An openly gay legislator has hit back at a columnist for defending people with “bigoted” views. The column referred to a viral video that showed Ray chan Chi-chuen, of the political party People Power, being verbally abused on the MTR.
Chan made the comments in response to an article Michael Chugani wrote for the South China Morning Post, defending two women who called him “a dickless man” and a “shemale” stating that they had the right to free speech.
In the video, the two women – who have not been identified – tell Chan to “drop dead” and that “with more people like your kind, the world will be chaos”. Commuters intervene halfway through the video but one of the women insists that as a taxpayer she has the right to reproach Chan for being a “rubbish legislator”.
The video was uploaded onto Chan’s youtube channel at the end of May and has accumulated more than 500,000 views.
The incident drew widespread criticism from netizens in Hong Kong and has drawn attention to the lack of protection for members of the LGBT community who are discriminated against on the grounds of their sexual orientation.
In the article titled Let’s keep vulgar comments on gay Hong Kong lawmaker in perspective, Chugani did not condone the behaviour of the two women but defended their right to free speech and likened it to Chan openly calling Chief Executive CY Leung “689” in the Legislative Council.
He said: “Mocking Leung Chun-ying as “689” for the number of votes he got in the chief executive election is Chan’s mantra, as is hurling missiles and verbal abuse at officials. Could the two have been paying back in kind, that their jibes were aimed at Chan the politician rather than Chan the gay man?
“Unless Hong Kong outlaws non-violent hate talk… the pair have as much right to mock the supposedly small size of Chan’s penis as others have to use racial slurs against minorities and call mainlanders locusts.”
In his letter to the SCMP Chan said: “I am disappointed that Chugani, rather than speaking out for social justice and common sense, chose to side with those who have expressed such bigoted views.”
“Slurs and insults, and other forms of abusive language on the basis of one’s sexual orientation, gender, race, religion, or ethnic or national origin, reflect a society where civil rights are in a woeful state.”
Chan also took issue with Chugani likening the two women mocking him for being gay to him openly mocking the chief executive.
“If Chugani believes this is just as objectionable as mocking me with the sexually explicit slur of “three inches”, because I am gay, then I leave it to your readers to decide whether his values and opinions reflect their own.”
Chan, a former radio DJ, was elected to the Legislative Council in 2012 and is the city’s first openly gay legislator.
Chugani is a journalist who hosts his own flagship English-language current affairs show Straight Talk on TVB.
Hong Kong’s Discrimination Ordinance does not make it illegal to discriminate against someone for their sexual orientation.