Protections against discrimination for breast-feeding women are among 73 recommendations made by outgoing Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) Chairperson York Chow Yat-ngok. Chow released his final report as chairperson to the government on Tuesday recommending “comprehensive reforms to the anti-discrimination legislation”.
“In a number of respects, the EOC feels that the current provisions do not adequately protect against discrimination, and should be strengthened,” Chow said.
The recommendations also included introducing anti-discrimination protection for people with disabilities who are accompanied by assistance animals, as well as possible legal recognition for persons in cohabiting relationships.
“[T]he EOC believes that majority views should be balanced against the protection of the rights of minority groups, whose voices and perspectives may be marginalised even on issues that directly impact them,” he said.
The EOC also said that, during the four-month public consultation which ended in October 2014, some had asked for new protections against age, sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination.
Chow also recommended that the government should no longer be legally immune from being deemed racist.
The government announced earlier this month that Chairman of the Elderly Commission and Lingnan University social policy professor Alfred Chan Cheung-ming would replace Chow at the end of his contract. Chow has already come under criticism by anti-gay groups for his vocal support of LGBT rights, but LGBT advocacy groups such as Pink Alliance commended Chow for his dutiful leadership.
Newcomer a progressive?
Amid fears that Chan was not progressive enough on the issue of LGBT rights, Chan emphasised that he was not a conservative and said that he went to a wedding between two men in the 1970s when the UK decriminalised homosexuality.
“When I was a student, I was already very progressive. My era was an era of student activism in United Kingdom… I was not conservative,” said Chan in an interview with i-Cable.
However, he faced criticism for misquoting the Cantonese slang for homosexuals “tung chi”, as “lo tung” – which actually means drug addicts.
President of Subculture Publishing Jimmy Pang Chi-ming told Apple Daily that using “lo tung” to describe homosexuals is not appropriate. BigLove Alliance Chief Campaigner Brian Leung Siu-fai said that no LGBT groups had used “lo tung” to describe themselves.