Unholy scenes: scuffles as Hong Kong LGBT activists storm Catholic talk on anti-sexual discrimination laws
Rainbow Action protesters demand dialogue with church on proposed legislation
Sexual minority activists from Rainbow Action clash with helpers as they try to enter a talk at St Jude’s Church in North Point.
[Inspired by the ChiComs to embarrass the Church?]
PUBLISHED : Sunday, 13 March, 2016
South China Morning Press
Scuffles broke out at a church on Sunday after sexual minority activists stormed into a talk on homosexuality and an anti-sexual orientation discrimination law, forcing the event to be cancelled.
The LGBT activists were calling for an open dialogue with the Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong on protections and exemptions in a proposed Sexual Orientation Discrimination Ordinance.
It came after Cardinal John Tong urged believers to consider candidates’ views on gay rights when voting in last November’s district council elections.
Half an hour into the talk at St Jude’s Church in North Point, on how the issues could affect beliefs and families, protesters from Rainbow Action tried to enter the venue but were blocked by helpers.
The pushing escalated into full-blown altercation, lasting about six minutes, before around 10 protesters managed to enter a hall of the church. Screams could be heard from a female helper, while the two groups argued over whether the event was public.
The church then allowed the protesters to sit in for the talk before the event was cancelled abruptly after around 10 minutes. A helper said the talk was only opened to Catholic churchgoers.
Rainbow Action member Jimmy Shan insisted the group called the church to ask about the event beforehand, and was told participants did not need to register.
Police said no arrests were made but a nuisance case complaint was filed. There were no reports of injuries.
One participant in the event said it was cancelled after organisers noticed the audience had been disturbed by the incident and could not focus on the talk.
But Rainbow Action spokesman Tommy Chen suspected the cancellation was due to something the church did not want the activists to hear.
The protest by the group began peacefully, with members making known through speeches and leaflets their wish for the Catholic church to provide a date and venue within two weeks to conduct the open dialogue.
“We do not want the Catholic Church to be used by the government as a shield for the delay in anti-sexual orientation discrimination legislation,” said Shan.
Another participant in the talk called the activists’ action “barbaric”, while two other church members said they were open to discussing anti-discrimination laws with sexual minority activists, but felt that it was “inappropriate” for them to be discussing the matter in the church building.
Rainbow Action said it would be sending an official letter to the Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong by Monday.