This article was first published in South China Morning Post on Nov 13, 2019.
本文於2019年11月13日首次發表在《South China Morning Post》上。
Antonia is kind enough to allow this website to translate her article into Chinese so that it may reach more people in Asia. So please do share this with your friends and family.
Taiwan more than ever a beacon for LGBT Asians after gay marriage law’s passage – ‘The difference between knowing there are a lot of people like you … and seeing it’
• They go from Indonesia, Malaysia, Hong Kong and elsewhere to see for themselves what it is like to be homosexual yet feel secure, to see gay couples hold hands
• Some LGBT Asians pay short visits to the island, such as for last month’s Pride parade; others move there to study or to stay long-term
• 有些來自其他亞洲國家的同志朋友僅是短暫拜訪台灣 (如一同參與上個月底的同志大遊行)，而某些選擇來台求學或者長住深根
Taiwan was a safe haven for queer Asians long before it became the first place in the region to pass same-sex marriage legislation in May. The island is often the first place LGBT individuals from elsewhere, whether there as tourists or residents, can be visibly non-heterosexual and still feel secure, according to members of the community. At the 17th annual Pride parade in Taipei late last month, the first since the gay marriage legalisation was enacted, emotions ran high as LGBT community members from the island, and countries including Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, celebrated together.
早在今年 (2019 年) 五月份成為首個通過同志婚姻法案的亞洲國家前，台灣已是亞洲酷兒們的避風港。根據某些同志社團成員所述，台灣常是亞洲其他地區同志們 (無論是遊客或是居民) 第一個會想到可以大方做自己且仍感到安全的地方。上個月舉辦的第十七屆台北同志大遊行為同志婚姻法案通過後的首屆，不少來自台灣本地及亞洲其他國家 (日本、南韓、新加坡、馬來西亞及印尼等) 的同志社群一同前往共襄盛舉，各個情緒高昂，歡慶這得來不易的權利。
Kevin, a 26-year-old Indonesian content producer who was raised in a Catholic family and does not want to reveal his full name for privacy reasons, says it was the second time he had flown in from Jakarta to attend the Pride parade. “I think the legalisation was a hard-won battle and I really, really feel for Taiwanese people,” he says. “Coming from Indonesia, especially, we know how hard the struggle must have been. So I am here to show solidarity.”
現年 26 歲的凱文來自印尼，從事專案企劃，家人為虔誠的天主教徒。因顧及隱私，他不願意透漏全名，並告訴我們這是他第二次從雅加達飛來台灣參加同志大遊行。凱文說道：「我覺得同婚法案通過真是場來之不易的勝仗，真的很為台灣人感到驕傲！尤其我本身來自印尼，更能深刻體會這種內心掙扎，所以想來這裡表示我與大家團結一致。」
Gay rights movements have made progress in some parts of Asia, but in others, including Indonesia, there is still a long way to go. Indonesian government officials, the police and military have regularly painted the LGBT community as a threat. Although homosexuality is not illegal in the Muslim-majority country, and LGBT-friendly bars do exist, tucked discreetly out of sight, if LGBT people are too open about their homosexuality they can lose their job, be evicted from home or subjected to physical violence.
For people such as Kevin, leaving Indonesia for a few days to gather with like-minded people in Taipei is more than just a holiday. “There is a difference between knowing there are a whole lot of people like you out there, and actually being out there, seeing it with your own eyes,” he says. Jakarta-based Aldi was also in Taiwan for the parade. A 26-year-old working in finance, he comes from a conservative Christian family and also prefers to remain anonymous. “I wanted to see these people out and about, holding hands, and having real families,” he says, adding that such a scenario would be difficult for him in Indonesia. Maurice, a 33-year-old Indonesian doctoral candidate studying and working in Taiwan, says coming to the island helped him accept himself as a gay man. “Taiwan is where I could openly talk about boys for the first time. It is also where I found friends to talk to about being gay,” he says.
對像凱文這樣從印尼飛來台北停留幾日，與志同道合的群眾參與這場盛宴的人們而言意義非凡，不單單只是放個長假而已。他說：「知道有很多人跟你一樣，和親眼見識到他們的存在還是很不一樣！」長期住在雅加達的 Aldi 也於上個月來到台灣參加同志大遊行。現年 26 歲，從事金融業，家人也是保守的天主教徒，同時他也希望能保持匿名。他說：「我想要看看這些人大方做自己、牽著彼此的手和擁有真正的家庭。」他也說，在印尼很難想像這樣的事情。現年 33 歲，從印尼來台攻讀博士學位及工作的 Maurice說道，自從來到台灣後，這裡的氛圍漸漸讓他接受自己的同志身份。他說：「台灣是我第一個能大方跟別人談起自己喜歡的男生類型、也是我可以找到朋友大方談論自己同志身份的地方。」
Travelling to Taiwan in 2012 left such an impression on Nadia, 33, a South Asian resident of Hong Kong, that she decided to return and take her master’s degree in Taipei. Although Hong Kong is liberal compared with many other Asian cities, antagonism towards obviously queer people is still rampant, says Nadia, and that is something she does not experience in Taiwan. Nadia says her skin colour makes her stand out even more in a crowd, meaning the hostility tends to be amplified. Fortunately, Taiwan is generally more accepting, she says. “When I was out and about in Hong Kong with my partner, I had stares from strangers which, if confronted, would turn into a proper heated confrontation,” she explains. “Being masculine-presenting, people tend to get more aggressive with me. I haven’t had this kind of experience in Taiwan so far.” Nadia says she will stay in Taiwan for at least another 18 months. She worries about going home and wonders if she could find a way to stay away for longer.
