Transgender Patron Wins In Washington DC Bathroom Complaint

During a visit last summer to Cuba Libre, a popular Washington DC bar and restaurant, Charlotte Clymer was stopped as she attempted to use the women restroom by an employee.

The employee demanded to see the transgender woman’s ID claiming the restaurant ‘required’ her to show legal identification to prove she was female.

Clymer, who was at the venue celebrating a friend’s bachelorette party, dismissed the employee and entered the ladies room. According to the Washington Blade, the employee didn’t ask anyone else for identification.

After entering a stall to do her business, Clymer heard the man walk into the bathroom in an attempt to search for her.

“I go into a stall to do my business and I hear him walk in and search for me in this busy restroom full of women,” Clymer shared on her Facebook. “He is doing everything but opening the stall doors. I ignore him, and after a few minutes, he leaves. I do my business, wash my hands, and walk out.”

“On the other side of the door are the attendant and the manager, who says it’s D.C. law that you must have ‘female’ on your ID to use the women’s restroom,” added Clymer. “I tell him he’s wrong and there’s no chance I’m showing him my ID.”

This is where it’s important to note that Clymer works with the Human Rights Campaign, and if anyone knows the law on transgender protections, it’s Clymer. 

In fact, she pulled up the DC Human Rights Act on her phone and showed the manager the ordinance that prohibits discrimination based on gender identity or expression in regard to housing, employment and (ahem) public accommodations.

After the manager, who Clymer described as “condescending and dismissive,”  threatened to call the police, she was eventually ejected from the restaurant.

Standing outside the restaurant, an angry Clymer called the police herself. According to the Washington Post, the officers showed up and reassured her the law was on her side.

Eventually, Clymer filed a complaint with the Office of Human Rights, and the DC Attorney General's office launched an investigation as well.

As a result of her complaint, the owner of Cuba Libre has apologized and been ordered to pay a $7,000 fine for violating the Human Rights Act. Additionally, the settlement with the Attorney General calls for the restaurant to “institute policies on civil rights compliance and training.”

Plus, signage is now required in the establishment that states the local ordinance that “all individuals are allowed to use the restroom that corresponds to their gender identity or expression.”

For her part, Clymer Clymer told the Washington Blade that she’s pleased with the outcome.

“I am quite grateful for the work of Attorney General Racine and his staff to ensure that discrimination has no place in D.C., and I am thankful that Cuba Libre and CEO Barry Gutin have worked in good faith since the fall to ensure that this doesn’t happen again,” Clymer said.

“All parties worked together to make sure a terrible night was turned into a great teaching moment, which was built on the history of advocacy by trans folks in D.C., particularly trans women of color,” she added.

(h/t Washington Blade)

Club On The Defensive When Discriminatory Do's and Don'ts List Leaks Onto Social Media.

Color us not shocked at all. Another club/event/group in the LGBT community likes pretty people only.  Apparently when you take no fats, no fems, no Asians and flip it down under to Australia, it becomes no skinny, no females, no Indi. 

POOF DOOF -  a gay club for homos (386 Chapel St, South Yarra / Melbourne, Australia) is coming under fire for a "Brief for Photographers" that was shared/leaked onto social media. POOF DOOF representatives have said the document is from 2011, does not reflect their current policies and practices, and was shared by a photographer that no longer works POOF DOOF events (bad blood? revenge?).  

So what does the "Brief" say?  The full document is at end of article, but in a nut shell, it directs photographers of POOF DOOF events to focus on certain people. Abbreviated we see that:

  • pics should be just taken of hot boys with muscles and drag queens, but only the best drag queens
  • pics should NOT be taken of skinny, messy, basic boys with bad skin, no girls (no one is here to see girls) and no Indi boys (we're hoping they meant boys from Indi, a region in Northeastern Victoria and not Indian boys, either is bad). 

