My gay daughter for a dowry

October 1, 2012

By Bobby Yip

With a well-dressed attractive woman waiting to pose for me, I asked her to sit on the darker side of a classic sofa, trying to depict the situation she is facing — waiting for people to accept her status as a lesbian, the first among Hong Kong’s upper class to have a same-sex marriage.

Gigi Chao is a comparatively low-profile person among celebrities here. As the daughter of a tycoon playboy father and a divorced actress mother, she was followed by local paparazzi occasionally. Curious entertainment journalists finally broke the news of her getting married in Paris in April – to a woman.

It was not front page news, not until her outspoken father Cecil Chao Sze-tsung made a statement days later, offering a $65 million “marriage bounty” to any man who was able to win her love. Headlines were splashed in nearly all Chinese media, printed and online worldwide, as far as I could find. Foreign media around the world were not far behind local media in their interest.

Because of a strong connection with our TV journalist, we managed to get an exclusive face-to-face interview with Gigi. It was more than I could hope for as the planned ten-minute brief meeting with her office extended. I now had more time to look deeper into the story.

She was very friendly, talkative, confident and humorous. She showed us some of the very interesting marriage proposals received by email which bombarded her from all over the world.

“I’m interested in your offer to wed your daughter, who also happens to be gay. I am a male person, who also happens to be gay.” She read them out, smiling.

She even accepted my request to do separate portraits wearing a different dress. I found the conference room to be a nice scene setting, with ready-made pops that could symbolize the story’s bigger picture – acceptance between cultures, or women being treated as objects.

I didn’t take a lot of posed photos, trying not to squeeze the last bit out of the brave subject. I got more than I expected. An exclusive opportunity didn’t need to turn into a machine-gun shooting experience. I enjoyed her sharing her experiences with us and bless her from the bottom of my heart. Beneath the surface of this funny story lies some deeper significance.

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