A Hong Kong support group for LGBT migrant workers has until Tuesday morning to raise around HK$4,500 in funds to pay overdue rent – or else it faces the prospect of closure.

Transgender Filipino domestic worker Marrz Balaoro has run Filiguys Association of Hong Kong since 2006, providing urgent accommodation for LGBT migrant workers at a Lantau Island apartment that he rents.

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Balaoro told HKFP that Filguys’ centre shelters a maximum of three or four LGBT migrant workers at a time, who usually stay between two weeks and three months. The organisation also provides them with counselling and helps them seek legal advice.

However, Balaoro fell ill with a serious gum disease last October, and has since returned to the Philippines frequently for treatment, for which he also has to pay.

His most recent treatment session in the Philippines began in February, and concluded a few weeks ago. The final treatment session will take place in August.

While he told LGBT rights advocacy platform Planet Ally he has a good relationship with both his employer and landlord, he now has to pay HK$16,500 in overdue rent for the Lantau centre before Tuesday afternoon. He is seeking to crowdfund the sum by the morning.

As of 6pm on Monday, he has raised around HK$12,000.

LGBT Philippines Filipino Gay Filguys Migrant Domestic Workers
Filguys volunteers. Photo: Filguys Association Hong Kong via Facebook.

“In case I cannot save the centre… I need some time to recover, and maybe find a space later on,” he told HKFP.

“If I cannot take the room, I can understand, because it was too short notice – I just came back from the Philippines.”

Elson Tong is a graduate of international relations and former investigations consultant. He has also written for Stand News.