LGBT+ Business Climate Score

Out Leadership’s snapshot of the current state of affairs for LGBT+ people, through the lens of international business. The Business Climate Score score is out of ten possible points, and is based on ten independently verifiable indicators of the legal, cultural and business context for LGBT+ people.

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1.
Are consensual homosexual acts between adults legal?
1
Yes, in private and if participants are over 16
2.
Are marriage or civil unions for same-sex couples available?
0
No
3.
Is being LGBT+ punishable by death?
1
No
4.
Are sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in employment prohibited?
0.5
Only in the public sector
5.
Can transgender people legally change their gender markers?
0.5
Yes, but with severe restrictions
6.
Is sex reassignment surgery at birth for intersex children prohibited?
0
No
7.
Are sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in the provision of goods and services prohibited?
0.5
in the public sector
8.
Is there a U.S. State Department warning against travel for LGBT+ individuals?
1
No
9.
Do companies sponsor Pride?
0.5
International companies, not local
10.
Are there laws prohibiting freedom of assembly or speech for LGBT+ people (i.e. “anti-propaganda laws”, media gags, etc)?
1
No
Talking Points
  • We applaud Hong Kong’s judiciary for deciding to grant dependent visas to same-sex spouses of foreign professionals in the QT Case. It’s welcome progress – but it’s also just one small step towards equality for LGBT+ people in Hong Kong. LGBT+ talent is paying close attention to the debates over relationship recognition, marriage equality, and anti-discrimination laws in employment and other sectors.
  • As soon as the verdict in the QT Case was handed down, business boosters for Hong Kong began discussing how the new spousal visa policy would be a competitive advantage for the city, relative to its competitors in the region. Additional progress on LGBT+ equality in Hong Kong would likewise enhance the city’s international reputation as a place to live and work.
  • The Court of Appeal’s June 2018 decision (Angus Leung v Director of Immigration) to deprive same-sex spouses of spousal employment and tax benefits makes it clear that LGBT+ couples remain second-class citizens. They are also denied equal rights in relation to many areas of relationship rights or benefits in Hong Kong such as public housing, inheritance rights, parental rights, adoption and IVF treatment. This environment makes it more challenging to motivate top talent to relocate talent to Hong Kong.
  • The government’s delay in enacting acting on gender identity rules leaves trans people in limbo, which complicates my ability to recommend that trans talent relocate or invest in Hong Kong. The city should enact as soon as possible such gender recognition legislation, and not have as a requirement that persons undertake speed up the process of recognizing the stated gender of trans people, regardless of whether they’ve had gender affirmation surgery.
Talking Points
Impact of LGBT+ Discrimination on Business and Talent
  • 1
    NO RISK
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    LOW RISK
  • 3
    MODERATE RISK
  • 4
    NOTABLE RISK
  • 5
    HIGH RISK
BRAND RISK
  • 2
    LOW RISK
Hong Kong is a liberal city where a majority of residents support banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and large global brands sponsor Pink Dot, Pink Season and other LGBT+ events. There’s little brand risk to doing business there.
CLIENT RISK
  • 1
    NO RISK
There is little to no client risk associated with doing business in Hong Kong.
TALENT RISK
  • 2
    LOW RISK
Since summer 2018, partners of LGBT+ people in same-sex partnerships are now permitted into Hong Kong on dependent visas if they married or entered into a civil partnership in a place that permits those relationships. However, same-sex spouses still don’t get other key relationship rights, such as concerning employment, adoption, public housing.
MARKETING RISK
  • 2
    LOW RISK
Companies that have marketed to the LGBT+ community in Hong Kong have faced some level of backlash from religious conservatives, but many companies continue to do so prominently.
Socio-Cultural Environment for LGBT+ People

Status of LGBT+ Organizing and Community

  • — The momentum supporting LGBT+ causes is growing. Pink Dot, an outdoor pride festival modeled on the one in Singapore, attracted over 10,000 attendees in 2016 and will be celebrating its fifth anniversary in October 2018.
  • —  In 2022, Hong Kong will also be the first Asian city to host the Gay Games.

Cultural Views of the LGBT+ Community

  • — In 2017, the University of Hong Kong Centre for Comparative and Public Law released a study that found 50% of the respondents supported same-sex marriage. This is a 12% increase over 2013. The study also found that 78% of Hong Kong residents felt that same-sex couples should have at least some of the rights enjoyed by opposite-sex couples, a 5% increase over 2013 numbers. This all runs counter to recent government laws and policies which deny same sex couples most relationship rights.
  • — The same study showed a growing support for legislation prohibiting discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, and for the rights of same-sex couples in matters of health and finances.
  • —  A recent study showed that 78% of LGBT+ women in Hong Kong have experienced domestic violence – and only 22% of them felt comfortable reporting the incident to authorities.
Local Leaders Advocating for LGBT+ Equality

There are many openly LGBT+ leaders in Hong Kong. Out Leadership has worked with, and recommends:

  • Peter Charles Reading, Legal Counsel, Equal Opportunities Commission
  • Joanne Leung, chairperson, Transgender Resource Center
  • Fern Ngai, Community Business