So they want pics of pretty people, desirable people, people you'd want to lick. They said no to the skinny, pimpled, banal, girls (apparently girls are not homos?), and no people they have shot before. POOF DOOF was scrambling to do damage control and even was chatting with people personally on Facebook as seen here. 

So the Brief was real and they admit it. Nic Holland (Facebook says he is PR & Media Manager at Eleven: A Music Company & John Watson Management and HBIC at POOF DOOF) spoke to the validity of the document ina  Facebook post. The quality of the screen capture is a little rough (sent from an Australian reader to us) but it states that the brief was from 2011, but was "very lazily used as recently as 2015... there's no excuse, the brief is trash... I can only say as a club we evolved over time."

Apologies don't go far in this day an age, no matter how hard we try. They don't resonate well or as far as negative news does. 

Stepping up from personal chats, POOF DOOF posted their response about the leak and how wrong it was.  Many called them out for not simply using the word "SORRY", but they did say "we would like to apologise."


The post just before the apology on POOF DOOF's Facebook page was promoting an ALL INCLUSIVE event. It reads:

INTRODUCING All Sorts w/ Seth Troxler at Riva 


People saw the Facebook apology and were pissed and rightfully so! One Facebook comment was posted with a picture of the "Brief" and reads:

Wow POOF DOOF, personally I find this absolutely disgraceful, especially for a “Queer” venue, supporter, event etc. It’s all well and good to say that this I s 7+ years old and that you don’t stand by these virtues, but 7+ years ago Australia LGBTQ+ people were still fighting for equality, and you have the nerve to create this memo(even if it was internal, I wonder what else was for internal eyes only) that literally classes certain genders, identities and personal images as unworthy, subpar and “boring & repetitive” which in turn divides the very people you claim to support and identify as. Shame on you. Damage done.

and another reads:

You know how when you transition you become afraid that you might no longer be welcome at places you used to go run by the most toxic of the gays?

Well, that fear would be well founded.

I mean, theres just so much that is fucked in this by POOF DOOF I dont even know where to start. It's GOLD STAR GAYTRIARCHY.

"No one would be there to see me" now if I went, but luckily I wouldn't ever go again when I'm in Melb.

Melbourne sisters, cancel this bitch.

Are we raking them over the coals? Should we be? Our mouths should not drop that far for we know this kind of chat had to exist and at least we know it is practiced.  We now business like the pretty.  We know they like to associate themselves with the "more desirable, more lickable" people. How many big gay event advertisements in your country have you seen with "average looking" people on them?  Living in Southern Florida, all we see are beach body boys for White Party this and that and the other, which underwear model is going to be showing his goods at the next party, and which gay men's guest house has the prettiest model in their ads. And it if is a bear party, bring on the former twinks and aberzombies that have now let the hair trimming routine go and have found a new home under the labels of muscle bears and otters. all us bears definitely do not look like nor want that, but that is what is shoved up onto the posters because, hey, they have muscles, they must be desirable for everyone. 

Every time I see one of those posters, I think, yep, seen him on the ad for the event in 2015, 2009, and 2001, but I've never seen him actually at an event.  Bars look to put their best foot forward. The look to sell the fantasy.  What we need to let them know is our fantasy is often just a fun reality.  We know we are not going to see that model you are airbrushing onto your ad at the party.  Show us someone that will be there!

When we added more contributing writers to the pool here at Instinct, I was excite to have a variety of age, race, geographic, flamboyancy, masculinity, body sizes, likes, dislikes, and so on.  What was interesting was, I didn't go searching for it.  We just put an ad out for writers that wanted to contribute and a nice healthy mix of applicants rose to the surface.  It just worked out that we have variety.  

POOF DOOF just posted on January 5th new pictures to their POOF DOOF POWER POOFS album and have referenced to it after the "Brief" scandal hit. They all still look beautiful and cream of the crop to me, no?

Well, the second picture.  Who is that? 

