UPDATE The Money Is Off The Table: Billionaire Withdraws £72m 'Marriage Bounty' For Lesbian Daughter - For Now...
The lesbian daughter of a Hong Kong billionaire who offered a “marriage bounty” of £72million to the man who successfully woos her, has written her father a open letter pleading that he accept her as she is.
Gigi Chao had already eloped with Sean Eav, her partner of nine years when Cecil Chao made his first offer of £40m in 2012.
Despite his refusal to recognise their relationship, Gigi, a prominent gay rights activist and founding member of Hong Kong-based Big Love Alliance, has maintained her father’s actions are borne from love.
But now, as her father increases the pressure and the dowry, she has penned him a respectful, heartfelt note imploring him to leave her be.
The former Manchester University student assures her beloved father she will “always forgive you for thinking the way you do, because I know you think you are acting in my best interests – and we both don’t care if anybody else understands."
“I know it’s difficult for you to understand how I could feel romantically attracted to a woman; I suppose I can’t really explain it either. It just happens, peacefully and gently, and after so many years, we still love each other very much.
“My regret is that you have no idea how happy I am with my life, and there are aspects of my life that you don’t share. I suppose we don’t need each other’s approval for our romantic relationships, and I am sure your relationships are really fantastic too.
“However, I do love my partner Sean... She is a large part of my life, and I am a better person because of her.
“Now, I’m not asking you to be best of friends; however, it would mean the world to me if you could just not be so terrified of her, and treat her like a normal, dignified human being.
“I’m sorry to mislead you to think I was only in a lesbian relationship because there was a shortage of good, suitable men in Hong Kong.
“There are plenty of good men, they are just not for me.
“Wishing you happiness.
“Your daughter, Gigi.”
The letter is published in full in the South China Morning Press.
Presumably inspired by the cash, more than 20,000 suitors applied for Gigi’s hand in marriage the first time round, according to TIME magazine.
Cecil, who earlier this week told Malaysian newspaper Nanyang Siang Pau he had “no desire to interfere with my daughter’s life”, has spoken longingly of his wish for grandchildren.
“I would not force her to marry a man. But obviously I would, from my point of view, prefer her to be married and to have grandchildren,” the 76-year-old told the Financial Times in January 2013.
Same sex marriages are not recognised in Hong Kong, where homosexuality was decriminalised in 1991.