Jerome participates in Being Queer Asian, a global panel on the dynamics between Western experience and local values in advancing LGBT+ equality in Asia.
Chief Executive, PinkAlliance and Co-founder,
Hong Kong Marriage Equality
“The path to LGBT+ equality is never straightforward, but with smart thinking and a dynamic approach, I am confident that a fairer society can be built in Hong Kong and elsewhere in Asia.”Jerome Yau, Chief Executive, PinkAlliance and Co-founder, Hong Kong Marriage Equality
It might sound like a cliché, but COVID-19 really shows that there is only so much you can plan for. As an LGBT+ equality advocate, I certainly didn’t plan for advocating in an age of social distancing.
Yet, in a twist of fate, the pandemic gave me an opportunity to help convene a global panel to talk about being queer and Asian, an issue that is very close to my heart.
From darkness into the sunlight, the Western world has come a long way in LGBT+ equality since the Stonewall riots. In Asia, progress has also been made in numerous places, but we are still miles away from full equality.
The panel dissected the issue with precision, and all panelists agreed that the way to advance LGBT+ equality in Asia doesn’t lie with copying the Western model but adapt and formulate solutions that fit the local condition. Aside from exchanging ideas, the panel laid the initial groundwork for a potential pan-Asian LGBT+ network that promotes LGBT+ equality in the region in a strategic and sensible way.
On the equal marriage front, progress has been made in terms of building allyship. Through Equal Love Hong Kong, an online campaign for companies and organizations to show their support for the cause, we managed to sign up 90 companies within 18 months of the launch of the campaign.
This tremendous progress wouldn’t have been possible without the robust collaboration between the five sponsoring organizations. And it was an honour that the campaign was named a finalist in the 2021 Community Business’s LGBT+ Community Impact Award.
Collaboration and building allyship are two key pillars that guide my advocacy strategy. It is easy to preach to the choir but that won’t help winning hearts and minds in the wider community. Fundamentally, a goal-oriented advocacy is about building bridges and opening up dialogue.
The path to LGBT+ equality is never straightforward, but with smart thinking and a dynamic approach, I am confident that a fairer society can be built in Hong Kong and elsewhere in Asia.
About our contributor
Chief Executive, Pink Alliance and Co-founder, Hong Kong Marriage Equality
A communicator by profession, Jerome is also a strategist and equality champion. He has broad experience in the NGO sector and has been involved in LGBT+ rights advocacy for a decade. He was the brainchild behind policy formation at Pink Alliance, and in 2019 he co- founded Hong Kong Marriage Equality. In addition, he has served on the board of AIDS Concern since 2014.
Jerome graduated from the University of British Columbia, where he majored in history and political science. He began his career as a journalist in Canada and then moved on to become a communications professional with experience in corporate communications, content management, media relations, public affairs and external relations.