Anthony Wong, a Hong Kong-based pop star, once well-known as the lead singer of the duo, Tat Ming Pair, has come out as gay in front of thousands of fans during a concert.
Though Mr Wong’s sexuality has been something of an open secret in the city’s entertainment world, for a city that had its first gay pride parade in 2008, and even then attended only by around 1,000 participants, the announcement is seen as a significant move.
On the final night of a concert series at the Hong Kong Coliseum, he said: “People don’t need to guess whether or not I’m a tongzhi [local slang for ‘gay’] anymore… I’m saying, I’m gay. I’m a homosexual. G-A-Y.”
He had been hinting words to that effect on YouTube videos, local media report, and understanding that that did not satisfy them, he said: “I’m sorry, members of the media. For the next 20 years, I’ll keep singing songs, but you don’t need to ask me this question any longer.”
The reception both in mainland China and in Hong Kong has been largely positive, though a few hoped that he won’t suffer the same fate as the actor and singer, Leslie Cheung, who, during a bout of severe depression, jumped to his death from the twenty-fourth floor of the city’s Mandarin Hotel.
Homosexuality still remains something of a taboo in the city. In a government survey in 2005, 39% of Hong Kong residents believed that homosexuality “contradict[ed] the morals of the community.” Last summer, the government hired a so-called ‘gay cure’ expert, in an attempt to introduce ‘reparative therapy’ for homosexuality. Local gay rights organisations have welcomed the move on Mr Wong’s part as very positive.