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  1. ITV Report

'Dear Daddy, you must accept I'm a lesbian'

The lesbian daughter of a Hong Kong tycoon who publicly offered millions of pounds to any man who could seduce and marry her has appealed to her father to accept who she is.

Cecil Chao made headlines in 2012 when he offered over 500 million Hong Kong dollars (£40 million) to any man who could successfully persuade his daughter, who has been in a relationship with a woman for over nine years, to marry.

Mr Chao, a billion dollar property magnate, has since doubled the offer according to one Malaysian newspaper, claiming he has not given up hope of persuading his daughter to enter a heterosexual relationship.

Gigi Chao, the daughter of Hong Kong property tycoon Cecil Chao. Credit: Reuters

Irritated by her father's unwavering attitude towards her sexuality and relationship with her long-term partner, Ms Chao decided to write an open letter calling on him to accept her for who she is.

In the letter, addressed "Dear Daddy", published by two Hong Kong newspapers, Gigi attempts to get her father to realise the unrealistic expectations he has of her.

"As your daughter, I would want nothing more than to make you happy. But in terms of relationships, your expectations of me and the reality of who I am, are not coherent," she said.

Gigi Chao speaks next to a family photo of herself, her father (C) and brother Howard. Credit: Reuters

"With Sean, a woman, somehow it was different. I am comfortable and satisfied with my life and completely at ease with her. 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."

She also said her father's acceptance of her partner would "mean the world to me", and asked him to "not be so terrified of her, and treat her like a normal, dignified human being".

A flood of men offered dates and marriage proposals to the lesbian daughter of Cecil Chao who was willing to pay to a successful son-in-law. Credit: Reuters

Cecil Chao, who made his fortune as a Hong Kong property developer, once claimed to have had 10,000 girlfriends but has never married.

Gigi Chao is one of his three children by three different women.

After her father's offer was made public, Ms Chao was inundated by phone calls and messages asking for her hand in marriage.

The 33-year-old received over 20,000 response to the offer, according to The South China Morning Post.

Gigi Chao shows part of a marriage proposal email she received after her father's offer. Credit: Reuters

One would-be-suitor even said "I want to be a billionaire!" during the proposal.

The 33-year-old used Facebook to urge interested parties to give up the pursuit.

"Dear Earthlings, Thank you for your flood of marriage proposals, love letters, business proposals, death threats and other general correspondence," she said in one post.

"Whether you are Muslim, Catholic, atheist, Hindu, or what your world views may be, I implore you to stop bothering my friends or my receptionist."

The 33-year-old posted this response to the numerous marriage proposals on her Facebook page. Credit: Facebook

The 33-year-old struck an angrier tone during an interview with The Times saying: "Since Dad thinks it’s so easy for me to switch from gay to straight, I should just leave it for him to demonstrate. I think I’ll marry a man when he marries a man.”

Gigi Chao's story has attracted headlines all over the world with Sacha Baron Cohen, the actor behind Borat and Ali G, rumoured to be working on a film inspired by the billionaire's proposal.

Gigi Chao's story has attracted headlines all over the world. Credit: Reuters

The open letter from Gigi Chao to her father in full:

Dear Daddy,

I thought the timing was right for us to have a candid conversation.

You are one of the most mentally astute, energetic yet well mannered and hard-working people this humble earth has ever known.

Your confidence, quick wit, and charisma brightens any room you enter.

I love you very much, and I think I can speak for my brothers also, that we have the utmost respect for you as a father and role model in business.

I am sorry that people have been saying insensitive things about you lately. The truth is, they don’t understand that I 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.

As your daughter, I would want nothing more than to make you happy. But in terms of relationships, your expectations of me and the reality of who I am, are not coherent.

I am responsible for some of this misplaced expectation, because I must have misled you to hope there were other options for me. You know I’ve had male lovers in the past, and I’ve had happy, albeit short-lived, relationships. I found myself temporarily happy, buoyed by the freshness, the attention, the interest, of someone physically stronger than myself.

But it was always short-lived, as I quickly lost patience, and felt an indescribable discomfort in their presence. It usually made me frustrated, and I would yearn for my freedom again. I’ve broken a few hearts, hearts of good, honest and loving men, and I’m sorry that it had to be so.

But with Sean, a woman, somehow it was different. I am comfortable and satisfied with my life and completely at ease with her. 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, who does a good job of looking after me, ensuring I am fed, bathed and warm enough every day, and generally cheering me up to be a happy, jolly girl. 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 understand it is difficult for you to understand, let alone accept this truth.

I’ve spent a lot of time figuring out who I am, what is important in my life, who I love and how best to live life, as an expression of all these questions. I am proud of my life, and I would not choose to live it any other way (except also figuring out how to be gentler on the planet).

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.

Patiently yours,

Your daughter, Gigi