A British lesbian has finally won a court battle against Hong Kong’s immigration department to work and live in the city with her partner.
The landmark decision is history in the making, and is a first for same-sex couples in the relatively conservative country. While same-sex activity is legal, LGBTQ people in Hong Kong may face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents.
The British woman – known only as QT – faced this exact struggle after her partner landed a job in Hong Kong back in 2011, where she was denied a visa and forced to stay on as a visitor without the right to work.
However, after years of battling their court system, QT finally won the right to live in the city when the Court of Final Appeal claimed it was “counter-productive” to not extend depend work rights to same-sex couples.
The court also claimed that visas are granted “because he or she has the talent or skills deemed needed or desirable. Such a person could be straight or gay”.
After the ruling, QT said in a statement: ‘Today’s ruling by the Court of Final Appeal affirms what millions of us in this wonderful and vibrant city know to be true, that discrimination based on sexual orientation is offensive and demeaning.
“It offends against Hong Kong’s core values and undermines the rule of law.”
Despite Hong Kong’s lack of right for the LGBTQ community, the city did make history last year by becoming the first Asian city to host the Gay Games.
A new poll has also emerged, which found that support for legalising same-sex marriage in Hong Kong jumped 12% over a four-year-period, as well as overall support for the community.
Seen Yiu-tung, an academic who took part in the study, said: “Our study shows that support for the rights of same-sex couples has grown markedly over a short period.”
The study also found that the there was a huge discrepancy between the law and the opinion of the city’s residents.
“While 69 per cent of Hong Kong people said they favour having a law to protect against sexual orientation discrimination, the government of Hong Kong has yet to enact such legislation,” explained Kelley Loper, director of the HKU’s Centre for Comparative and Public Law.
Hopefully we’ll see a massive increase in LGBTQ rights in Hong Kong following QT’s historic win, and the incredible increase in public opinion tirades the LGBTQ community.