Category: Media & Culture / September 27, 2012 12:32 PM EDT
Thousands of men have sent marriage proposals to the lesbian daughter of a Hong Kong property tycoon after he offered $500 million HKD ($64 million USD) to a successful son-in-law.
Gigi Chao, who received a church blessing in France with her long-term partner of seven years in April, laughed about the overwhelming response that is now flooding her inbox.
She has received offers from gay men, Hollywood producers, and a man who acted as George Clooney’s body double in the movie ‘Leatherheads.
"I wasn't angry at all. I was really quite touched, very touched and very ... how should I say? Moved, by daddy's announcement. I mean, it's really his way of saying 'baby girl, I love you. You deserve more,' basically," Chao said.
As a public figure and heir to one of Hong Kong's richest men, Chao's partnership has long been known in the public.
Gigi, who would neither confirm nor deny reports of her marriage, said her father reacted with the promise of a multi-million dollar dowry because he could not accept her sexual preference as a social statement.
"I'm actually really close to my dad and we talk about intimately about, you know, our lives and relationships, and we see each other daily in the office. It's not that, well, it's obvious that he doesn't accept his daughter being gay, first of all, but he doesn't accept that as a social statement. He can accept it, sort of, as an in-the-closet lifestyle choice, but not as a social statement," Chao said.
Although news of the bounty splashed across some newspaper frontpages, Chao said the media had been positive, with some choosing not to report on the case as a way to show support.
Some Hong Kong residents expressed their sympathy for Chao.
"First impression was that, poor girl, you know. Why is the father doing it? Why is he forcing her to do something that's not her nature? I didn't know that they were so close," said 40-year-old housewife Claire Lam.
James Ganniban, a gay activist who organizes Mr. Gay Hong Kong, said he was concerned whether Gigi Chao's incident could help raise gay rights awareness in the long run.
"With Gigi's situation, after the initial shock of the ostentatiousness of it all has worn off, after the novelty has worn off, how are we able to have a follow-through conversation about this?" Ganniban said.
Homosexuality was decriminalized in Hong Kong in 1991, though gay marriage is still not recognized by law.