Chan says that the development of LGBT+ rights in Hong Kong is intimately bound up with decolonisation.
The city was a British colony until its transfer of sovereignty to China in 1997. But Chan says that colonial attitudes prevail: “I don’t want to frame the conversation [on LGBT+ rights] as ‘us catching up with the ‘west,’ or the discourse of the west.’,” they said.
Chan added that although queer theory predominantly arose out of western academia, Hong Kong had its own progressive interpretation of gender that was wiped out through the process of colonisation.
“It’s not that we’re catching up with the west, but it’s a process of decolonisation itself, to be able to have those conversations again,” they said.
“I don’t think that conversation or responsibility lies solely on the oppressed minority,” Chan said. “We can’t be expecting those who are oppressed to constantly be giving us their ‘101s’ and educating us. Those who consider us to be their allies should be taking it upon themselves to educate themselves and read and participate in movements around civil rights.”