Author: Zhou Meiling 18 October 2012
1. When was the first time you participated in a gay and lesbian march in Taiwan? What was the reason for your participation?
I participated in the first rally in 2003, and at that time, I even cooperated with the organizer to have our restricted gay documentary "Private Corner" screened in February 28th Park. Before the screening, we were afraid that the police would come and take it down for being a nuisance, so we came up with a line of defense: "If there are nude statues in the park, why can't there be nude art films? Luckily, nothing happened, but for us, showing a documentary about gay lust in a gay space like February 28th Park is a kind of art in action.
Because it was the first time, we had a sense of mission as "seeds". At that time, I had just finished shooting the movie "The Glamorous Cabaret" and dragged the actors and actresses in the movie together to participate in the parade; for the first time, friends in the circle needed each other's companionship and cheering each other up; in the subsequent years, the parade became more and more powerful, so there was no need to canvass for votes, but as long as I was in Taipei, even if there was only a spare moment to cut a movie, I would come out to participate in a small part of the parade. But as long as I am in Taipei, even if I only have time to cut a movie, I will still come out to join the march.
2. What has impressed you most about the rallies in the past few years?
The first time I did a rainbow geoscape (2007), I remember standing under the flags and watching them stretching all the way to the end of the rainbow, which was quite touching. The next day, when I saw the media's bird's-eye view from above, the image of the six-color rainbow flag was still very touching.
3. From your observation, are there any differences between the LGBT march in Taiwan and abroad?
In fact, the first time I participated in a gay parade was in New York, I think it was in 2001, when I was traveling around the world. At that time, New York's LGBT march was already very commercialized, with advertisements and tourists everywhere. Taiwan's LGBT march is more in the nature of a social movement, but compared to other social movements, our image is less radical, and we express our demands in a moderate way, trying to find a way to get along with the society instead of opposing each other. Because we are not different from everyone else, but we have the courage to present ourselves as different from the mainstream of the society - in terms of our costumes, emotions and desires.
Taiwan society has always had a certain "demonic barrier" against homosexuality: the stereotypical fear. In fact, as long as we face up to the existence of the LGBT community, we will realize that LGBT people are actually not scary at all. The march is to give the public an opportunity to take a good look at the gay community and realize that they are actually no different from us, and the fear of gay people will naturally disappear.
4. What do you envision or expect from the march in the next decade?
Imagine... I hope that the LGBT march in ten years will be organized by the presidential office, or even have a LGBT president to participate in the march! I think the most conservative force in Taiwan is politics, and the political circle is so conservative that no one dares to come out of the closet; therefore, if we can break through this final barrier, it will be the most fruitful achievement of the LGBTQ movement, and the biggest progress of the Taiwanese society.
Chau Mei Ling/Independent producer-director. Her famous works include the movies "Tattoo" and "Drifting Youth", the TV series "Dead Girl", and the documentary "Private Corner".