Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor

My Boyfriend-Spouse-Husband-Partners

After my own needs for safety, food, love and belonging-ness, I am concerned for those of my boyfriend. But hes not really my boyfriend after living together for 15 years we really should be common law spouses.

But if he is my spouse, then who is the husband and who is the wife? Sometimes he acts more like a room-mate than anything else, and he's not really my partner because we're not in business together. Frequently he's a pain in the neck, but people would be confused if I refer to him as my "pain in the neck." My way of coping with this dilemma is to just call him "that great looking guy over there with the IQ of 170." But I still don't know what he is......

People outside of Hong Kong are fond of describing how we going through an identity crisis. Rarely does anyone inside or outside of Hong Kong ever discuss the Lesbian and Gay community here. I wonder if they have any idea how severe the identity crisis is for us?

On the last day before the changeover, the Equal Opportunity Bill which would outlaw discrimination based on sexuality was defeated by a margin of only 2 votes. Ever since the bill was introduced in 95, those who spoke against the bill gave no specific explanation why the general public was not ready for it. We heard in extremely vague terms how such a law would be "bad for business." Obviously the power brokers in Hong Kong don't have any idea how much energy is wasted by those who go to extraordinary efforts to conceal their sexuality. Wouldn't this energy be much better put to use by solving real business issues?

I think compared to Joe Heterosexual, I'm a fairly well adjusted adult. I'm not proud of being gay, nor am I ashamed. I simply am gay. All right, once in a while when someone assumes that I'm straight, I don't always seize the opportunity to open their eyes. When these chances to educate someone pass by, and I keep my mouth shut, I feel a bit guilty. Most of us strongly agree that letting others know that gay people are everywhere, and that we're every bit as ordinary and boring as straight people is a far more effective way of obtaining equality than demanding our rights by parading through town wearing all those silly outfits the press love to take pictures of.

And one of the reason's I consider myself to be well adjusted is because I was lucky enough to find a man who was as eager to make a commitment to me as I was to him. In spite of a culture which idolizes marriage and family life, the divorce rate among heterosexuals in Hong Kong still is very high. But with all the propaganda that circulates in the community claiming that homosexuals are "sex starved child abusers," it's a minor miracle that we are able to rise above is and start serious relationships at all!

Where did I meet my boyfriend-spouse-husband-partner? We met in Chicago, a city which now has legislation not only outlawing all forms of discrimination based on sexuality, but a requirement that all businesses which give benefits to husbands or wives of employees, also do the same for boyfriend-spouse-husband-partners of lesbian and gay employees. It's a little bit sad when I look back at the USA, and see how far they have gone in the past ten years, when here in Asia, we seem to be going in the opposite direction.

In early July, "IS" the Singapore version of Hong Kong's highly successful and popular "HK" magazine was banned by their government. Singapore is a country where simply being gay is a crime. No one who is gay in Singapore even uses the word "gay." In a place as outwardly hostile to homosexuals as Singapore, IS provided one of the few discreet avenues for Lesbians and Gay men to meet each other through the personal adverts. The Singapore Ministry of Information and Arts claimed that the magazine had flouted guidelines against the exploitation of sex to sell magazines and encouraged "undesirable lifestyles" like homosexuality, describing them as "lewd."

It seems that the government in Singapore would rather that we not meet each other. I guess the power brokers in Singapore feel that we should lead lives of secret alone-ness and intimidation. One wonders if the Singaporean government wouldn't actually prefer their lesbian and gay citizens to marry heterosexuals? Or perhaps each other? When are the lights gonna be turned on down there?

With Hong Kong's increasing resemblance to Singapore, is it any wonder that the lesbians and gays in Hong Kong are going through an identity crisis? Not only do we have to figure out if we are Chinese, British, or Hong Kong-ese, but now we have to figure out to what extent we can "come out of the closet" or perhaps whether we should go back in. To what degree will our own government begin to consider us to be hooligans, as those north of the border are labelled just before their incarceration in hard labour re-education camps?

Someone recently suggested that the Hong Kong Immigration Department establish a new quota for immigrants arriving from China. We now allow 150 children to cross the border into Hong Kong every day, why not let 50 homosexuals and 50 lesbians enter as well? Of course I'm in favour of this idea, but I'm not so sure their lives will actually be that much better that much longer.

Robin Adams

1998 (c) Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor