"When the human rights of LGBT people are abused, all of us are diminished. Every human life is precious -- none is worth more than another."
- Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations (29 September 2015)
While the western world has made considerable progress in legislation and public education, many countries in Asia are still lagging behind. A mix of taboo and cultural values have sidelined the needs of the LGBTI community even in highly developed cities such as Hong Kong.
Establishing Wooven allows me to participate and finance specific projects with local NGOs such as BMCC (Hong Kong's only LGBTI affirming church http://www.hkbmcc.org/home/) and Amnesty International. My mission includes personal sharing and workshops at universities to dispel the stigma of being a part of the LGBTI community. At the same time, I reinforce the fact that we are all born as individuals with different talents and potential to make a meaningful and positive impact on the world.
LGBTI individuals in Hong Kong face discrimination on a daily basis. A recent study commissioned by the Equal Opportunities Commission (2016) found that:
- Discrimination in schools and workplace are common.
- Almost 90% of the interviewees faced discrimination due to their sexual orientation or gender identity.
- More than 30% LGBTI individuals attempted suicide. The suicide rate of this group is double of that of the average population.
Source: Suen, Y.T., Wong, A.W.C, Barrow, A., Wong, M.Y., Mak, W.S., Choi, P.K., Lam, C.M., Lau, T.F. (2016). Study on Legislation against Discrimination on the Grounds of Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Intersex Status.
To address the mental health issues in the community, BMCC has trained several counselors and begun a program over three years ago to serve the LGBTI community.
To date, thousands of individuals have benefited from this service, but it is not enough. Our rooms are overbooked, and the current space has reached its capacity.
The city desperately needs a haven where personal stories can be shared without social pressure and more resources for counselors sympathetic to the cause.
With your help, we can continue to champion for LGBTI rights in Hong Kong and expand the services to make sure everyone who needs our help can find it.