Screen-Shot-2012-11-14-at-9.40.16-AMMacau: Macau’s leading gay rights NGO has launched an online survey in order to better help and understand the territory’s LGBT community.

The survey was launched May 21 by the Rainbow of Macau association. The survey includes both local Chinese residents to foreign workers and students living in the territory, reports

Anthony Lam, the association’s director-general, told a press conference at such a survey was needed because of a lack of information on the local LGBT community, and a lag in related social services.

“The survey aims to gather information on the scenarios and challenges LGBT people face in Macau. Such information is crucial in showing how accepting local people are to LGBTs along with the adequacy of support offered by local organizations,” he said, according to the report.

Lam said that the survey will include “questions on adequacy of local support, local sexual literacy, and level of stigmatization.”

The survey will be both in Chinese and English. Organizers have invited four scholars from Hong Kong and Macau to review the findings.

LGBT individuals account for 5 to 7 percent of the global population. “The statistics in Macau shouldn’t deviate much, which means about 30,000 people [are LGBT],” said  Jason Chao, the group’s spokesperson.

According to Chao that Macau’s laws to protect the LGBT community is “relatively progressive” however, citizens are “quite conservative” toward the community.

“LGBT equality is still considered a taboo among Macau citizens,” he stressed. There are many people who oppose same-sex relations, don’t feel comfortable to speak up or  debate on the issue publically, he said.

Not only residents but also the social service departments and associations seem embarrassed to speak on such a topic and lack a specific category or promotion for related services, he added.

“Many LGBT people are suffering from gender dysphoria. Last year’s survey recorded an alarming figure [indicating] that 20 percent of the respondents had considered committing suicide,” stressed Lam. “Because of a lack of experience, Macau has no services tailored to the LGBT community.”

The online survey is scheduled to close on June 21, and the result is expected to be released by early July. “We will use the information we collected in the petition; we hope the government will look into our report and focus on the fields of interest,” said Chao.

The first-ever survey for the LGBT people in Macau was conducted in early 2013 but received only about 200 responses largely because it was available only in Chinese, organizers say.

Rainbow of Macau is the first pro-LGBT organization in Macau. It aims to improve the social status, livelihood and server of the LGBT community in Macau. It was officially registered in April 2013.