Sunday, October 5, 2014

Today's Rally: Pass The Damn Marriage Equality Bill Already!

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Or as I call it, the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Freedom, because it's really insane that this bill has been purposely delayed for so long, and insane-r that its homophobic detractors changed the language to allow three-way marriages, group marriages etc. in the hopes that that would kill the bill (assholes).

Especially when more than half of Taiwanese citizens support marriage equality.

So, LGBT rights activists, getting louder by the day in Taiwan, are getting fed up and starting to push for change.

And it's a good thing too. If Taiwan passes marriage equality, it will be the first country in Asia to do so. It will be a true thought leader, a truly modern and progressive society. (No, I don't believe it is possible to have a modern society without equal rights and that includes marriage equality). It will set itself apart in all the best ways. It will be a beacon of conscience in a sea of homophobia (not that the West doesn't have plenty of that too, of course). It will stand apart. Taiwan can, should...nay, must do this.

With Pride coming up on October 25th, this smaller rally had a more specific goal than "we're proud!" - it was to urge legislators to stop sitting on their hands and pass the damn bill already (it would be great if it didn't have all that 'group marriage' language in it, but I care so little about that that it doesn't change my opinion that the bill must be passed). The people support it. You know it's the right thing to do. You probably don't have any Bible-fundie "but it's my reliiiiiiigion to be homophobic, how dare you call me a bigot, God told me to think this way!" objections, so pass it.

I would estimate attendance was in the thousands - maybe not 10,000 as organizers had hoped, but pretty good for a small, poorly publicized (at least I only heard of it through a friend) rally aimed at the passage of a specific bill that, while the issue has broad support, is just not a "bring out the crowds" issue the way it is in the USA.

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One thing the protestors did was put symbolic locks on the gate of the Legislative Yuan, to symbolize one's conscience being locked by homophobia (the legislators' names and photos were chosen, obviously, based on who opposes the bill). Legislators were invited to come and unlock their locks - three did, apparently.

Wang Jin-ping's presence on this wall does not surprise me. He has no conscience, and he likely doesn't think this issue is important enough that he has to use political capital to support it against the general will of his party.

Nor does it surprise me that the strong majority of those against the bill are KMT - a reactionary, conservative party who at worst actively inhibits and at best is apathetic about social reform (that wasn't always the case - a lot of advances in women's rights were passed by then-KMT-affiliated President Lee Teng-hui at the turn of the millenium). No surprise at all that if you want to overturn homophobia, you need to kick out the KMT. I can't find the source right now but will keep looking - I have read that about 4/5 of KMT legislators don't support the bill, whereas 4/5 of the DPP do.

What does surprise me is that it seems Hsiao Bhi-khim's name is on there. Brendan and I both thought of her as an American-style progressive - I can't imagine what's going on here. If someone could enlighten me I'd appreciate it.

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Also, no rally is complete without a dog wearing a funny ribbon, sticker or outfit.

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I would love this Pride flag superimposed with Taiwan if they hadn't included the "Taiwanese" (read: ROC) flag - I don't care for it and its KMT associations, especially as the KMT is the main reason the bill has not yet been passed.

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Pan-green sentiments, such as Taiwanese independence, and LGBT rights tend to go hand-in-hand in Taiwan.

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I have this water bottle that I take to all the protests, which serves as a repository for the stickers they give out. The Chinese for the marriage equality one says "homophobia is unconstitutional". I'm not sure if that's strictly true, but that's not the point. (I'm also a fan of "I don't need sex because President Ma fucks me every day!", which is on the lower left).

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"A divorced Christian could marry a virgin - why can't a gay person?"

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I don't get this one - "even the unmarried queens all marry"?

The smaller sign says, I think, 需要恢復的是我們結婚的權利 or "the need to resume (the passage of the bill, I guess) "is our right to marry".

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More pan-green (and to be fair, pan-blue, but mostly for political convenience) sentiments intertwined with pride. This sign says that she hopes for real democracy in Hong Kong, and that we can have universal marriage rights in Taiwan.

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8 comments:

Pierre said...

I wasn't aware of this demonstration...

"a lot of advances in women's rights were passed by then-KMT-affiliated President Lee Teng-hui at the turn of the millenium"

Can you tell us more about those?

Jenna Cody said...

http://laorencha.blogspot.tw/2011/03/re-defining-rape-in-taiwan.html

For example (as above) laws regarding rape in Taiwan were changed in 1999.

I believe, but would have to hunt down sources, that sexual harassment etc. laws also started to get passed around that time and through the early 2000s (the Chen era).

But, the link inside the page above that deals with this goes to a site that seems to no longer exist, so I'll have to do some more searching to find up-to-date sources.

I personally feel that, so close to a changeover from KMT to DPP rule, the KMT, fearful that it would lose votes to the more progressive DPP (with "progressive" in their name, even!), rushed these laws through in order to prove they were not reactionaries.

Of course, they *are*, but that didn't stop them from trying to prove otherwise. And they still lost.

Rachel said...

Sorry, I posted the comment to the wrong article, so I'll just post it again.

"Queen" is a famous blogger (yes, she calls herself that.) who writes articles about the ideal qualities of modern women and how women can live a better life without men.

She said that she didn't want to get married (不婚) and didn't fantasize a perfect wedding. Yet, she just got married a week ago in Japan.

Her Facebook fan page: https://www.facebook.com/queenfansclub

Jenna Cody said...

That is very interesting, thanks!

Jenna Cody said...

All I see on her page is recent news about her marriage, will have to dig deeper. I am curious what she says the qualities of an 'ideal woman' are?

I personally think there aren't any - there are ideal 'good people' qualities shared by the genders and most of them boil down to "don't be an asshole and don't let others be assholes to you if you can help it". But nothing specifically regarding being a good woman. A good woman can act very much like a man if she wants, and vice versa!

Cary said...

Do you have any insight into how 同志, the old commie 'comrade' term came to be the (I'm assuming) designation for LBGT in Taiwan?

Rachel said...

I am not a fan of hers, so I can't really tell you the details.

I agree with your point of ideal good people qualities. For me, it's weird to hear people (usually writers who give relationship advice) say that "women should love themselves more" because not only women, but everyone should love themselves!

Jenna Cody said...

Cary - I don't, sorry. I would be curious to know, too.

After reading her page I'm not sure I'd like her either. Partly I just don't care for the pink&feminine image she presents. Secondly, after getting past all the wedding posts, there seems to be some product hawking, like face crap in pink bottles and bags with little bobblehead cartoons and stuff - BARF. Finally, when I finally got to some of her ideas about being a modern woman, some of it was pretty good (enrich your mind, physical beauty only fades if you believe older is uglier, wisdom and compassion are better than looks, love yourself and be confident etc.) but after awhile it all read like "an ideal woman is wise, educated, confident, generous, loving, optimistic and ABOVE ALL SHE IS ALWAYS HAPPPPPPPY. She is always optimistic, never upset, she always smiles, never frowns, she must never show that she is anything other than polished and in control at all times". I get the feeling that her ideal woman loves the beauty in everyone because she herself is physically attractive, so she has the luxury of saying looks don't matter (in fact, they do, but it is possible to refuse to live your life by that), poops roses and never, ever drops the F-bomb.

It never actually says this but that's how it reads. Same brainwashing and stress-inducing expectations, different milieu.

My ideal woman (person, really) has bad days, is generally smart but occasionally makes mistakes, can be forgiven for her occasional slips, may or may not have a quick tongue but is hopefully funny while she's using it, and is times cynical, pissed off or upset - - and that's okay because she is human.