LGBT Group To Launch MTR Holding Hands Campaign

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2019-05-21 HKT 00:18

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  • LGBT rights groups are unhappy over the apparent refusal by the MTR and the Airport Authority to display a Cathay Pacific ad showing two men holding hands. Photo: Shutterstock

    LGBT rights groups are unhappy over the apparent refusal by the MTR and the Airport Authority to display a Cathay Pacific ad showing two men holding hands. Photo: Shutterstock

  • The billboard-sized advertisement is part of a campaign by Cathay Pacific. Photo: RTHK

    The billboard-sized advertisement is part of a campaign by Cathay Pacific. Photo: RTHK

LGBT group the Big Love Alliance on Monday launched a social media campaign, encouraging citizens to take photos of themselves holding hands with someone else in MTR stations as a way to express their displeasure, after the rail operator reportedly failed to display a Cathay advertisement showing two men holding hands. The Airport Authority also reportedly failed to display the advertisement.

Big Love Alliance launched the campaign even though the MTR had released a statement, saying it was committed to diversity and that advertising on its network had been contracted out to agencies. A Big Love Alliance spokesperson, Brian Leung, said the MTR appeared to be passing the buck.

"When you hire a sales agency to screen the ad for you, I mean you have to say - in setting up the rules and regulations - what can be shown and what cannot be shown," he said. "So you are to blame. You cannot pass the ball to the sales agency."

Billy Leung, from the Hong Kong Equality Project, was also critical.

"I think this is a clear, shambling failure to give their commitment to equality and non-discrimination to LGBTI people," he said. "To reject the message simply because it features two men holding hands."

Hong Kong's only openly gay lawmaker, Ray Chan of People Power, says he too would encourage people to post pictures on social media to raise awareness.

"My friends and I might even gather hundreds of couples to hold hands at an MTR station as a form of public protest," he said.

Chan, who has written to the government about the failure of the MTR and the Airport Authority to display the Cathay ad, says the situation is especially disappointing to many Hong Kong people given recent developments in Taiwan. On Friday, Taiwan's parliament passed a bill legalising same-sex unions. It gave gay couples nearly all the rights afforded to heterosexual couples, with the exception of non-biological adoption.

In its statement, the MTR said it didn't tolerate any form of discrimination on the grounds of race, gender, disability, age, sexual orientation, family status or any other factor.