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Queerious Taiwan is an ongoing bilingual project that aims to celebrate diversity and bridge gaps between English-speaking and Chinese-speaking members of the LGBT community in Taiwan. 


酷兒思台灣是個正如火如荼進行中的雙語計畫,旨在慶祝多樣性,與橋接台灣LGBT社群中使用英語和中文成員的距離。

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© 2017 by Queerious Taiwan 酷兒思台灣

Safe inside/outside | 內外自逸

August 7, 2017

After all the years of being alone, moving around different cities, having to make new friends all the time, and not knowing (m)any LGBT persons through the years, I’ve come to realize that I’m safest ‘inside’ my head.

 

My choice of safe space most definitely has a lot to do with the environment that I grew up in. Malaysia and Singapore aren’t receptive, much less accepting of LGBT individuals. Sodomy is still criminalized (‘how can any man subject himself to this?!’), while lesbianism is made a mockery (‘It’s not sex as there’s no penis involved’). The official stance of these countries is that “homosexuality is a Western ailment, we don’t have it here”. And in these societies, an unmarried child is a huge loss of ‘face’, but a homosexual child in the family is an indignity beyond reproach. These beliefs may not be as strong as it was ten, twenty years ago, but the fact that no one prominent - no artist, no politician, no corporate figure - ever came out in public is a testament that hetero is still the (only) acceptable sexuality.

 

I’ve always been an unconventional child, at least in the eyes of the people I grew up with. I was a tomboy, but not so much in my behavior but more in my personality and temperament. No, I don’t get into fights nor did I climb trees. Yes, I love and do lots of sports, including the usual basketball, volleyball, handball and field hockey. No, I don’t like girlie things - pink, skirts, dresses, and make-up. Yes, I can live with just jeans and T-shirts/shirts. My parents were both strict and (emotionally) distant. I was never allowed to go to playdates and my family moved around a lot. Unable to find an outlet for my sensitive heart and conflicting emotions, I began to escape into the only place that I have access to - my own head.

 

Thus it is not surprising that after all these years, I am such an expert in living inside my head, and even more so after I realized that I am gay in my mid thirties. (Read about my coming-out here) Inside my head, I can totally be myself. I don’t have to worry about how others see me. The constant self-checking and self-censuring of my words and actions, to make sure no one suspects that I'm not straight, are both mentally exhausting yet essential to ensure no unwanted drama. The multitude of masks that I have to put on when I go out to face the world are suffocatingly necessary. As an introvert, I do not need much human interaction to get through life. I am perfectly happy living in the worlds I’ve created, especially the worlds I get to create and explore, all in my mind, while reading or watching TV shows/movies. So when I need to vent or just chill, I’ll happily ‘hibernate’ in my room and live inside my head.

 

July 19, 2016  was the night I went to my first Taipei LGBTQ+ weekly Meet-Up group gathering. As a recovering control freak, I was nervous as hell as I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I had come up with many excuses to give myself a reason to chicken out. But in the end, I am very grateful for whatever cosmic forces that made me traveled all the way from Tamsui to the gathering that night. It was the first time that I’ve seen and been in a space with so many LGBTQ+ people! Suddenly, I went from knowing just one queer person to being friends with so many. Everyone there was very supportive and accepting. I couldn’t sleep that night. My mind was replaying most of the conversations and many of the stories I’ve heard earlier. I realized that I’ve found ‘my people’.

 

During these gatherings, I can hug, touch and be physically affectionate without having to worry about my actions being misconstrued. I don't have to crack my head trying to frame questions to ask or answer people’s questions in a ‘heteronormative-way’. Even if I don’t feel like talking, I am contented to just sit back and soak up the atmosphere, to just observe and enjoy the camaraderie and sense of community that is permeating within this safe space. It is heartening to see that everyone can be themselves in this small judgemental-free corner that we’ve created. Here, being queer is not something to be hidden or to be censured. This is the one place and time to truly let our hair down and be as queer as we want to.

 

Truly, I am grateful to have finally found a space, outside my head, where I can take off the armor and masks that I had to put on to face the world, and just chilax with my fellow queers. I can stop worrying about my being queer, stop filtering my words and just stop pretending. So join me at our Taipei LGBTQ+ weekly Meet-Up group gatherings every Tuesdays.

 

Come, come and be yourself.

 

 

(Editor: Art M.)

