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Expats put off Hong Kong by lack of LGBT protection

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Hong Kong’s lack of legislation against the discrimination of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people could be causing expatriate employees to turn away from city.

Speaking at the first international symposium on LGBT issues, British consul general Caroline Wilson said there have been incidences where the lack of protection resulted in the city losing out on talent.

“Speaking personally, I’ve been aware of people in the community, or who have previously been in the community, who’ve spoken to me about the problems they’ve incurred,” South China Morning Post reported her saying at the event, which was jointly organised by the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC), the European Union and Chinese University’s gender research centre.

“Not everybody … is able to realise their potential in a situation where you’ve got rights … not being protected, and people suffering discrimination and harassment as a result of their sexual orientation.”

She added it is important for Hong Kong to attract and maintain global talent if it wants to remain a global financial centre.

Dr York Chow Yat-ngok, chairman of the EOC, said he was disappointed only two of the 70 invited lawmakers attended a closed-door discussion on sexuality issues, with only one of the religious leaders invited – a Muslim imam – in attendance.

Currently, the EOC is looking into the possibility of legislation help to prevent discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, it reported.

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