Public Attitudes towards LGBT+ Legal Rights in Hong Kong

Opposition towards LGBT+ legal rights in Hong Kong is at a historical low. The Government, politicians, and policy makers now lack empirical ground to argue Hong Kong is still not ready to implement laws and policies addressing equal rights for LGBT+ people in Hong Kong.

Out Leadership is a proud supporter of the work of the Sexualities Research Programme at The Chinese University of Hong Kong. In September 2019 a territory-wide representative telephone survey was conducted in Hong Kong using a random sample of 1,058 Chinese-speaking people aged 18+.

Earlier this month survey findings were presented in Wan Chai, Hong Kong. It is our goal to help drive debates at organizational and societal levels – including media, policy makers, lawyer, and advocates – to effect changes on this important topic.

Some Research Highlight to Note:

  • 60% of the respondents (as compared to 56% in 2016 according to the EOC-CUHK study) said they very much agreed/agreed that, overall, there should be legal protection against discrimination for people of different sexual orientations in Hong Kong. 27% stayed neutral. Only 12% of the respondents said they very much disagreed/disagreed with that (as compared to 35% in 2016 according to the EOC-CUHK study).
  • 49% of the respondents said they very much agreed/agreed that a homosexual/tongzhi should be able to marry their partner. 28% stayed neutral. Only 23% said they disagreed/very much disagreed with that.
  • Among the respondents aged 18-34, the support for legal protection against discrimination for people of different sexual orientations in Hong Kong and the right for a homosexual/tongzhi to marry their partner is at about 80%.
  • 74% of the respondents said they had heard of the term ‘transgender’. Only 18% of the respondents said they were unaccepting of transgender people. Only 10% of the respondents said they disagreed/very much disagreed that, overall, there should be legal protection against discrimination for transgender people in Hong Kong.
  • It was found that there is increasing public support for businesses that are LGBT+ inclusive. Only 18% of the respondents said they would have a more negative view of a business organization if it provides sponsorship for gay parade. Only 11% of the respondents said they would have a more negative view of a business organization if it provides benefits to same-sex partners.
  • The study debunks the myths that age, religion, and family values translate into wholesale rejection of protection of LGBT+ legal rights. It was found that those who viewed the development in Taiwan regarding same-sex marriage more positively were also more supportive of LGBT+ legal rights in Hong Kong.

As compared to the previous study, an increasing number of the respondents said they would have a more positive impression of a business organization if it takes positive actions or stances on LGBT+ legal rights. In recent years, an increasing number of business organizations and, in particular, multinational corporations, have stood up for LGBT+ legal rights publicly in Hong Kong. Perhaps this Study gives them reassurance that their actions are not met with as much disapproval as they might have feared. Instead, they may be making an impression on the general public in Hong Kong, among which opposition towards LGBT+ legal rights is declining.

Thank you to the other research sponsors — AXA, Blackrock, EY, Hong Kong Gay and Lesbians Attorneys Network, HSBC, Justin D’Agostino, KPMG, Ropes & Gray, and UBS — for joining Out Leadership and helping make this research possible.