Anti-gay groups are slamming one youth charity - and we find out why

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A charity which supports homosexual kids is under attack from anti-gay conservative groups. Arthur Tam finds out why 

How do we help homosexual children in the city, if they need support and advice? They can turn to their parents or teachers – but many, particularly if they’re being bullied, will find those people too difficult to approach. So, we have The Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs Association of Hong Kong, a charity organisation which, for almost 80 years, has been supporting and helping kids in the city to cope with life. And it’s been offering gay youngsters counselling on their sexuality over recent years.

However, this year, radical anti-democracy group the Justice Alliance, led by Letitia Lee See-yin, has been venting its anger against the association due to the work it’s being doing supporting homosexual youths. It follows a few weeks where conservative groups have seemingly been on a rampage, condemning any issue that has to do with the progression of LGBT rights in the city. LegCo meetings have been wrought with discord over transgender rights and there was a parade last month set up by the Society of Truth and Light about the dangers of how giving gays rights could create a gateway to all sorts of bogus marriages like – as one bystander put it – ones to ‘animals or even iPads’.

But the feeling of animosity towards The Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs Association is perhaps the most shocking development so far. The charity has been helping to nurture and care for both heterosexual and homosexual children for years. In 2007, it established an independently funded counselling group called Elements, which brings together a few dozen parents and their gay children on a regular basis. The group discusses what homosexuality is, so parents can better understand their children – and it also supports the young people, as well as helping parents and their offspring reconcile any differences they may have experienced.

Two years ago, author and journalist So Mei-chi published a book, Our Gay Kids (我們的同志孩子), which highlights 25 parents who benefitted from the group. “This is the only programme in HK that supports homosexuality without labelling it as a disease to be cured,” says executive co-director of gay activist group Nu Tong Xue She, Joseph Cho. However, Lee doesn’t see it this way. In a public protest berating the association in Wan Chai a few weeks ago, she said: “[They] are brainwashing children. They are advocating that being gay is alright. Why is the BGCA supporting this?” We’ve reached out to Lee since then for further comments, but have not received a reply.

In Hong Kong, there still isn’t a law that protects the rights of sexual minorities in the midst of increased bullying in Hong Kong schools against LGBT kids. According to a survey conducted by the association in 2011, 45 percent of teachers from city schools said they had noticed some sort of bullying related to gender identity and sexuality. On top of that, 52.5 percent said they witnessed students shouting homophobic slurs – and 30 percent noticed physical abuse.

LGBT students, teens and kids need support and protection – yet there are radical groups out there attempting to prevent the work of charities like The Boys’ and Girls’ Clubs Association, which has helped so many young people over the years. “If they win, the ones who will really lose out are the kids,” says Cho. Contact the association today to pledge your support.

The Boys’ and Girls’ Club Association 3/F & 4/F, 3 Lockhart Rd, Wan Chai, 2529 3322; bgca.org.hk.

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