2016 Taiwan LGBT Pride on October 29th! Challenging “Fun together”

Fun together -- Honor diversity, like you mean it.

Route

Say No to Fake Friendliness

For years, various gender organizations have worked continuously on different issues, making “gender issues” a term that entails a diverse set of topics, with each issue more and more exposed and discussed. By shaping legislations, education and advocacy, it is no longer impossible for the LGBTIQA community1 to acquire resources and to establish our identities. However, while the society shouts out loud slogans like “Witness diversities and embrace differences,” and “We are different, and it's okay,” sexist attitudes can still be observed and are reproduced almost everywhere. For example, the long-hair policeman Yeh Chi-Yuan was removed from his position for challenging the binary gender roles, while Olympic medalist Hsu Shu-Ching (who is a weight lifter) was suggested by a male reporter that she should “put her skirt back on.” From gender expression, HIV stigma, sexual exploration to drug use, the seem-to-be friendly “for your own good” attitude, which is familiar to most of us, is only a cover that conceals the subtle and almost invisible discrimination. We can’t help but wondering, is it only our false impression that the society is becoming more open and liberal?  

Since the “Gender Equity Education Act” (2004) as well as “Act of Gender Equality in Employment” (2008) offered legal protection to people with different genders, sexual orientations, gender expressions and identities, the LGBTIQA community has been given an institutional defense tool in both educational institutions and workplaces. However, are the laws comprehensive? Are the implementation details appropriate? These questions are calling for continuous dialogues and modifications.   

Laws are capable of providing a set of standards that regulate and prevent obvious discriminating behaviors, but they cannot replace education, conversations and understandings. Instead, they may reduce the possibility of interpersonal interactions and room for discussions, encouraging individuals to the path of simplified thinking , which only cares about how to avoid being attacked and criminalized. For example, statements such as “I respect transgender individuals, but I am afraid of sharing a restroom with them” and “I respect homosexuals, but they should not violate the traditional family values” may seem friendly, but in fact suggest discrimination and a lack of the ability of valuing real life experiences and noticing the unfavorable situation of the community. Rather, they make discrimination subtler and more difficult to be detected, excluding the LGBTIQA community from revealing its true color, keeping them constantly fighting against stereotypes, tired and wounded.    

Breaking the appearance of the fake friendliness is the key objective. But how? How could we avoid becoming a part of discrimination? Only by promoting conversations about various issues and among different groups, realizing our differences as well as strengthening empathy would we not contribute to the lip service of the fake friendliness. 

Support one another, like we mean it 
As long as we are a part of the society, all social issues are relevant to us. 

When people lack understandings about HIV/AIDS and try to segregate or ignore the disease and people affected with it, or even associate HIV/AIDS with all kinds of sexual stigmas, “fear” also becomes a disease2. A café hence announced that “all their utensils are cleaned by people with HIV/AIDS3,” hoping to encourage more people to reflect on the overly common and intimidating association between HIV stigma and the gay community, as well as to spread the idea that “people with HIV/AIDS are still our family, partners, colleagues, teachers, and classmates.”

Only by connecting ourselves with the community of people with different disabilities and learning about their needs and difficulties, could we truly understand their culture and the promotion of their rights4, rather than simply seeing ourselves as charity givers.  While the society always ignores the autonomy of the disabled, refuses to imagine their sexual desires as well as their ability to live independently, “Hand Job TW” was established and offers sexual services and company to people with severe disabilities. They break the stereotype of which the general public holds that disabled people have no sexual desires, and create a dialogue about the sexual right of people with disabilities5.

When gender issues become more open and diverse, the LGBTIQA community is also more likely to come out of the closet. Meanwhile, as long as the discrimination and fake friendliness still exist, LGBTIQA individuals who lack resources—such as the under-aged, individuals who live in a remote area and who are not financially independent, would be forced to hide themselves. Coming out of the closet is not the only way to participate in the movement, but if each of us could open up a little room in our daily life with the small actions we could afford—from a sentence, a discussion about a piece of news to a large protest, all these actions would become parts of a meaningful accumulation. We are not alone. When we connect with and support each other, we could create a truly friendly environment, allowing all of us to be more comfortable without having to worry about whether we should show ourselves or not. 