Hi everyone,

If you didn’t know, I’m Dawn Lee and I currently live in Melbourne, Australia. For some insight, let me tell you all about who I am. I first started working in the Melbourne queer scene in February 2017. I am a 23 year old trans WOC. 

Dawn does a great Facebook post about the situation.  It's lengthy and spot on.  She tells us a little about our history and her being hired to work at POOF DOOF in June of 2018. The whole post is a good read (and at the end of this post), but what I want to draw you to is her last paragraph. She basically says, yes, there is a problem, an internal one, let's talk about it, remedy it, stop being the victims, and then fight the bigger fights.

I’m sick of this community waiting for a Knight in Shining Armour to be our saviour to rescue us, instead of being our own saviours and doing it ourselves. What I have taken away from this all isn’t about just the dated criteria, or that everyone’s so self absorbed in trying to be the victim that the wrong people are being punished. It’s that there is really no hope for this community. We have a chance now to come together as a community to educate, continually grow and help each other like the adults we claim to be- not tear each other down at any and every opportunity like we’re back in high school again. There are bigger demons for us to be killing together as a community, instead of revisiting something that is dead. You all make statuses needing help or wanting someone to stand up for the community, when are you going to stop viewing yourselves as the victims and help the few of us fighting for the community alone?

I think we needed that Dawn. I think I needed that.  I had my pitchfork at the ready!

We drop our mouths, point the fingers, take to social media to vilify and detest, degrade others with a tweet and a text, and move on. And here I thought it was just the 'Merikan't way of doing things, but it seems that it is worldwide. 

Here's a scenario ... My friend Christian decided to not go home for Christmas this past December and he will never talk to his parents again. Why? Even though he had a healthy relationship with them in November and has had one for a good 12 years, because they said some anti-gay things over a decade ago, before he came out, he decided to bring their comments back up and put it between him and his family. Is that the right thing to do?  Hell no! How many of your parents said negative things about LGBT people before you came out and how many need a little help or correcting when it comes to transgender topics?

The scenario mentioned above is fake, of course, but is it not too far from the truth and how we have acted recently? Doesn't it seem that we have a huge hair across our asses and we love it!  We woke up on the wrong side of the bed and we're waiting for someone to poke the sleeping bear. Okay, enough of that.  We already have issues affecting us, but it seems that we are ready to jump the gun for the next scandal, to see how we can be the victim, how we can put our hurt into a scenario a half a world away, LITERALLY! I am in no way saying the practices mentioned in the "Brief" are acceptable, but we react before we try to learn more. 

Let me repeat something from the very beginning of this post:

POOF DOOF representatives have said the document is from 2011, does not reflect their current policies and practices, and was shared by a photographer that no longer works POOF DOOF events.  

I'm mad too that the document existed in the first place. I'm mad too that it took so long to have people support marriage equality in the United States. I'm mad too that Hillary Clinton didn't support marriage equality from the beginning. Is it time to bring that last one up so we can vilify her and make sure she doesn't run for President again? She didn't believe we were equal then so she can't now! Here! Here! 

If POOF DOOF is no longer practicing what is in the "Brief for Photographers", we wish them the best of luck in getting out from under the avalanche of hate coming their way.

If you have not changed POOF DOOF, now is the time to do so. Use this as a call from your people for inclusion. Look for the people that have their hand out.  Some will come to you and say, how can we help.  Others will be still standing there with pitchforks and picket signs. And maybe the sharing of this "Brief" will affect other businesses in the community and a call for sharing pics of every day people and not just the supposed elite. 

And those that feel people cannot change ... are you going home for Christmas next year?




Full Brief


This piece is the opinion of one contributing writer and not that of Instinct Magazine or other contributing writers. 

