NOT A CHEAP PRICE

Hong Kong’s high real estate prices make it hard to be gay

Coming out can not only be difficult in Hong Kong, but also expensive. Many parents who have supported children through university and their early working years may pull that support upon learning their son or daughter is gay, said Gigi Chao, an outspoken lesbian and property executive (paywall) at Goldman Sachs’ Pride Month talk Nov. 18.

“Coming out in Hong Kong is not easy,” said Chao, vice-chairman of Hong Kong real estate giant Cheuk Nang Holdings,”Young people, whose university education are being paid by parents, and probably whose first home is bought by parents, are deeply influenced by their parents. They might face losing financial security if they offend their parents.” Many may instead choose to hide their sexual orientation.

Hong Kong is one of the most expensive cities to live in. An average apartment costs 19 times gross annual median income. The skyrocketing price makes it hard for young people buy a new house on their own after college graduation.

As the daughter of Hong Kong property tycoon Cecil Chao Sze-tsung, Chao experienced pressure from her own parents. Chao’s father publicly offered HK$ 500 million in 2012 to help Chao find a male suitor, then doubled her “dowry” in 2014, before Chao rejected his offer in an open letter. Chao married her partner Sean Eav in 2012.

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