[Your / My Vision of the March] Gender Friendly Reporter - Ho Ting Chiu

Author:He Dingzhao

What year was the first time you participated in a march? What were your impressions of the march/gay people before that?

What I find amazing is that from the time I was a student to the time I started working in society, I have always been surrounded by many gay friends, so sometimes I feel that I am like a family with my gay friends.

The first time I participated in a rally was after I started working in a newspaper, when I covered the fourth "Rainbow is Enough" rally in 2007. The rally was packed with people, and I found it very exciting and fun. Although I had never participated in a march in my personal capacity before that, because I have many gay friends around me, I often hang out with them and go to gay venues; and because I studied women's studies in the UK, where many of my teachers and students are gay or have related experience, I have seen many gay districts and events in the UK, so I didn't feel particularly shocked by Taiwan's gay marches.

What has impressed you most about the march in the past few years?

When I met friends at the rally who I already knew from my own life, I would say, "Hey, you're here too! There was a kind of tacit understanding that "I see you're gay too". Although I never asked for confirmation and I didn't think it was necessary, I still found it interesting and it was like we had a little more connection with each other. What's special is that I met some friends from Mainland China at the event, and they looked very happy and surprised, envious of the gay parade in Taiwan, as they had to be careful even coming to watch the parade. This makes me proud of the gay parade in Taiwan, because it is a right that is completely unimaginable and unavailable on the other side of the world.

In addition, many media reports often focus on strikingly dressed gay groups such as the Waterboys because they like to see a lot of action. I find this a bit unfortunate, as the gay rallies in Taiwan often present a lot of arguments and demands. However, this kind of serious subject matter is not well received in the news, making it difficult for the demands of the gay movement to be fully presented. It is also difficult for the reporter to find a way to take care of the "higher" stuff and talk about the demands for rights at the same time.

From your observation, what is the difference between the LGBT march in Taiwan and that in other countries?

The Taiwan LGBTQ Rally highlights a variety of different gender groups, as well as the importance of their respective demands, such as Bi the Way, Cruel Kids, Teachers' Alliance, Gay Teenagers, Leather Rope Gangs, and so on, which is quite interesting and varied. I think that, as Chun-Luei Ho said, this kind of division shows "diversity", and it takes a large enough number of groups/people to begin to separate into different categories and to show the various differences and styles. In the future, if there is a chance, I hope to see more queer people from different backgrounds marching together, such as migrant workers, but I believe they are under more pressure and it is more difficult for them to show up.

What do you envision or expect from the march in the next decade?

I recently looked at the information on the United States and Canada and found that there are very many closet parents who are willing to show up, while the number of closet parents in Taiwan is not only small, but also very low-profile. Therefore, I look forward to more parents joining the march in ten years' time to embrace and welcome their gay and lesbian children with a healthier and more positive attitude.

I also look forward to the time when gays and lesbians will have the right to marry and be able to walk the streets together as partners. I also hope that more religious organizations come out in support of the march. It is strange that in Canada, where more than 80% of the population are Christians, they are able to pass gay marriage and anti-sexual orientation discrimination laws, which are very friendly to the gay community; however, in Taiwan, where Christianity only accounts for less than 5% of the population, there is no way to protect the basic rights of the gay community. In the future, we will travel to the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom to conduct a series of reports on anti-racial, gender, and age discrimination, in the hope that we will be able to have more dialogues with the Taiwanese society, and provide some directions and thoughts.