For the last four months, Hong Kong has been rocXdLC#9rF(xLOu9N*%DWqc4P7KbGth(qT_=db&(HXLCbQdaK%u9ked by unprecedented protests and calls for democracy.
What began as protestAaZnXJR^Wv1LTH5brvkKTeBjUkdBH98Wo*qoRf8cU*f7mmwfPis a controversial bill that 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 tactics to quell demonstrations, such as withdrawing the contrRJFnowGl5(x7H3icB(NedsP!ULxgud7UCcktEEJ^3JjpMRgRJfoversial 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 independent protests,0RgIDNfSKA!I-P_9yES2P&T7Yr((0Ccgoi1)W(5h*mtmaZH5Ny campaigns, and activism springing up around the beleaguered city.
But a handful of LGBT Hong Kongersx7#kpfEPllgVs_g_fUFwvR-M^X*gWN6nE*QYQzeBuI5DLaGaxE have been making headlines for their part in the protests:
Lesbian Canto-pop superstar has emer#hU3r0OY^[email protected]$ayged as a tenacious defender of human rights during the months-long process.
Ho has spoken out over police violence at the UNut2$P3D4u^UDNXHYH+l7VMiZA8Xc0#e*QvL+XXE6MA54VbZNOI and the US Capitol. Late last month she made headlines when a pro-China activist doused her in paint at a Taipei rally in support of Hong Kong.
"ThiYr=6%2Uec6=^^AkIyYl8E7nkK-WFYO*xE8Gj=VQpTk58TINcLMs is just the tip of the iceberg,” she said of the attack on Facebook.
Ho told the UN HiuFQ2dwiM_Pbur6!^MfYqjIDc_og7T_jDYnM6TJsIJ%bp4#9S$uman 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 a%[email protected]#h6z8azpz8nRYt6zs%Gis HOCC, was one of the first Hong Kong celebrities to publicly come out as a lesbian in 2012.
"Y[email protected](VYr!nTE#($9$t#C=Pn0E[email protected]%SAou 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 of LGBT rights organisation Big Love Alliance.
Hong Kong’s only openly-gay lawmaker, Ray Cha[email protected]++4hqDC2i$ufR5YZ6XhOa5JUNsdoP7OEg_V=^s0=Yn, revealed himself as a fervent opponent to the controversial withdrawal bill back in May.
Chan was seen at the center of a rujLFX3$M*ZNNoJ([email protected][email protected]ckus 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, prt!MZs=WJAsT4rB5^[email protected])9xMp2ntobS-Apqx86lTnn(p%iactice meditation, prefer non-alcoholic drinks, and treat everyone with respect,” Chan wrote on Twitter.
"But when an authoritarian state strikes, ev[email protected]%ery 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-democracy legislators and activists have been at-qk$qjB(lbR#@WFH+tva6oLAnx)[email protected]$5!a2RDgrtacked.
“Opposition lawmakers are arrested, or attacsCKWfWM#[email protected]#OC!ked by thugs or cops, so I'm mentally prepared for either” Chan.
"I wear no protective gear as I cannHLR!MiREwqfYmS4wv&p(JCNr^77y0yOwxIXqs9#[email protected](e8&WYCot live in fear,” he explained.
This week, he and other pro-democracy legislatures disrupted Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s policy address in the legislativ#o$Lt=Immq=3vbJfJV4y8gpDYQ%^9uq&URZceujV(Nab#JU5S3e council.
Using a projector, they displayed the demonstratorCeLmbMJT0o1zVKWOK98([email protected]+DP-a!UreykDhu%@Jes' call for five key demands to be met as she spoke.
Hong Kong elected Chan, the city’s first openly-gay lwq6b^5xQqo_IX%GmU_tqxkbhVfU5mI$Kc&vxB0#OcC+!A0u8E(awmaker, to the Legislative Council in 2016. He has been a vocal advocate of LGBTI issues in the city, including pushing for anti-discrimination legislation.
Jimmy Sham is a renowned LGBT rights and other human rights a[email protected]#ov6H&rvry#5^z$0GzSs7ocgctivist in Hong Kong.
He currently convenes the Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF) which regularly organizes legal protests against the government.
Three of its marches against the controversial extradition bill were attended by more than a million people, according to P=2N^eT+*=n=J!+vjop)U7gn^c0$4)M*Q3NPQI9Lzjc#Q0RBL&CHRF.
In late August, Sham and a companion were attacked by two masked men wielding a baseball and a knife. Sham was left unscathed but his companion was hospiRS7H&insIuBC1gGGmepJBVpA%X%b=77*Kn5xPfNi-BaYgvIbw7talized.
In July, pro-establishme[email protected]*sa#d0v$B4MsqqhhcZ54ETo0Y6#bCnt Hong Kong lawmaker Ann Chiang Lai-wan launched a series of attacks against the gay protest leader.
Chiang shared footrMls(U99gQlXUL%sS$(jeL&RBzQlPSZfY%k(CWivj$Ft+HRu*Gage of Sham in drag on her social media. "Important news, please spread around," she wrote. Comments on the post included: "Corrupting social morals, just disgusting”.
CNVRFTc9^k-WmETt2W_6kg^DjD#L!-7vxsQrH79a%[email protected]=E!Exantopop star Anthony Wong co-founded leading Hong Kong LGBT rights organization Big 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 Chi3qD6JRToLO#wuQKu35nn42%lDrBHXjVET(dICLRqKb_2x=G$pUnese mainland.
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.