More than partying: Alternative Hong Kong LGBT groups to join
The following is an accurate retelling of a rather shocking thing that happened to this writer some years ago. In a past life as a retail-working uni student, I told a new staff member about my sexual preference. This young, excitable lass reacted in a way that I’d not experienced in all my years of coming out: she squealed. Quite literally. There may have even been some jumping. Before I could enquire as to why this particular piece of information warranted a response of such audiovisual stimulation, she answered my question: “Do you think,” she asked, with not even a hint of irony in her tone, “that we can go shopping and have cocktails one day?” My inability to respond to this most serious of requests echoed through the shop floor.
Upon reflection, it wasn’t her fault. If anything, I blame Will & Grace and Sex and the City. As much mainstream exposure as those hugely popular programmes provided for the LGBT community, they often boxed our types (especially, it must be said, the ‘G’ in the acronym) into stereotypes at best, and accessories at worst. It’s not surprising though – after all, we gays do make excellent drinking companions. And we know how to throw a party, too. But – and this might be a little earth shattering – what if there were other ways for LGBT-identifying folk to gather, free of alcohol, smoke machines and strobe lights? Several Hong Kong-based groups are around for those of us who want just that.
Founded in August 2015, The Harmonics are a community choir who foster a diverse cross-section of Hongkongers in an inclusive, friendly environment. Meeting once a week at rehearsals in Jordan, the growing chorale aims to sing as one, both literally and figuratively, through rehearsals and other networking events. The name of the game (you know we had to throw in an Abba reference) is ultimately to achieve interaction among different sectors of the wider community, including Hong Kong’s vocal LGBT allies. They’re also a sister choir of similar overseas groups, such as London’s The Pink Singers. www.facebook.com/theharmonicshk
Out in HK
In just two short years, local LGBT group Out in HK has gone from strength to strength. The group promotes health, fitness and friendship through a swath of weekly outdoor and indoor pursuits, including anything from hiking to badminton, and kayaking to cooking classes. Most recently, the group has formally put in a bid to host the 2022 Gay Games, one of the biggest sporting events on the planet (at one point it had more competitors than the Summer Olympics), which, if successful, will make Hong Kong the first Asian city to play host. www.outin.hk
Tongzhi Literary Group
As the name suggests, Tongzhi Literary Group is a forum for Hong Kong’s LGBT writers and readers alike. Their quarterly meetings showcase readings in both Chinese (with English translation) and English tongzhi (homosexual)-related texts, usually by their authors. TLG also provides a platform to unpublished writers, as well as a chance to network with established authors. www.tlghk.org
Fruits in Suits
Fruits in Suits is an informal networking event for LGBT professionals. Sessions take place on the third Tuesday of every month, and, as well as a place for mingling with likeminded members of the community, showcase LGBT-friendly businesses with special offers extended to FInS members. The best part? You don’t even have to wear a suit. http://fruitsinsuits.com.hk
While the partying stereotype might be in the gay DNA, it is ultimately just that – a stereotype. But there’s much more to gay life, as these wonderful groups aim to promote. But, real talk, if we’re doing it with the promise of a cheeky drink after that fact, you won’t really hear us complaining.
Nik Addams is a Melbourne-born, Hong Kong-based, three-quarter latte-obsessed lifestyle writer and editor. In no particular order, his interests include char siu, long bus journeys, and country and western music. Find him on Twitter and on Instagram.