Denise Ho is an award-winning Hong Kong-based singer and actress, as well as a pro-democracy and LGBTQ+ rights activist. Ho is an accomplished musician who entered the music industry in the 90s at age 19. In 2012, Ho became the first openly lesbian singer in Hong Kong. Since then, she has advocated for LGBTQ rights globally.
Ho has also become a leading figure in Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement. She was a prominent supporter of the Anti-Extradition bill protests and was arrested as a staunch supporter of the 2014 Umbrella Movement. Since then, the Chinese government has banned her from performing in China – where she enjoyed popularity as a singer.
In 2016, following Ho’s meeting with the Dalai Lama, French cosmetics brand Lancôme cancelled a promotional concert featuring her. In response, Ho started crowdfunding her concerts to avoid corporate censorship.
Despite facing pressure from the Chinese government, Ho continues to speak out for democracy and LGBTQ rights globally and was featured in an extensive profile in The New Yorker. She has also appeared in CNN, Fox News, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times and was selected as one of BBC’s 100 Women in 2016.
In July 2019, Ho spoke on behalf of UN Watch at the UN Human Rights Council, where she was interrupted twice by China’s delegation who claimed that she was “defaming” China for speaking against its interference in Hong Kong. Click here to watch her testimony.
In late 2021 Ho was arrested and detained in Hong Kong. The Geneva Summit worked with alumni and lawmakers across the world to call for an urgent session of the UN Human Rights Council on her behalf. She was freed soon after.