Transnational LGBT Activism: Migrants’ Pride in Hong Kong

Dr Francisca Yuenki Lai5

5National Tsing Hua University, , Taiwan

Using a transnational approach, this paper examines migrant activism and LGBT activism organized by migrant domestic workers in Hong Kong. The first Migrants’ Pride March was held in 2015. How migration offers a space and chance to let the migrant domestic workers to reconsider their notions of sexuality and human rights, which enable them to take up a leading role in migrant LGBT activism? What are the strategies to bring up LGBT rights and negotiate with the regional and international labor unions when it is not regarded as the primary concern of most of the migrant domestic workers? Without naively assuming Hong Kong as a place more liberal than the home countries of migrant domestic workers, the paper will examine the transnational flows of LGBT knowledge and networks, juxtaposing the Filipino and Indonesian experience. Data was collected from participant observation in migrant activism events from 2016 to 2018, including One Billion Rising and Migrants’ Pride March. I also conducted in-depth interviews with migrant activist leaders and members, and Hong Kong Chinese leaders of LGBT organizations.


Dr. Francisca Yuenki Lai obtained her PhD in cultural anthropology at Purdue University, USA, with a dissertation on female same-sex relationships among Indonesian migrant domestic workers in Hong Kong. She is currently Assistant Professor at National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan. Her research interests include: gender, LGBT studies, migration, and domestic workers.


The Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) is the peak body of university experts and educators on Asia in Australia. Established in 1976, we promote and support the study of Asia in Australian universities and knowledge of Asia among the broader community. Our membership is drawn mainly from academics and students, but also includes industry and government Asia experts. We take a strong interest in promoting knowledge about Asia in schools and in contributing to state and Commonwealth government policies related to Asia. We provide informed comment on Asia to a broad public through our bulletin, Asian Currents, and specialist research articles in our journal, Asian Studies Review. Four book series published under our auspices cover Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Women in Asia.

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