Working with the LGBT community in Hong Kong
Written by Philip Howell-Williams on June 01, 2015.
Over the past eighteen months I have been working more and more with the LGBT community in Hong Kong to find out the issues they face and what I can do, both on a personal level and on a business level as an Infinity financial planner, to contribute towards change in a positive way.
At the end of 2014 I joined the Pink Alliance. This is a group of volunteers who for the last ten years have worked to unite nineteen disparate LGBT groups in Hong Kong under one umbrella. The groups concerned – as multifarious as Mr Gay Hong Kong and AIDS Concern – campaign on a broad spectrum of issues. Most of these groups are self-funding and pay for their own events but the Pink Alliance also lends financial support, paying for many events.
In addition, the Pink Alliance runs a mentorship programme matching LGBT university students with working professionals, lobbies for LGBT rights in Hong Kong (delegates have been sent to the UN Convention in Geneva) and is involved in a number of major events aimed at the LGBT community here in Hong Kong.
One of these is the Pink Season, an event which Infinity proudly sponsored in 2014. Over a six week period from late September until November the Pink Season hosted a programme of 84 LGBT events, the largest of its kind in Asia, encompassing culture, art, film, sports and social events. Pink Season 2015 promises to be even more successful with a new team from Plug Magazine and Out in HK working on a packed agenda which aims to offer something for everyone to enjoy.
Another initiative supported by the Pink Alliance is Pink Dot. Pink Dot Hong Kong was born in 2014 – an inclusive and non-political festival for people in the LGBT community based on a model which originated in Singapore six years ago. The initiative has been replicated around the world and there are now Pink Dot events held in Asia, Europe and America. The Hong Kong event was sponsored by many of the major banking groups and was a huge success with 12,000 attendees massively exceeding the 3,000 expected by the organisers.
This year both Pink Dot and Pink Season are planned to be bigger and better with more activities, higher attendance figures and increased inclusion for the local community. I have taken on the role of head fundraiser for the Pink Alliance which is involved in both events. It is a time-consuming role but is proving to be a fascinating experience. The formal meetings I have attended with heads of Diversity and Inclusion departments have given me a rare insight as to what large corporations really want to achieve here in Hong Kong. They all understand the need for inclusion and to find ways to limit discrimination. By getting on board with these events they are able to promote themselves publicly within the LGBT community without making any politic statement. More importantly to many of them, it is a great way for them to be able to reach out to members of staff within their own companies and show them that they are working for a company that is safe and accepting.
But what does this actually mean for the Hong Kong LGBT community? Although the public events are not political, they send out a clear message from the LGBT community and its allies that inclusion for everyone is the way forward for Hong Kong and its future.
At Infinity we have always had an inclusive mindset, which is why we are so proud of the work that we have been doing to understand the exclusion that currently exists. We are honoured to support these events and to help break down the barriers that currently exist for the LGBT community. If you find yourself in a position that means that you are unable to get financial advice from people that understand your specific needs then please get in contact with me today.