We’ve all heard the gripe many times before. Hong Kong’s gay scene is too small, too limited and too stifling. This isn’t without truth. There are only a handful of bars available and they’re all – sorry to say it – pretty much the same. “If I blindfold you and take you into one gay bar and told you it was another, you would believe me,” says former W Hotel Hong Kong artistic director DJ Angus Wong. “In Hong Kong we have, what, five gay bars and some karaoke bars on the island side. In London they have 200-plus gay listed venues that include bookstores, cafés, clubs and bars. The population of London is around eight million and the population of Hong Kong is around seven million, yet there is a great disparity of available gay venues.”
Frustrated by the present situation, Wong has been busy at work for the past year trying to put together a new, cool gay monthly event called Behind (your derrière, not what’s lurking behind you), which is set to launch on August 29 and then take place on the last Saturday of every month.
Recently, there’s been a wave of different groups trying to put on events that cater to a more diverse gay crowd. Out in HK has had a successful first year run organising salutary outdoor and sporting activities. Guerilla HK has been hell bent on bringing a gay crowd to straight bars and clubs for a Thursday happy hour. And the boys over at Plug Magazine have their seasonal indie parties open to gays, heteros, hipsters and everything in between. These varied organisations don’t want a cliché gay scene in Hong Kong and neither does Wong.
Wong’s expertise is in music, and if you’ve ever met him, you’ll know he’s also quite the stylish and dapper gentleman, one who isn’t afraid of being a bit snarky. “This is the night where cool people hang out. You can only come if you’re cool,” Wong chuckles. “It’s not about being pretty or shirtless. I want interesting gays, creative gays and alternative gays.” And of course, if you’re straight, you’re also welcome.
Don’t expect just a top 40 playlist or circuit party remixes at Behind. “For the launch I invited DJ Re:Flex to spin a set of 90s RnB. Expect some Brandy, TLC and Aaliyah.” Naturally, Wong will also be playing a set, and that’ll include some gay boy must-haves, like Kylie and Mariah, but also gay affirming indie bands like Clean Bandit and Years and Years. Just to throw some overt sex into the mix, Wong guarantees the night will not pass without some Miguel. “The music that I want to play includes some songs people may not have heard of, but will want to look up right when they get home. I think it’s so much more fun, listening to new stuff rather than what you’ve heard over and over again already.”
The party is taking place at LKF’s chic and newly renovated Post 97 [note: the venue has subsequently changed] and is modelled after London club Room Service. There is no cover charge and drinks are $50 all night long, so there is quite the monetary incentive to go. Aside from everything else, don’t forget to check out Behind’s Facebook page to learn the password for something extra special on the night.
Hong Kong’s gay scene may be a bit drab for now, but with Wong and the others out there opening up the back door, there’s hope yet. “At the end of the day, what I really want is just to bring the community closer together.”