Popular Bar and Grill Shuts Down, Owner Suspects Homophobia is the Culprit

A Tampa, Florida Hamburger Mary's, a popular chain with a predominantly gay clientele, has been shut down permanently, ostensibly because of a hepatitis A+ employee at the chain' Ybor City location. The owner of Hamburger Mary's thinks that the Hillsborough Health Department deliberately and nefariously targeted the restaurant because of its LGBTQ staff and clientele, reports South Florida Gay News.

The Health Department sent out a public warning last October and the owner, Kurt King, announced that he will be permanently closing the Ybor City location despite gaining approval to reopen. He also commented that Hamburger Mary's has been in the media constantly, which is hurting his other business investments. 

The Health Department didn't issue a warning about four other restaurants in the area in which someone tested positive for hepatitis A.

Kurt also said that he's struggling to keep the two other locations open, as well as struggling to fight for payroll and to pay the bills that are being accrued. He feels that his establishment was singled out, citing the fact that over four-hundred people in Florida live with hepatitis A and the places where the work haven't been on the news or shut down. He said "I think they targeted us because we're a gay restaurant, gay-owned, popular gay restaurant." King also says that the employee being referred to has been tested negative to all strains of the disease and he has the lab results to prove it.

The head of the Health Department, Douglas Holt dismissed the claims that the Department targeted Hamburger Mary's because of its gay staff and clientele, but mentioned that that's where people would expect hepatitis to be prevalent, as he said that "the classic category is men having sex with men" is the category most susceptible to contracting hepatitis. 

If, in fact, the employee in question is negative for hepatitis, the Hillsborough County Health Department can land themselves in very hot water, as they would have no reason to spread such misinformation and close down a restaurant. Hopefully King gets the justice he deserves and that other gay-owned business are not unfairly targeted.

h/t: South Florida Gay News

Michigan's Exiting Governor Signed A Directive Against LGBT Discrimination

Michigan’s departing governor is looking out for his LGBTQ constituents.

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder is trying to stop discrimination against LGBTQ citizens of the state. Snyder signed a directive on Friday to bar state contractors and people who receive state grants/loans from discriminating against their employees because of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Specifically, old contracts and new ones have to be amended to include language stating an anti-discrimination policy.

Snyder is set to step down from office on Tuesday (January 1), but wanted to get a few directives and orders into state law before he left. This anti-discrimination directive is one of those orders.

According to the Associated Press, Snyder wants to leave out as a great leader who is welcoming to all people across the state.

“Michigan’s continued reinvention and economic growth depend on talented individuals choosing to live and work here,” Snyder wrote in the directive. “It is essential for state government to be a leader in welcoming all people to our state and ensuring that everyone is treated fairly and with respect.”

That said, this directive isn’t a total homerun for the exiting governor. Civil service rules already prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ state employees. This directive though is focused on the private sector. It aims at assuring that any companies seeking contracts or grants don't think they're exempt from anti-discrimination.

On top of that, religious organizations are actually exempt from these anti-discrimination rules because of their “religious freedom” rights.

Despite this "last hurrah" effort at equality by Snyder, Democrats and liberals are looking forward to Gov.-elect Gretchen Whitmer taking over the position.

"We look forward to working with the new administration to maybe fix the problems in this executive order that (Snyder) created by having this exemption in it," said Jay Kaplan of the ACLU of Michican’s LGBT Project to Detroit News.

h/t: the Associated Press, Detroit News

FRC Says Anti-Discrimination Laws Turn People Gay

I've written about the Family Research Council and their bigoted views before and every time I read about them, I can't help but be surprised that some people actually think the way that members of the FRC do. So it's no surprise that they released their "research" that says that anti-discrimination laws turn straight people gay, and, as such, sexual orientation and gender identity should not be protected categories, according to LGBTQ Nation

Peter Sprigg, the Senior Fellow for Policy Studies at the FRC, recently released a conservative document that uses "research" to show that laws that prevent discrimination based on sexuality and gender identity actually turn people gay. In this document, the HRC recycles old theories and incorrect statements such as men will use the laws to harass and assault women in public restrooms (which has been proven to be made up) and that LGBTQ discrimination is not common.

