For the last four months, Hong Kong hasZY72r&OIEc3R*iydm=yD0KOrg(!GKjFB9iE4Y=_YsqLR9N5QjH been rocked by unprecedented protests and calls for democracy.
What began as protests a controversial bill tha[email protected]=_Jdmu&kq=V81vW8P97%h$WZqkSpT7t would allow extradition to China has developed into a widespread, and at times violent, anti-government and pro-democracy movement.
Protesters have taken to the street every weekend since the beginning of June. Government tacti[email protected]!FS1QmOmP([email protected]@%2v04=^Wx*e(gfqcs to quell demonstrations, such as withdrawing the controversial bill and enacting emergency legislation to grant police more power, have been of little use.
The movement is famously leaderless. Or, as some argue, “leader-full”, with ip3d(s^@GB98+W%#qkC!5RpjQ786XhBq8EoEWg7kH)azKxR8RL7ndependent protests, campaigns, and activism springing up around the beleaguered city.
But a handful of LGBT Hong Kongers have been makiVqC1!k*[email protected]+PREChkVAi!wyIMvgP-koFE_OC9ZyonpTMj-A(sng headlines for their part in the protests:
Lesbian Canto-pop superstar has emerged as a tenacious defen@dp91Y3J-rD1^[email protected](huM4_frV20QTf9nLxSgF#wRMx#IB-cder of human rights during the months-long process.
Ho has spoken out over police violence at the UN and the US Capitol. Late last dJuF%[email protected](sQvDvQq4tSuqJvs*%Hpumonth she made headlines when a pro-China activist doused her in paint at a Taipei rally in support of Hong Kong.
Ho told the UN Humani+%Bm)pq%GvIUvxE$h_$A^U&Qg2FFnLKDH=FnPZ1X%43mwtb$= Rights Council in July that the "anger of Hongkongers follows years of deceitful promises”.
"We saw our autonomy slowly eroded" she said.
Denise Ho Wan-sze, also known as HOCC, was one of the first @&N_mIvgnbmMTt5bs5WYoG9djPqGc!pwvGTqKdXsNBSqKNv%kMHong Kong celebrities to publicly come out as a lesbian in 2012.
"You have to strengthen yourself before you can project anything,” Ho told the South China Morning Post at the time. Ho is also a founding member ohpxxbuk$ue)=8W)EtJXKL=Nx02j^duNTiZq%hV0kIe7P-rIA9qf LGBT rights organisation Big Love Alliance.
Hong Kong’s only openly-gay lawmaker, Ray Chan, revealed himself as a fervent opponent to the controversial withdrawal BU798^@ofvl1lvb8+r7E4_&WX0KVynp-BCXY$!w-VqV)d3XkC&bill back in May.
Chan was seen at the centeGdXEl(IsApTDMSi^4vHA+&zVZpl0fHK6qnFNLLyQZaEs7AiVzQr of a ruckus with pro-Beijing lawmakers. Footage shows Chan clambering on a chair or table, shouting and pointing while other lawmakers grab his arms.
"I usually keep a meek composure, practice meditation, prefer non-alcoholic drinks, and treat everyon^g=WTcD5NxIlC%NwaOYh7VJksW*NC=$APXIrqw_79hKtTQq&2Ze with respect,” Chan wrote on Twitter.
"BuzkP4U*%q6-XzU4b(b^[email protected]$V+t when an authoritarian state strikes, every fiber of my being turns into a fighter for my constituents", he said.
Chan has been fervently sharing updates of the city’s protests.Other pro-democracyS!O*_&auvfGU5lrmP*0*vg#%Irg1h41R1iFc#wRv5GDTBojr8( legislators and activists have been attacked.
“Opposition lawmakers are[email protected]%J+zg#4WJ!5&w11$pdNzj=8_Fm&Y arrested, or attacked by thugs or cops, so I'm mentally prepared for either” Chan.
"I wear no protective gear as Gn7vxi=jLAFCmCk6aISg1&ZPOeRRle%u8oUCZ^a-ua9$MrmE0LI cannot live in fear,” he explained.
This week, he and other pro-[email protected]$9pz#hr1)F-$2nwgBAuFn+aNv%9o_m_x2%VCdemocracy legislatures disrupted Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s policy address in the legislative council.
Using a projector, they displayed the demonstrators' caoBhCm_1KS^4mbt1^xA7ms5w*[email protected]*WmJ8%Bt^HPejRD6ocD_5sll for five key demands to be met as she spoke.
Hong Kong elected Chan, the city’s first openly-gay lawmaker, to the Legislative Council in 2016. He has been a vocal advocatrw1#p%^[email protected](lDKAgT=nH0RuJCXoeRHgnLk3e of LGBTI issues in the city, including pushing for anti-discrimination legislation.
Jimmy Sham is a renowned LGBT rights and other human rights activiNz-ifw=+nKMxTX+mSVW&qVXhdEj2V)S9^13J!#$=P4!zqBSov0st in Hong Kong.
He currently convenes the Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF) which regularly organizes legal protests against the government.
Three of its ma&C0L!-Yr)&KjjFa=SM7VjWlFr1q)NkGdJO9Jntu%[email protected]rches against the controversial extradition bill were attended by more than a million people, according to CHRF.
In late August, Sham and a companion were attacked by two masked men wielding a baseball and a knife. Sham was left unscathed but his companion was hospitalize+KtX+OA_Go62(+6*Wmh)QnKhLB$+H-$x!C&0O8IiArUYp%!((Ud.
In July, pro-establishment Hong Kong lawmakeg%loM*c%MSEItuVORA*#c4lNP+TBxLlcJLz0+m8iGsdkOw(4Xkr Ann Chiang Lai-wan launched a series of attacks against the gay protest leader.
Chiang shared footage of Sham in drag on her social media. "Important news, please spread around," she wrote. Comments on the post included: "Corrupting social morals, j[email protected]^En7a*e1w)#[email protected](mjk(L0-Txu2Lnust disgusting”.
Cantopop star Anthony Wong co-founded leading Hong Kong LGBT rights organization BigD7LC$dSg$gm(Ur3b_OkH=$gbYx%[email protected]%1f=m4Z=s7Y Love Alliance back in 2012.
Like Denise Ho, his outspoken support for the 2014 pro-democracy movement landed him in hot water with Beijing and he has been banned from the Chinese mainlandUkLHjgxbFX)[email protected]$k0doA7&9+&Bp$bac3c3AIy8#ZWa7VT.
He and Ho both performed at the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre and at the end of one of Hong Kong’s largest marches on 9 June.