Sunday, October 5, 2014
Today's Rally: Pass The Damn Marriage Equality Bill Already!
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.
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.
Also, no rally is complete without a dog wearing a funny ribbon, sticker or outfit.
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.
Pan-green sentiments, such as Taiwanese independence, and LGBT rights tend to go hand-in-hand in Taiwan.
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).
"A divorced Christian could marry a virgin - why can't a gay person?"
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".
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.