Sprigg mentions in the letter that he agrees with anti-discrimination laws that have to do with "race, color, national origin, sex, and religion" as he recognizes that the first four are innate parts of one's being and that freedom of religion is protected under the First Amendment. He disagrees that sexual orientation and gender identity are not innate because they were never proven to be (conversely, the opposite also hasn't been proven) and that homosexual conduct and expressing oneself as the gender that's opposite their sex are choices and "carry a substantial risk of harm to the LGBT individual and cost to society at large."

He says that anti-discrimination increase government interference in the free market, as they "substitute the judgment of government officials in place of the judgment normally exercised by private businesses and 
organizations regarding what qualities or characteristics are most relevant to a particular job and how 
those private organizations wish to operate." Translation: it gets in the way of companies refusing to serve or hire gay people on the basis of their sexuality.

Sprigg also argues against anti-discrimination laws based on the fact that when they are in place, "disgruntled employees" may sue companies over discrimination and "disgruntled customers" may sue businesses in the wedding industry for refusing to participate in same-sex weddings.

There are more points in the letter that are too ridiculous to repeat but you can read more about it here. He concludes the letter by saying "the law is a teacher, and it is fundamentally unloving to 'teach' our neighbors that they will find happiness by engaging in unnatural sexual conduct or by adopting a gender identity 
inconsistent with their biology and genetics." I have yet to come across any laws that even hint at saying "It would be great if you were to have sex with someone of your same gender" or "it's fantastic to express yourself as the gender that doesn't match your biological sex." What the anti-discrimination laws really try to achieve is a more balanced society in which people can't get fired or denied service for being gay.

But with most of these ridiculous letters, the writer is purposely misinterpreting facts so that they can write something to fit their agenda.

h/c: FRC.org, LGBTQ Nation

This is not the first time referee has allegedly made some questionable decisions.

A referee allegedly forced a New Jersey high school student to cut his dreadlocks or forfeit his wrestling match, according to local station SNJ Today.

A video tweeted by Mike Frankel, SNJ Today News division's sports director, is raising more than eye brows this weekend. The video shows a Buena High School student getting his dreadlocks cut amid a wrestling match.

On Thursday night, Andrew Johnson was told by the referee that he would not be allowed to wrestle by wearing a cover over his dreadlocks. 

"It was either an impromptu haircut, or a forfeit. Johnson chose the haircut, then won by sudden victory in OT to help spark Buena to a win," the news director wrote.



The referee, Alan Maloney, has had some issues in the past. In March 2016, it was alleged that he used a racial slur at a social gathering when he disagreed with a fellow referee, who is African-American.  Preston Hamilton, the referee on the receiving end of the slur, reportedly slammed Maloney to the ground because of the remark.

Earlier this year, New Jersey became the first state in the mid-Atlantic and just the 14thin the country to offer girls wrestling as an official varsity sport. As a result, more girls around the state than ever have been wrestling, many with long hair. - highschoolsportsnj.com

The NJ high school sports governing body has recommended that Maloney be sidelined from future matches until the incident undergoes a thorough review and the civil rights division has opened an investigation into the incident.

Was this a case of discrimination? Against an African-American student for having dreadlocks?  Against a male student for having long hair? Against someone who is different? 

We're going to have to see how this one ends up.

What do you think?

h/t:  thehill.comhighschoolsportsnj.com

Mississippi Segregation Schools Ban Pregnant and LGBTQ Students

Yes, you read that right. In Mississippi, there are schools that ban pregnant and LGBTQ students from attending, according to Huffington Post.  

