Equal Opportunities Commission


Press Releases

Press Releases

The EOC Launches the Feasibility Study of Legislating against Discrimination on the Grounds of Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Intersex Status


The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) today (12 May 2014) announced that it has commissioned the Gender Research Centre (GRC), Hong Kong Institute of Asia Pacific Studies of The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) to conduct the Feasibility Study of Legislating against Discrimination on the Grounds of Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Intersex Status (the Study).

Dr. York CHOW, the Chairperson of the EOC, said, “In view of Hong Kong’s international legal obligations to prohibit discrimination against sexual minorities and the increasing public demand for protecting their rights legally, the EOC launches this study on discrimination faced by the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons in Hong Kong and the feasibility of introducing legislation to outlaw discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, gender identity (SOGI) and intersex status in the city.”

“In identifying a suitable research proposal for the Study, the EOC has formed a selection board composed of EOC Members and gone through an open tendering exercise and a stringent selection process,” Dr. CHOW explained. “The board decided to select GRC of the CUHK as it is the first and only research unit focusing on gender and sexuality issues in Hong Kong and their members consist of scholars from different fields, including Sociology, Cultural Studies, Law, Psychology, Social Work, Education and Public Health. We are confident that the multi-disciplinary research team will bring to the project invaluable insights and expertise from a wide range of angles.”

In explaining the objectives of the Study, Dr. CHOW said, “The Study seeks to systematically identify discrimination, harassment and vilification encountered by LGBTI groups in employment, education and training, social interaction, public access, services and facilities, as well as management of premises. It also aims to solicit views on how such experiences of discrimination may be redressed through legislation or other means.”

“Specifically, the Study seeks to explore whether the adoption of an anti-discrimination legislation on the grounds of SOGI is feasible considering the perspectives of sexual minorities, the public and other stakeholders including legal experts,” he added.

In order to achieve the objectives of the study, the research team will employ mixed modes of methodologies.

Other than conducting an extensive literature review of previous studies on discrimination experienced by LGBTI persons in Hong Kong, the research team will conduct focus groups meetings with sexual minorities to solicit their experiences of discrimination on the grounds of SOGI, how they seek redress or assistance / support and whether these means are effective. Besides, representatives from key stakeholders with views or concerns on SOGI issues, including religious groups and parents groups, will also be invited to join the public focus groups. 

Dr. CHOW highlighted, “To raise public awareness on LGBTI rights and discrimination against them, three large-scale public forums will be organized from June to September this year. Members from the public, LGBTI concern groups and all relevant stakeholders groups will be invited to the forums to express their opinions.”

“The Study will also include a series of in-depth interviews with legal experts on discrimination from within Hong Kong and overseas jurisdictions. The aim of these interviews will be to examine the technical feasibility of anti-discrimination legislation based on SOGI and intersex status in the Hong Kong context, considering the Bill of Rights Ordinance (BORO), the Basic Law and the international obligations of Hong Kong,” Dr. CHOW elaborated.

Last but not least, the research team plans to interview by telephone a representative sample of at least 1,000 people aged 15 or above, with a structured anonymous questionnaire. The EOC calls on members of the public to support this independent and objective Study.


For media enquiry, please contact Ms. Mariana LAW at 2106-2226.


Equal Opportunities Commission
12 May 2014