Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Gay app aims to change attitudes

01 October 2012, 12:31

Hong Kong - Paul Ramscar believes his Pink Dollar "app" is a lot more than just another snippet of smartphone software: It is a social game-changer that will help end discrimination against gays and lesbians.

The smartphone application aims to put members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in touch with businesses deemed friendly to sexual minorities in socially conservative Hong Kong.

"It's not just an app, there is a bigger cause here," said the former investment banker who hails from Britain and moved to Hong Kong in 2007.

Ramscar believes the software - soon to be launched on Apple iPhones and eventually Android devices - will break down cultural barriers in a city where homosexuality was decriminalised only two decades ago.

"Having lived in Europe, the culture was very open. In London, for example, there is Soho which is a gay area. You can be open, be free; walking around holding hands, there are no problems," Ramscar said.

"In Hong Kong you can't really do that."

Hot pink

Conservative attitudes in the territory made international headlines last week after a Hong Kong tycoon offered a $65m "marriage bounty" to any man who can win the heart of his lesbian daughter.

More than 100 co-operating firms will participate in Pink Dollar, from gyms to restaurants and real estate agents.

Users will rate businesses' LGBT-friendliness with a scale from light to hot pink. A hot pink rating is the friendliest. Those that receive bad reviews may get a "please explain" visit from Ramscar himself.

With the "pink dollar" LGBT market worth around $2 - $3 trillion globally a year, Ramscar said the app will benefit businesses as much as consumers.

"The gay community keeps spending. They don't stop their spending habits because they don't have the commitments of kids, school fees and having to put extra food on the table, so they keep spending," he said.

Hong Kong is relatively safe for gays and lesbians, but rights groups say local laws are discriminatory and prejudice is widespread. Same-sex couples have no right to public housing or spousal visas, for example.

A survey of Hong Kong's LGBT community sponsored by British bank Barclays in May showed that 85% of respondents felt a "negative impact" at their workplaces due to their sexuality.

Business opportunity

Survey author Amanda Yik, from Community Business, a non-profit group that promotes corporate social responsibility, said the Pink Dollar app itself is a sign that discrimination exists in the regional banking centre.

"It shows there is definitely a business opportunity and market share that companies can tap into if they are able to demonstrate they are inclusive and welcome the LGBT community," she said.

Evan Steer, who has listed a restaurant and a bar with the app, believes it will make a difference.

"At the end of the day, money talks and people will start asking which businesses are not on the app. Where money flows, it can influence policy," he said.

"I hope the Pink Dollar app can be a stimulus for businesses to start discussing these LGBT community-related issues."



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...