Mississippi senator Cindy Hyde-Smith recently revealed that she attended a segregation academy in the past and then later sent her daughter to one. Segregation academies were and still are, private schools found in Mississippi and the surrounding areas that allow people to pay in order to keep students segregated so that race mixing (which for some reason is still a problem for some people) does not occur. These schools came about after the ruling of Brown v. Board of Education in which the Supreme Court declared segregation to be unconstitutional. Many white families felt that the ruling was unjust and thus paid schools, often with government grants, to keep segregation in education. 

Luckily these schools cannot legally discriminate against students of color but they do still exist and have recently received a rush of public funding. At least six schools in Mississippi ban pregnant students from attending and one bans both pregnant and LGBTQ students. All of the six schools' handbooks say that any female student who is pregnant and any male students responsible for pregnancies will be expelled and will not be allowed re-admission. The handbook of Hillcrest Christian School in Jackson, MS, says that female students may be asked to take a pregnancy test. Does anyone else think that that is a huge invasion of privacy? Students who terminate their pregnancy will also be expelled and denied re-admission.  

Northpoint Christian School's handbook says that homosexuality is grounds for dismissal and that any applicant “who promotes, engages in, or identifies himself/herself with such activity through any action” will not be admitted.

Madison-Ridgeland Academy's dress code has racial undertones, as it bans hairstyles including cornrows, twists, and dreadlocks. Do they know that subtle racism is still racism?

Some of the schools' websites advertise their bigotry online without actually mentioning segregation; Magnolia Heights School in Senatobia brands their discrimination as "alternative education," while on Northpoint Christian School's website it says that the school was founded because people had a "vision for a Christian school in the Whitehaven, Tennessee community."

Segregated schools still, unfortunately, exist across the entire country which is a grim reminder that the Jim Crow laws were not too far in the past and that the effects of such laws still permeate throughout American society and take form in the shape of racism and bigotry towards minority and marginalized groups. People can't change their race or sexuality and by schools being legally allowed to discriminate against someone based on an inherent trait should be met with great scorn. Until we see people as just people and not their race or sexuality, these problems will continue to exist. 

h/t: Huffington Post, Washington Post

College Student Banned From Having Same-Sex Guests In Dorm

Maybe Austin isn't as progressive as we thought?

A University of Texas (UT) student living in a private dormitory is accusing the residence of discriminating against her. The Scottish Rite Dormitory (SRD) is private all-female home for more than 300 women. The UT freshman, Kaj Baker, says she’s the only one at SRD not allowed to have ANY guests.

Apparently there have been complaints about her and her female friend using the study lounge too much.  Without the school speaking up, we do not know if the complaints highlight poor activity, but apparently the couple fell asleep once in the lounge.

CBSAustin reports on the issue.



“They told me that girls need to feel safe here, and I asked her if we made people feel unsafe. She said, ‘I'm not going there. I'm not going there just yet,’” Baker recalls. Baker recorded a half-hour meeting with SRD officials. She shared those recordings with CBS Austin. In one clip Baker asks what rules she’s broken but does not receive an answer.

Scottish Rite Dormitory strives to create an environment which allows our residents to focus on completing their higher education goals while meeting our Parent's expectation of creating an atmosphere that fosters the growth and well being of their daughters while attending the University. We have no further comment. Thank you.

- Email response from SRD director Mary Mazurek

“If this guest ban was simply about the rules then us being gay or me being gay should have never been brought into it at all,” Baker says.

Of course this does not speak ill of Austin, but it does point a finger at a private business that has allegedly chosen to discriminate against one of its tenants.

Have any of our college readers dealt with a similar case of discrimination?

h/t: CBSAustin

Malaysia's Next Potential Prime Minister Seeks to Abolish Anti-Gay Laws

Anwar Ibrahim, Malaysia's forthcoming Prime Minister, is adamant in dismantling antiquated anti-gay laws, according to Into More.

Malaysia has not had the best track record in regard to LGBT rights, with the country's government not being able to accept LGBTQ people as it goes against the dominant religion of Islam. Gay sex is also illegal in Malaysia and people who are charged and found guilty of having gay sex can find themselves imprisoned for years up to twenty years.

