is something I want to devote my life to.”