Construing Sex Discrimination Prohibitions in India and Hong Kong

Conventional wisdom is that countries in the developed West lead in establishing rights related to sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression (SOGIE). This view suggests SOGIE rights begin in the West and then are exported and adopted by the rest of the world. Our presentation challenges this narrative by examining cutting-edge judicial opinions from India’s Supreme Court and Hong Kong’s Court of Final Appeal. Specifically, this paper discusses ways these Asian courts have surpassed apex courts in the West by interpreting sex discrimination bans capaciously to protect against discrimination based on gender identity and gender expression. While the judicial opinions from India and Hong Kong are by no means perfect, they were groundbreaking. We use these cases as a springboard for discussing the importance of recognizing that Asia does not merely emulate SOGIE rights protections from the West; instead, parts of Asia are at the forefront of change.