One such person is Anwar Ibrahim, who was found guilty of having gay sex in both 1998 and 2008 and has spent a total of eleven years in jail. This is, I presume, partially why Ibrahim wants to do away with the archaic laws. Ibrahim has repeatedly denied the charges against him.

He has called the sodomy laws "unjust" and said that "Not only [am I a] victim, but many others can be victims." Frequently when Ibrahim when imprisoned he was placed in solitary confinement. His response to being denied seeing anyone is quite poetic. He said: "when it is denied to you, freedom is a torture and also a reason for survival." He also said that being in a small cell for a decade is "a tough experience" and that "You need to be strong-willed, you have a strong sense of conviction of what you believe in... if you understand that this is against the system, which is blatantly unjust, you realize that it's not going to be easy." 

Malaysia's current Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohamad, has said that LGBT rights are western values and another Malaysian politician, Mujahid Yusof Rawa, announced that the government will be releasing Guide to Self Migration, a "self-help" book that is basically a how-to manual for conversion therapy. It is currently available in the Google Play store but I don't recommend any Android users download it.

During a meeting, Ibrahim said in regard to the sodomy laws: "I've called publicly for the revision of the laws because I consider them archaic and they could be used against people." Some people in the meeting believe that he is talking around the question, saying that he's more concerned about protecting innocent people than protecting the rights of LGBTQ Malaysians. Anwar's wife, Wan Azizah Wan Ismail has said that gay and trans people can coexist in Malaysia as long as they don't promote their "lifestyle." Despite this, both he and his wife strongly condemned the whipping of two women who were "attempting to have sex."

Ibrahim has also promised to reform Malaysia's socioeconomic and political inequality against the marginalized, as a staggering 99.7% of Malaysian children who live in low-income housing in Kuala Lumpur are impoverished, 7% are living in complete poverty, and 22% have stunted growth due to malnutrition. 

It seems to me that LGBTQ rights in Malaysia are slowly coming into light with more people accepting non-heterosexual identities, but there is still a great deal of homophobia among the Malaysian population. It's nice to see that a potential politician is taking steps to increase LGBTQ rights, but is he really doing it for the sake of LGBTQ people? Let's hope so.

h/t: Into More

Hong Kong's Parliament Refuses To Consider Marriage Equality

Currently no countries in Asia offer any form of legal recognition of same-sex relationships.

And, for the moment, that’s how it will remain after Hong Kong’s Parliament voted down a measure that would have considered granting ‘equal rights’ to same-sex couples by a margin of 27 to 24, according to The Guardian.

“The government keeps avoiding studying policies for homosexual groups,” openly gay lawmaker Raymond Chan told the South Morning Post.

As the official who proposed the legislation, he demanded, “Opponents of this motion have to explain why they reject even such a small step forward.”

A socially-conservative region of the world, no countries in Asia offer same-sex marriage or civil unions. Opponents of such legal actions say any recognition of gay or lesbian relationships could negatively impact society.

Hong Kong has been slightly more liberal on LGBTQ issues having decriminalized homosexuality in 1991, as well as agreeing to recognize same-sex relationships when considering visas for visiting dependents.

The motion by Chan wasn’t even a move to make marriage equality legal. It would have simply asked the government  “to study the formulation of policies for homosexual couples to enter into a union so that they can enjoy equal rights as heterosexual couples.”

In related news, citizens of Taiwan will vote on a referendum this Saturday on the question of whether the island nation should recognize same-sex marriages, as well as whether homosexuality should be included in educational curriculum. 

In 2017, Taiwan’s high court ruled that gay and lesbian couples should have the right to marry and gave the country’s legislative body two years to make marriage equality legal.

The most socially liberal nation in the Asia region, over 130,000 attended Taiwan's Pride Parade this year.

(h/t The Guardian)