Same-sex Hong Kong subway ad resurfaces following LGBTI protests

A banned Hong Kong subway ad depicting a same-sex couple walking hand-in-hand has been reinstated by officials after a decision to ban it sparked a backlash from LGBTI groups.

The protests convinced the Mass Rapid Transport (MTR) system to carry out a handbrake turn on the issue, just 24 hours after the ban was first implemented. This sparked a spate of small scale civic rebellions with residents posting photos of themselves holding hands and showing affection on the network.

The U-turn sparked a blame game as to who was responsible for authorising the ban in the first place with MTR accusing its outdoor advertising partner of blocking the campaign in contravention of its ‘commitment to equal opportunities and diversity’.

A JCDecaux spokeswoman was quoted in local media as saying: “We have been in contact with the relevant advertising agency and have just confirmed to the agency that the advertisement in question can be displayed at MTR stations.”

The storm centred on a campaign launched by the territory’s largest airline, Cathay Pacific, which produced a poster showing two men holding hands on the beach as part of its LGBTI-inclusive messaging.