Overseas Conference

Pearl Wong's Presentation at GIN Side Event on The impact of faith on LGBTI people during the COVID-19 pandemic

Presentation at GIN Side Event on Sept. 28, 2020

The impact of faith on LGBTI people during the COVID-19 pandemic

Presented by Pearl Wong, Queer Theology Academy, Hong Kong SAR


  First, Social distancing cut-off LGBTIQ+ people from Their Caring Communities and Interconnectedness

  According to a recent survey conducted in May this year with 860 LGBT+ in Hong Kong, respondents suffering from probable clinical depression rose from 29% before the Covid-19 pandemic, to 32%. Respondents suffering from general anxiety disorder rose from 24% to 28%, according to a paper on the survey published in the medical journal psychiatry research. Some 4% of respondents reported that they had frequently experienced family conflicts arising from their sexual orientation due to social-distancing that encourage people to stay home. More than 34% also said that the pandemic had reduced their connection to the rest of the LGBT+ community, where they were most likely to find peer support.[1]

Caring communities are an essential support network to LGBTIQ+ people who are forced to cope with discrimination and shame because of their sexualities. Education and experience sharing in a supportive environment can foster positive attitudes towards issues such as depression and anxiety disorder. The caring community can arrange different workshops and creativity courses to stimulate body, mind and spirit.

The inn in the Good Samaritan parable (Luke 10:25-37) is an analogy of a caring community in providing interconnectedness.[2] In caring for the wounded person the Good Samaritan did not do this on his own, rather, the innkeeper and the inn itself are part of a community in caring for the wounded. Together they work as a team to care for the needy. The role of the inn is equally important as the shelter for the wounded where healing takes place.

 The parable emphasizes the interconnectedness between the carer, the care seeker and the place that houses God’s love. Freud’s psychoanalysis of individualism and separation as human development has a tremendous influence on the dominant socio-cultural norm. Karen Horney argues that human beings especially women need one another for caring and love.[3] In Genesis 3, the departure of humanity from the Garden of Eden represents humanity’s separation from God, and this separation causes separation from our true selves and from others. God is in-relation with humanity and it is in our relationship with God that enables us to connect with ourselves and others.  The interconnectedness can be re-established in a spiritual shelter, a caring community where LGBTIQ+ people seek healing from woundedness, affirm their sexualities and restore wholeness and well-being.


  Second, many events have been canceled because of Covid-19 and that includes two major LGBTIQ+ events held annually in Hong Kong. Hong Kong Pride Parade advocates LGBT+ rights, protects against discrimination and legal recognition of same-sex relationships. Pink Dot HK has been an annual event for the past 5 years organized for LGBTIQ+ and their families, allies, friends and colleagues in support of diversity and love equality.

  Inspired by Queer biblical scholar Ronald E. Long, I assert that the Visibility of LGBTIQ+ people in the Public Arena has the following significances.  LGBTIQ+ people affirm diversity in sexualities, gender identities and expressions, and there is no doubt that we exist in our society and our church. We only become “invisible” when some people choose to ignore our existence by silencing us. By coming out we proclaim full respect of sexualities in human life. [4]

  Furthermore, the redemption and liberation experienced through the encounter of LGBTIQ+ Christians with Christ affirm that we are created in the image of God; created for a life with dignity and worthiness. We also bear witness to God’s inclusive love.  The existence of LGBTIQ+ can “liberate” the Bible and our Christian tradition from a homophobic world. Queering hermeneutic transgresses the restrictive interpretation that terrorizes and oppresses, to restore its rich texts to transformative action for change.


Finally, I share the impact of National Security Law in Hong Kong

  Using the 2019 protests as an excuse, National Security Law came into effect on July 1, 2020, which is totally destructive to the welfare of a free and open society of Hong Kong.  This law threatens democracy, freedom of speech and basic human rights, the lives of the marginalized groups become more vulnerable, and this includes LGBTIQ+ people.

  Christian communities in Hong Kong are concerned with freedom of religion; we are concerned that LGBTIQ+ people of faith will be intimidated from speaking out on issues regarding their rights and welfare. Nevertheless, as Christians, we continue to take a prophetic role: “to do justice, to love kindness, and walk humbly with God.” (Micah 6:8)

  I pray that hope and love will take away fear!


[1] https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/society/article/3096182/coronavirus-hong-kongs-lgbt-community-more-depressed-anxious

     [2] Bonnie J. Miller-McLemore, “The Living Human Web: Pastoral Theology at the Turn of the Century,” in Through the Eyes of Women: Insights of Pastoral Care, ed. Jeanne Steven Moessner and Bonnie J. Miller-McLemore (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1996), 210.

[3] Riet Bons-Storm, The Incredible Women: Listening to Women’s Silences in Pastoral Care and Counseling (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1996), 108.


[4] Ronald E. Long, “Introduction” in The Queer Bible Commentary, ed.Deryn Guest, Robert E. Goss, Mona West and Thomas Bohache (London: SCM Press, 2006),17.