 

 

 

這麼多年來依舊孑然一生,常常遊走不同的城市,總是在認識不同的新朋友,加上這些年來並沒有認識(很多)LGBT的朋友,我意識到我安全的意象停留在我的「腦海裡」。

 

我自己所認為的「安全」的地方絕大多數都與我長大的環境有關。星馬地區其實並不歡迎酷兒們,遑論「接受」這樣的一群人。男男肛交在星馬地區仍然非法(但有誰會去自首這樣的行為呢?),且女同志經常遭人恥笑(若沒有男性生殖器的性行為根本不能算是性行為!)。在這樣的國度中,認定「同性戀是從西方世界傳來的『疾病』,我們國家並沒有這樣的事情發生」。在這樣的社會中,多數家庭會覺得一直獨身的未婚子女,令人丟臉;然而,若是出現同性戀家庭成員,整個家族的人會覺得非常地不光彩,是家族中的恥辱。或許現在這樣的觀念已不如十幾二十年前強烈,但至今仍未有任何傑出的人物-沒有任何藝術家、政治人物、商界名流公開出櫃,再再顯示異性戀仍是「唯一」廣為接受的性取向。


我一直都不是大家眼中合乎常規的小孩,至少在我成長過程中身邊的人是這麼認為。我一直是個所謂的「男人婆」,並不是我的行為如此,而是我的個性及性情使然。我並不會動不動跟別人打架,也不會爬樹。但不置可否的是,我的確熱愛運動,舉凡籃球、排球、手球或曲棍球等等。我也並不喜愛所謂「女性化」的事物-粉紅色、裙子、洋裝或者是化妝品,我常常喜歡只穿件襯衫/T-shirt 搭配牛仔褲。我的雙親一直都很嚴厲,且 (在情感上)也都滿疏遠的。他們從不允許我去朋友家玩耍,且我們時常搬家。我敏感的心及激盪的情緒始終找不到一個出口,因此我決定逃離這一切喧囂,藏匿於我腦海中的世界。


正因如此,這麼多年來我一直都是徜徉腦海世界的「專家」,也不足為奇,甚至我三十多歲時意識到自己同志的身份。(可在這裡讀我的出櫃故事)在我的腦海中,我可以自在地做自己,我不用擔心別人對我的看法。不斷時時刻刻謹言慎行而不讓別人懷疑自己不是異性戀,雖在心理層面帶來極大的壓力但也至關重要,因為可以免去一些不必要的麻煩。面對這個令人窒息的殘酷世界,我總是需要一層又一層的戴上假面具。生性內向的我,並不需要無時無刻與人社交來了解彼此的生活。在我自己創造的小小天地中,我無比的開心,尤其是我在閱讀小說、觀賞電視節目或電影時,我可以在腦海裡創造的世界,不停地穿梭及探險。所以我想要透透氣的時候,我就會很開心地進到我的房間,進入我的內心世界中「冬眠」。


2016 年 7 月 19 日,那晚我第一次來到我在台北的 LGBTQ+ 每周聚會。身為一個還在康復的控制狂,我當天極度緊張,不曉得我會遇到什麼樣的狀況。我開始編很多理由,想給自己一個怯場的理由。但到最後,無論是這宇宙間什麼神奇的力量,我很感謝這樣的力量給了我動力,讓我遠從淡水一路到參加聚會的地點,出席當天晚上的聚會。那還是我生平第一次在一個地方遇到這麼多 LGBTQ+ 的人群!剎那間,我從原本只是一個單獨的酷兒,一下子認識了好多不同的朋友。大家都釋出善意,給予支持且非常歡迎更多不同的人群。我當晚徹夜難眠,腦海裡不斷地重複當晚跟不同人的對話,以及大家所分享故事。這一刻,我意識到我終於找到「我的族人」。


聚會期間,我可以擁抱大家,與大家有肢體上的接觸,且不需要擔心會有人對著我指指點點。我不再需要預設立場,假裝自己是異性戀來回答別人的問題,或者是用異性戀思維去講話。即便我沒有很想說話,我也可以靜靜地坐在那裏聆聽,享受這個片刻,或者看著大家享受整個夜晚,一種大家庭和樂融融的氣氛充斥在這個安全的環境之中。我非常高興看見大家可以在我們共同創造的這個空間,一個不用受到大家批評的小角落。在這裡,沒有人需要隱藏酷兒的身分,也不用擔心會有人責備你,說你的不是。在這裡,這個時刻你就是你,無須偽裝自己。


我由衷感謝找到這樣的空間,真的非常感謝。我終於可以走出我腦海的世界,我也不用掙扎著面對這個世界,而是到一個可以卸下武裝,拿下假面具,跟所有好友們共度時光的一個地方。我不用再為自己酷兒的身分煩惱,再也不用一直搜縮枯腸找到所謂「合適的字眼」,再也無須假裝!

 

來加入我們吧~ 一起來每個星期二晚上在台北(公館)的 LGBTQ+ 的聚會。與我們同樂,更重要的是─開心自在地做你自己!

 

(翻譯:Andrew Wang; 編輯: NC Kwong )

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