現年 33 歲，來自南亞，長期住在香港的 Nadia，在 2012 年來台旅遊時留下了深刻印象，因此決定回到台北攻讀碩士學位。Nadia 說雖香港比起其他亞洲城市較為自由開放，然而對酷兒群體的敵意仍然相當顯著。不過在台灣，她不曾有類似的經驗。Nadia 說到自己的膚色在人群中非常顯眼，這也表示更容易成為敵意攻擊的目標。幸運的是，台灣比起香港更為接受各式各樣的人群。Nadia 說：「我在香港跟我的伴侶外出時，常常感受到路上陌生人注視的眼光，有時候甚至會演變成激烈的爭執。」她也說：「由於我外表較顯陽剛，人們總對我更有攻擊性。但我目前在台灣並沒有類似的經驗。」Nadia 將在台灣至少 18 個月。回去香港令她大感焦慮，且在想是否有其他方法可以留在台灣更長時間。
“Things are changing in Hong Kong quite a lot, especially given the political climate. What if the society really regresses? I don’t know how I’d feel to be there as a queer person if it comes to that,” she says, referring to months of protests that began in opposition to a proposed extradition bill and morphed into a wider pro-democracy movement. In October, a Hong Kong court ruled against permitting same-sex marriage and civil-union partnerships, in a case filed in 2018 by a woman known only as MK, who wanted to marry or enter into a legally recognised civil partnership with her partner in Hong Kong, where both are permanent residents. She argued that the government’s denial of same-sex marriage and civil unions was unconstitutional. “If it’s really up to me, and if I’m an independent person without any family ties … back in Hong Kong, I will definitely try to stay in Taiwan,” Nadia says. “It’s just a much more comfortable place to be.”
針對香港為期數月的反送中示威，至今演變為捍衛民主的社會運動，Nadia 表示：「香港面臨重大社會變遷，尤其當前的政治局面動盪。萬一香港社會走向回頭路怎麼辦？我完全無法想像若這樣的情況發生，像我這樣的酷兒該如何是好。」今年十月，香港法院裁定否決同志婚姻及同志伴侶間的民事結合，去年 (2018 年) 一名女同志 MK 提出司法複核，希冀能與她同為香港永久居民的同志伴侶結婚，或享有法律承認的民事結合。她指出香港政府否決同志婚姻及民事結合實屬違憲。Nadia 也說道：「若我可完全獨立自主，且在香港沒有任何家庭牽絆，我絕對會想辦法留在台灣。在這裡，身為同志自在多了。」
A Malaysian academic who has been living in Taiwan for nine years, and who wants to be known only as Putri, says she has given up any plans to go back to her country. “The plan now is to stay here and apply for permanent residency.” Putri discovered her sexuality in her 30s when she was studying in Japan. Now in her 40s, she follows the situation in Malaysia through news reports. In September 2018, two Malaysian women were convicted of attempting to have sex in a car. Caned six times in front of more than 100 people, they were also fined 3,300 Malaysian ringgit (US$795). In March this year, Malaysia’s tourism minister told German reporters there were no gay people in Malaysia. “So from this portrayal you can see how people in Malaysia see homosexuality,” Putri says. “It’s not that Malaysia doesn’t have vibrant LGBT scenes, but I just feel a lot more comfortable in Taiwan.”
一名來自馬來西亞住在台灣已有九年，暱稱為 Putri 的學者告訴我們她已放棄回國的打算。她表示：「我現在的計畫是留在台灣，然後申請永久居留權。」Putri 在她 30 多歲於日本求學時察覺自己的性傾向。現在她已邁入 40 多歲，並開始追蹤更多報導，了解現在馬來西亞的狀況。2018 年 9 月時，兩名馬來西亞女子因在車中試圖從事性行為而遭判刑。兩人皆在超過百人面前受鞭刑，併科罰金 3,300 馬幣 (合新台幣約 2 萬 4 千元)。今年 (2019 年) 三月，馬來西亞觀光局長告知德國記者，馬國境內沒有任何同志族群。Putri 接著說：「從這點來看，就可以推敲出在馬來西亞人們是如何看待同志族群。並不是馬來西亞的同志文化不活絡，而是我覺得在台灣自在許多。」
Degrees of acceptance of homosexuality vary widely across Asia. In Japan, the law allows transgender people to change their legal gender, and bans discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. I wanted to see these people out and about, holding hands, and having real families Aldi, 26, from Jakarta
亞洲不同地區對於同志族群的接受度大相逕庭。在日本，法律允許跨性別人士變更其法定性別登記，且嚴禁任何形式歧視人們的性傾向及性別認同。現年 26 歲來自雅加達的 Aldi 說道：「我想要看看這些人大方做自己、牽著彼此的手和擁有真正的家庭。」
In Singapore, despite heavy censorship and a law criminalising sex between consenting adult men, in practise queer people can be more open without fear of serious repercussions. But even for people from these more progressive countries, Taiwan offers an even greater level of freedom.
