WM.WM | Keep the Lights On
Write Minds.Write Matters
A monthly column by Alexis of her thoughts on things that matters to her. It may be funny, serious, both, neither or some combinations of those. "My thoughts are my own - the only thing I really own."
Follow her on Instagram (@alex.is_imm).
In itself, homosexuality is as limiting as heterosexuality: the ideal should be to be capable of loving a woman or a man; either, a human being, without feeling fear, restraint, or obligation. ~ Simone de Beauvoir
Why do people think queers are different? Why do people think we queers do not deserve the same rights as everyone else?
Yes, the results of the referendum held here slightly over 2 months ago on Nov 24 still stings. As a non-Taiwanese, these results don’t yet affect me directly until I find myself a Taiwanese partner (I’m still working on it), but they are intimately related to many of the wonderful Taiwanese friends that I’ve made over these past few years. Granted I am not that naive to think the opponents of the marriage equality would not go all out to demonize and politicize the LGBTQ+ community. Yet the huge difference in votes did surprise me and shook my belief that Taiwan is different. The friendliness towards the queer community seemed like a farce to me. Is this the Taiwan that I’ve lived for almost 8 years and have grown to love?
Then I remembered. The few accepting non-queer friends I came out to. The many friends I made during the Meetups. The families who stood behind and supported their queer family members. The people who remained nonchalant when two guys or two ladies show any PDA (public display of affection). The people who marched during the Taipei Pride, especially parents who brought their kids, young and old. The establishments, organizations, and companies that are LGBTQ+ friendly and not afraid to say so. And finally, the Taiwan Constitution that states ALL people share equal marriage rights.
Taiwan is a beacon of hope for LGBTQ+ rights in Asia. That’s a fact. In most Asian countries, our very existence is vehemently denied or downright demonized. In most Asian countries, all queer contents, media, and information are censored heavily or banned totally. In most Asian countries, the governments use “tradition”, “religion” and/or “family values” to shut down any rational discourse on LGBT+. Thus the fact that both Taiwanese people and its government are willing to debate and discuss the rights for marriage equality should not be lost to the queer community, local and worldwide.
We all came from those first vertebrate animals that crawled out of the sea during the Devonian period more than 350 million years ago. We all have the same basic needs. We all want to be happy. We all have our fears, insecurities, and our demons. We all have our vices, pet peeves and guilty pleasures. We all bleed red when we are cut. We are NOT the people they saw during Pride, who wear whimsical clothes (or wears nothing), nor do we behave outlandishly in our daily lives. We are NOT sick nor are we an abomination. We love, lust, and long for meaningful connections and lasting relationships. The only difference is that the gender of the person we love is not dictated by social norms.
All we want is the freedom to love and the option to marry who we love. We do not want to have special laws. We want to be judged and denounced by our friends if we cheat on our partners. We want to go through similar messy divorces and high lawyer bills if we cannot come to a peaceful agreement to part ways. We want to suffer those precarious in-laws problems. We want to be judged for not being the best parents for our kids. We want to be guilt-tripped by our kids for not spending enough time with them. Just like any other heterosexual couples, we want to be miserable or happy or miserably happy with our partners.
Even though the public sentiment towards the LGBTQ+ community is still vaguely negative for now, we can’t deny that they are changing albeit slowly. We as a community need to show the public that they have nothing to fear from us. We do not aim to take anything or anyone unless they are willingly given. We do not seek to influence or manipulate anyone. We are normal and often boring people, just like everyone else. Nonetheless, we need to keep being the best versions of ourselves. We need to keep the lights on and continue this fight for equality as fundamentally we are all humans and we all deserve happiness.
(Editor: Zac.) (Photo from Alexis; Column graphic: modified from www.pngtree.com)