[Your / My Vision of the Parade] Gender Friendly Reporter - Shi Qianling

Author:Shi Qianling

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

Before I became a journalist, I had participated in rallies with my friends, I don't remember exactly how many times; however, my (heterosexual) friends were friendly and concerned about social issues, while my gay friends were reluctant to participate because they were worried about their identity being exposed.

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

Later, when I came to the march as a reporter for a reporting job, I deeply felt the changes in each year - the type of costumes in the march, from the typical red-topped artistes, has evolved into a variety of different styles in the past two years, with some people even appearing in the Lady Gaga look; and the number of lesbians has obviously increased, and the way of participation has gradually shifted to a more generous and confident look and the courage to declare one's subjectivity, instead of the silent and fearful way in the early days; of course, there are also the water boys who come out with just a pair of underpants every year, which attracts the attention of the media and the public! The number of lesbians has also increased, and the way they participate is different from the silent and fearful way in the early days, but has gradually changed into a generous and confident manner, and they are brave enough to declare their subjectivity; of course, there are also the water boys who wear only a pair of underwear every year, which attracts the attention of the media and the public!

Although the atmosphere is also that of a carnival, it can be seen that the people and organizations joining the march in the past few years have conveyed more diversified imaginations through various costumes; they are no longer just the stereotypes from the early days, or stuck in the perception that "a gay man is a man dressed up as a woman". This is the social and cultural progress that I have seen in the LGBT march, and it is also the most impressive thing to me.

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

I have not participated in any gay parades overseas, but I only receive news and information about them through the general media, such as Reuters. However, I think that the difference between gay parades in Taiwan and overseas is more of a cultural difference, just like the difference between a foreigner's party and a local party in Taiwan in terms of the way they are organized and the way they are participated in them, and it doesn't have anything to do with whether or not it's a gay parade.

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

I very much hope that the atmosphere of future LGBT rallies will remain on the happy and positive side of the spectrum. From a heterosexual perspective, I think the march is an annual opportunity for the public to see and recognize the gay community, especially for gay parents who want to know that their children are doing better and better.

Presenting a sunny and positive image of the LGBT community does not mean that the issue has to be put aside, only that there are many ways to talk about the issue, and it does not necessarily have to be expressed in a sad or angry way. In my opinion, the march has accumulated a lot of achievements so far. Although it is not possible to measure the exact progress of the movement like promoting a bill, if we can continue to develop a positive image and gradually influence the masses who watch the march every year, I believe that one day, our influence will spread to the national government, institutional policies, education and culture, and so on.