7370648734_5b31a75c1b_zHong Kong: A new study that tackles the issue of equality rights in Hong Kong aims to document the debate between LGBTI activists, radical conservatives and the local government.

Entitled “The Feasibility Study on Legislating against Discrimination on the Grounds of Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Intersex Status,” it was commissioned by the Equal Opportunities Commission, Gender Research Centre of Hong Kong and the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

This was necessitated due to current debates on whether or not Hong Kong should have an anti-discrimination law to protect sexual minorities, according to timeout.com.hk.

The study aims to gather extensive public data and opinion to identify the extent and forms of discrimination experienced by the LGBTI community over the course of one year.

“This is a very special study,” said Dr Ferrick Chu, head of the policy and research unit of the Equal Opportunities Commission.

“So far, the government has treated the issue in a superficial manner. This time we are giving them actual scenarios, case studies and a collection of public opinions so they can make a decision on something concrete,” Chu told timeout.com.hk.

“Say, for example, a teacher was terminated because of his or her sexual identity. We then present the situation to a diverse group and see if they agree or disagree with happened and why,” Chu elaborated.

The study has a few key elements. There are going to be three public forums called ‘Retrospect and Prospect’, ‘Interregional Comparison’ and ‘Fight or Flight?’

Each forum is going to have a facilitator and a collection of academic speakers, religious speakers, educators, parents and sexual minorities discussing LGBTI topics, he added.

For the purposes of the study, a quarter of the audience will be made up of LGBTI NGO’s, a quarter from concern groups and half from the public.

The first public forum, ‘Retrospect and Prospect’, was completed on June 9.

“This (study) is in accord with the UN, which has already criticized the Hong Kong government for not upholding the international obligation to grant protection for minorities and sexual minorities,” said deputy chairperson of the Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor, solicitor Chong Yiu-kwong.

Reverend Po Kam-cheung, general secretary of the Hong Kong Christian Council, was in support of the study. “I think this study opens up further discussion and understanding, which is important,” says Po.

Twenty focus groups have been arranged to gather public opinions – 10 focus groups for LGBTI people and 10 focus groups for the public.

Each group will be made up of eight people from varying employment statuses, age groups, religions and other groups that represent HK society.

The focus groups are running from July to October.

The issue on anti-discrimination rights of the LGBTI community will be brought to the legislative council for discussion next June.

Source: timeout.com.hk