 

Honor diversity and have fun
Being friendly is only a start, while so many people are still suffering. Why should individuals’ freedom to sex and gender identity be monitored and trialed by the state? We witness that our government has invested plenty resources into replacing the concept of “both genders” to “diverse genders;” however, a simple change with wording cannot veil the vagueness of the policies. We do not want the fake friendliness that brings no actual rights and benefits. We also refuse to be segregated—to be treated differently in terms of marriage, to be constantly harassed by police because of our sexual desires, and to be ignored because of our identity as a disabled individual or a person with HIV/AIDS. Facing the fake friendliness that could be spotted everywhere, are you able to tell? 

Year after year, Taiwan LGBT Pride always hopes to liberate this diverse community with different ages, religions, races, social classes, disabilities and political tendencies from the layered maze of fake friendliness. We fight against the unjust, and discover partners who are still trapped and suffering. When we create a space for dialogues and the healing process, we are more likely to explore freely the meaning and beauty of our lives and have fun with it. Individuals who join the parade show the society their true and unique color and those who follow up with all sorts of issues and take actions make them more visible. The parade is not only for supporting ourselves, but also for people who couldn’t be there—if not more so.  We urge the society to take the “fake friendliness” seriously, so that the LGBTIQA community could not only enjoy the parade, but also feel free and have fun every single day.    


  1. LGBTIQA refer to all non-heterosexual individuals, as the alphabets are abbreviations for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Queer or Questioning, Ally or Asexual.   
     
  2. Hypochondriasis refers to when an individual is highly concerned about his/her physical condition and worried about imaginary diseases, and is difficult to be convinced the otherwise. Some individuals may experience such a condition when receiving a HIV test, because of the serious stigma the society attaches to HIV/AIDS. In this paragraph, we use the term to refer to people who are severely worried about the disease because of their lack of understandings. Learn more at:  http://hotline.org.tw/blog/819  
     
  3. The statement of h*our s café about announcing “All our utensils are cleaned by people with HIV/AIDS: http://bit.ly/2cuidlG  
     
  4. This year, the National Concert Hall and National Theater conducted their first renovation in 30 years, but did not consider increasing the number of seats for people in a wheelchair and with disabilities. Although both venues claimed that they are gradually making improvements and no laws were broken, they indeed excluded the “cultural right” of disabled people. Despite that relevant laws are already in place, they have not be implemented—among the 1500 seats in the National Theater, there are only 5 seats available to people with disabilities, which are significantly fewer than the 12 seats regulated by law. In the meantime, there are 2000 seats in the National Concert Hall, but only 6 seats accessible by people in a wheelchair. People with disabilities often have to endure a remote seat with an awful view when they wish to attend any performance. See more at:  http://bit.ly/2cWSiXP and http://bit.ly/2cWR4Mb. In addition, the newly opened “Resource Center for the Disabled” in Taipei City invited some disabled individuals to its opening ceremony, but only found out that it was almost inaccessible by people with disabilities without the help of others. See more at: http://disable.yam.org.tw/node/4602. In fact, the authority often comes up with different regulations but fails to supervise the execution. For example, the movement “Road without Obstacles” initiated in 2014 is still happening in different places in Taiwan. See more at:  http://disable.yam.org.tw/node/4128  
  5. Learn more at the office website of “Hand Jo TW”: http://www.handjobtw.org/ and https://theinitium.com/article/20160222-taiwan-Libido/   


Taiwan Pride Parade Route 2016

Presidential Palace: Jinfu Gate Roundabout

Set time 13:30
Departure time 14:30

North Route (Contingent Green, Blue, Purple)
Zhongshan S. Rd.→Qingdao E. Rd.→Linsen S. Rd.→Sec. 1, Zhongxiao E. Rd.→Sec. 2, Zhongxiao E. Rd.→Sec. 1, Xinsheng S. Rd.→Sec. 2, Ren'ai Rd.→Sec. 1, Ren'ai Rd.

South Route (Contingent Red, Orange, Yellow)
Sec. 1, Xinyi Rd.→Sec. 2, Xinyi Rd.→Xinsheng S. Rd.→Sec. 1, Heping E. Rd.→Sec. 2, Roosevelt Rd.→Sec. 1, Roosevelt Rd.→Zhongshan S. Rd.

 

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