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Cathay Pacific’s gay couple ad championed by Hong Kong’s LGBTQ community

Cathay Pacific’s recently launched ‘Move Beyond’ campaign has – perhaps unwittingly – become a rallying cry of sorts for the LGBTQ community in Hong Kong.

An ad from the campaign featuring two men holding hands was allegedly deemed unsuitable for release by the Airports Authority and Hong Kong’s public transport body, the MTR. This provoked a round of protests and a grassroots campaign from the LGBTQ community in the city, which resulted in the Airports Authority and the MTR reversing their decision.  

Through the course of the protest, activists and supporters posed with images of the controversial ad, at metro stations. They also took photos similar to its central image. These pictures were then posted on social media with hashtags that made liberal use of Cathay Pacific’s ‘Move Beyond’ tagline. The protest was backed by Big Love Alliance, a Hong Kong based advocacy group for the LGBTQ community

We are people too. We love too. We grew up in Hong Kong too. We ride the MTR too. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀Join the movement…

Posted by KLAIW on Monday, 20 May 2019

The pressure compelled the Airports Authority and the MTR to revoke the ban.

The MTR additionally claimed that it had nothing to do with the initial non-appearance of the ad and that the decision had been taken by its outdoor agency JC Decaux. In a statement to the media, the MTR said: “We have requested the agency to fully consider the corporation’s commitment to equal opportunities and diversity when it considers advertisements in the future”.

The campaign was created by Publicis Groupe which had no comment to offer when approached by Mumbrella.

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