In Hong Kong, where homosexuality was only decriminalized two decades ago, a new smartphone app is aiming to end discrimination against LGBT people by identifying which local businesses are most inclusive.
“It’s not just an app, there is a bigger cause here,” said Paul Ramscar, a British former investment banker and developer of “Pink Dollar.” “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. In Hong Kong you can’t really do that.”
Hong Kong, it seems, is a city in flux. Raymond Chan was recently elected as the first openly gay member of the legislature, but just last week, a Hong Kong billionaire borrowed the plot from an awful Adam Sandler movie and offered $65 million to any male suitor who could woo his lesbian daughter.
More than 100 businesses will participate in “Pink Dollar,” including gyms, restaurants and real estate agents. Users will be able to rate a business’ LGBT friendliness on a scale of light to hot pink[!], with hot pink being, you guessed it, the friendliest.
With the LGBT market spending some $2-3 trillion a year globally, the pink dollar is worth too much for businesses to throw away. “At the end of the day, money talks and people will start asking which businesses are not on the app,” said restaurateur Evan Steer. “Where money flows, it can influence policy.”