Gays face widespread discrimination in HK: survey

Most of Hong Kong's sexual minority employees face discrimination in the workplace, threatening the city's competitiveness as a financial hub, according to a study released Thursday.

In a poll sponsored by British bank Barclays, 85 percent of 628 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) staff said they had experienced a "negative impact" from working in a "non-inclusive workplace".

Seventy-one percent said they had to lie about their personal life, while 53 percent reported being "exhausted, depressed and stressed" by attitudes at work.

Four in ten said they were unhappy in their job, while 22 percent said they had left or considered leaving a job due to prejudice, according to the survey released by non-profit organisation Community Business on the annual International Day Against Homophobia.

Richard Seeley, a senior manager at Barclays in Hong Kong, said both the city and its business rival Singapore were losing out in attracting overseas talent as they do not recognise same-sex relationships.

"It is not good for Hong Kong if the environment is not inclusive," he said. "Both cities are missing the opportunity to become more competitive."

Critics claim the difficulty in obtaining a visa for a same-sex partner deters many potential expats from coming to the city.

Hong Kong decriminalised homosexuality in 1991 but rights groups have urged the government to do more by enacting laws to ban discrimination against homosexuals.

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