maxresdefaultHong Kong: Overseas talented workers are shying away from moving to Hong Kong because of the city’s lack of protection for LGBT people, says a senior British diplomat.

Since Hong Kong has no legislation against discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation many expatriates were put off working here, said British consul general Caroline Wilson, according to

“I’ve been aware of people in the community, or who have previously been in the community, who’ve spoken to me about the problems they’ve incurred,” she said during on the sidelines of Hong Kong’s first international symposium on LGBT issues that was recently organized by the Equal Opportunities Commission, the European Union and Chinese University’s gender research centre.

Wilson said it was important to attract global talent and make the most of the existing workforce to maintain the city’s status as a global financial centre.

Not everybody is able to realize their potential in a situation where they are not being protected or where people suffer discrimination as a result of their sexual orientation, she said.

Same-sex marriages and civil partnerships are illegal in socially conservative Hong Kong, where same-sex relations was only decriminalized in 1991. Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is not banned in Hong Kong and much of society remains opposed to equal laws for same-sex couples.

Hong Kong is a former British colony and LGBT activists are at a loss as to why the former Crown Colony which is heavily influenced by British laws and legislation does not legislate similar equality laws prevailing in the United Kingdom.