In 2012, after she entered a civil partnership with her girlfriend, Gigi Chao’s father offered $65 million to any man who could win her heart and “make her straight” – a move that grabbed global headlines and inadvertently established Chao as one of the leading advocates for LGBT+ rights in Asia.
While homosexuality has been decriminalized in Hong Kong, the LGBT+ community still faces discrimination and lacks access to marriage. Chao, the Executive Vice Chairman at Cheuk Nang (Holdings) Ltd and a member of Out Leadership’s Global Advisory Board, believes that business can drive change.
Speaking with Thomson Reuters Foundation, Chao said: “What we found to be most effective is to engage top executives and allow them to see how inclusion, diversity and equality is something they should, and they shall, stand for and let it cascade down the organization.”
In 2017, at Out Leadership’s Asia LGBT+ Senior Leader Summit, Chao similarly noted that “Businesses need to create a safe space for workers to thrive and be their full selves. It works best if it comes from the highest levels, so attitudes can cascade down and be embraced throughout organizations. It is also important to express again and again, and make it clear, that LGBT+ rights are based in universal human rights, and that neither Hong Kong nor any other jurisdiction ought to be allowed to hide behind the excuse of a discriminatory culture.”