Despite its acceptance of SOGI being protected characteristics under the non-discrimination principle embedded in human rights treaties, the Hong Kong Government tries to distinguish vertical protections (which apply between government/public authorities and individuals/groups) from horizontal protections (which apply between non-state actors; private individuals and bodies), and is reluctant to incorporate positive equality protections and international human rights standards on equality through legislative reform.

Then legislative councillor Cyd Sau-lan Ho initiated a member’s motion back in 2012/13 urging the Hong Kong Government to “expeditiously launch public consultation on enacting legislation” against discrimination on people of different sexual orientations, it was however voted down after a heated debate (see LegCo Official Record of Proceedings, Equal Rights for People of Different Sexual Orientations, 1526-1625 (Nov. 17, 2012)).

The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC), the statutory body responsible for the elimination of discrimination and promotion of equality in Hong Kong, do actually considers cases from transgender individuals under the Disability Discrimination Ordinance (DDO) (Cap. 487 of the Laws of Hong Kong).  This, however, could be problematic since it forces transgender individuals to frame their gender identity as an illness and disorder for more protection.

This project is supported by the HKU Knowledge Exchange Fund granted by the University Grants Committee.