Liting Tan, 32, writes and directs plays, and is studying for a master’s degree. Having moved from Singapore to Taiwan about a year ago, she finds Taiwan more suitable for her work on LGBT issues. Taiwan’s lack of censorship is one obvious reason. “My interest has always revolved around LGBT topics, particularly about ‘butchness’, or female masculinity, and trans-masculinity,” she says. “I just didn’t feel like Singapore was a place where I could freely explore these subjects. It’s not that you can’t do it, but there are certain limitations you have to think about.” Tan says she feels as though she has found her voice in Taiwan. The vibrant queer scene in Taipei has had a huge influence on her work, with stories that broaden her perspectives. Liting Tan moved from Singapore to Taiwan a year ago, as she finds it more suitable for her work on LGBT issues. Taiwan’s LGBT culture is alive with identities expressing themselves freely, without being questioned or defined as male or female, as happens to many queer groups in other countries. Tan says she has even met a group of “drag kings” – female performance artists who wear masculine drag.
現年 32 歲的 Liting陳 現為作家和戲劇執導，並正攻讀碩士學位。她大約一年前從新加坡搬來台灣，且覺得台灣更適合她探討同志族群議題。因為台灣對這方面的議題較不會嚴格審查。她說：「我對同志議題一直都有深厚的興趣，特別是探討女同志『T』的角色 (較陽剛的女性) 及跨性別者的陽剛特質。我並不覺得我在新加坡可不受約束地探討這個議題。並不是因為別人禁止你，而是有很多層面的限制必須考慮進去。」陳指出，她覺得在台灣找到了發聲的管道。在台北，同志圈熱情洋溢的氛圍深刻影響她的創作，人們的故事也大大擴展了她編寫故事的視角。Liting陳 大約一年前從新加坡搬來台灣，因為她認為台灣更適合她探討同志族群議題。台灣的同志文化相當活絡，人們可自在表現出自己的身份認同，不像是其他國家的酷兒族群，人們總會質疑或妄加定義你的性別。陳說她甚至還遇過一群「變裝國王」(變裝成男性的女性表演者)。
Taiwan’s values of liberty and equality have affected the lives of LGBT people within and across its borders, inspiring groups and communities in the region. But for locals, the work is far from done. Taiwan’s legislation granted same-sex couples the right to marry under a separate-but-equal law, which gives them most but not all of the rights enjoyed by heterosexual couples. “Our next focus is the articles about adoption, restrictions on transnational marriage, and gender equity education. We want everyone to have the same rights,” says Benson Lee, public relations manager of Parade organiser Marriage Equality Coalition Taiwan.
Despite the imperfections, LGBT Taiwanese agree that the marriage equality law was a victory. “Good enough for now,” says Kurtis Shen, 32, the organiser of a meet-up group for LGBT people in Taipei, called Queerios. “After some time passes, then we can show people that gay marriage does not destroy families, that it does not change the society for the worse,” he says. “If anything, it can only make Taiwan better.”
台灣自由與平等的價值觀感染了本地同志族群，且跨越國界激勵了亞洲其他國家的同志族群或社群。但對台灣人而言，同婚法案通過還只是第一步。現行的法案僅以看似平權卻又受區隔的專法保障同志婚姻，且同志伴侶不完全享有與異性戀伴侶同等的權利。協辦今年台北同志大遊行及身為婚姻平權大平台的公關經理人 Benson Lee 提及：「我們接下來的焦點會著重在領養權、異國婚姻限制及性別平等教育的法案。我們希望享有與每個人同等的權利。」
儘管現行的法案並不完善，多數台灣同志族群仍贊成此次婚姻平權法案是場勝利。現年 32 歲，身為 Queerios 同志社團主辦人的 Kurtis Shen 說：「現在的法案還算可以。」他表示：「再過一些時間，我們就能讓大家看到同志婚姻並不會摧毀家庭，不會敗壞社會風氣，而是讓台灣社會變得更為友善。」
Note: Article has been reformatted and a new title given. All copyrights remain with Antonia Timmerman and South China Morning Post.
(翻譯：Andrew Wang； 編輯： Alexis )