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The Battle for Marriage Equality in Taiwan

[中譯版請見以下] Taiwan Voice is proud to offer a platform for people in the community to share their voices. This piece was written in response to the current debate on marriage equality and its Christian opposition, and on how marriage equality would benefit Taiwan.
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Hey, Straight People,

This coming weekend is a big vote, indeed. Since you have been letting foreign voices loudly oppose marriage equality, I wanted to add my own. Those other voices you have heard, both in your courts and on the street, are not representative of all foreigners, and certainly not of all Christians.

== About Those Christians ==

Taiwan, with bustling temples on every corner, is clearly not a Christian nation. Taiwanese society was founded on ideals from Taoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism, all three of which had very little to say about LGBT people. I humbly ask you to not let the small amount of Christians in Taiwan to have a disproportionate voice in this decision. I hope Taiwan can listen to its own history, heritage, and the majority of its people, rather than a handful of people with a history of intolerance.

We still have Christians in the US (my home country) who are adamantly against gay rights and gay marriage. They obsess on this, really, and they have fought passionately to keep gay people from enjoying basic human rights. The growing majority of Christians, however, are not like this, and they have opened up their churches to include gay people and their families.

The type of Christian here in Taiwan with their oppressive ideals have harmed countless people and families. They have made generations of gay people feel unwelcome to take part in society and have contributed to parents rejecting their own children. They have fought to keep us unprotected in our jobs and our homes, and they have even forced gay teenagers into conversion therapy, where many have taken their own lives. This feeling of being unwanted by society can shape a person’s life, as it did my own.

These Christians in Taiwan are not pulling any punches. They are going so far as to flat out lie about us. I have heard them say we like to have sex with animals and children, and many other untrue claims. Are there some gay people who engage in morally reprehensible and abnormal behavior? Of course there are. But there are a whole lot more straight people that do. This is not a gay problem, but rather a human problem.

They have also said if gay marriage were to be allowed, society would become more promiscuous and that more and more people would become gay. This ridiculous claim is in opposition to the opinions of 99.99% of scientists and doctors and shows their childish understanding of human development. The implication by these Christians that people can choose to be gay also implies that they, in turn, chose to be straight. If that is true, at one point they must have all wrestled with their sexuality, equally lured by both sexes, then ultimately deciding to be straight. Either that or they are just spouting lies and misleading claims.

They have also pointed out that gay people tend to lead unhealthy and destructive lives. This, unfortunately, is painfully true. All people pursue happiness, which is kind of the point of living. The majority of people find happiness through family or even in taking part in society. When loving, caring people are pushed out of their families or society because of their sexuality, they are forced to find happiness elsewhere and however they can get it. Being rejected by society and family is a horrible experience too many gay people have to go through, but yet—being human—we still search for happiness. Sometimes the only source comes from temporary and unhealthy sources. Can you imagine how much healthier so many young people would be if they had learned in school that they were normal, and knew from their parents that they were accepted?

== The Struggle ==

Another reason many of us may partake in destructive behavior is simply that many don’t know what else to do. Straight people have a model to follow: you are born, go to school, get a job, and then raise a family. That last part is where many straight people find their happiness and life’s purpose. Without a model to go by, gay people have to design our lives completely on our own, searching for a way to have a productive, healthy, and happy life.

Some gay people thrive in this freedom and use the opportunity to travel the world and deeply explore all that life can offer, taking risks that raising a family would otherwise prohibit. Others in the gay community, however, would prefer a more simple and—dare I say—normal life. They want to go to work and then come home to their own families, even ones with proud grandparents living with them. The want to enjoy the stability, contentment, and happiness that straight people take for granted. This just isn’t an option for gay people, unless of course one chooses to hide his or her true self for a lifetime, which brings about a completely different sort of misery.

Without a model to go by and without family being a future prospect, many are left floating in the wind, depressed, scared, and lost. These feelings of desperation are horrible, and many people will do anything to numb them. Escape in any form is the only option to living in desperation.

Do you want to know how to immediately end this destructive behavior? Show us some love.

This is something those opposing this decision simply can’t do, which is baffling. If you do choose to let a small minority of Christians hold sway in your decision whether or not to allow gay marriage, even over the many religious groups (some Christians included) that support marriage equality, please note that Jesus said absolutely nothing about gay people. Do you know what he did say? He said we should treat all people with love and dignity. He washed a prostitute’s feet and showed compassion for the poor and sick. If he were to come back today and look at this situation in Taiwan, he would see thousands of hurting people yearning for inclusion and love, and suffering from abuse and discrimination. He would also see scores of people using his name to continue the abuse and discrimination. If everything written about him in the Bible is true, he would certainly be very disappointed in this latter group, and would let them know about it in his very Jesus way.

Then, he would walk over to the colorful, festive, and pretty damned fabulous side of the street. He would hug all the drag queens, even letting them hold court for being some of the most fearless, bravest, and delightful people on the planet. Then he would probably walk over to the group of twenty-something men, complimenting them on their perfectly toned abs. Your body is a temple, after all. He would also give some props to the group of bears for being so comfortable in their own skin, and then give some comfort to a strung out, emaciated, and utterly lost young boy. Finally, he would ask the somewhat angry looking lesbian who had being staring at him with suspicion if she would like to go get a beer. She would, and she would smile.

== Benefit to Taiwan ==

Moving on, I also want to say that Taiwan becoming the first country in Asia to allow gay marriage would be so good for the nation. Not only would Taiwan’s status and fame grow, as forever being remembered as Asia’s leader in human rights, but it would also certainly draw more tourists and businesses to the friendly, democratic island. You know why else it would be good for Taiwan? It would soon have thousands and thousands of people joining society and contributing their immeasurable gifts and talents. Throughout history, gay people have held important roles as religious leaders, philosophers, and even advisors to Chinese emperors. Our function in society, and probably why our human species keeps pumping us out, has always been to take a step back from society and from this perspective decide how best we can help it. Even though in this current time our role has been (stereotypically) reduced to jobs in hospitality, design, fashion, or entertainment, our role has always been the same: We are here to help.

It is the role of gay people to wrap our big gay wings around the parts of society we love and want to see flourish. Whether we are a gay uncle who helps raise, inspire and educate his nephews and nieces, or even something so lofty as a writer or philosopher who, from her perspective, has gained insight on society that would be helpful for all to hear—whatever the form, we are here to help.

If you allow gay marriage, you would have thousands and thousands of people wrapping their wings around Taiwan and the great Taiwanese family we love so much – and help it be happier, smarter, and probably more fun. We would help Taiwan thrive. A society that nurtures its gay population, as is true with its women and children, would have that many more people sharing their talents, creativity and love for all. We would even show love to the very same people fighting to keep us oppressed.

The fact that you are even debating this issue is profound and historic, and it fills me with hope and a bit of joy. If, however, you choose to deny gay people this right, I will continue to love Taiwan, but will also join the thousands and thousands of people fighting for respect in the face of oppression. Year after year, generation after generation – we aren’t going anywhere. New gay children are being born every day, full of innocence, love, and an innate desire to help, and always ready to fight for their rights. Do not dismiss us, do not deny us, and do not underestimate us. It is up to you to decide what version of us you want amongst you. I implore you, do not waste this resource and do not waste this opportunity.

Sincerely,
Andrew Bliss
University lecturer
Small business owner
Proud permanent resident of Taiwan
Loving son
Devoted uncle
Very much in love boyfriend
Gay guy
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Have something to say on this issue or on something else? Please send it to us, and we would be happy to help your voice be heard.
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Taiwan Voice以作為一個讓人們能夠分享想法的平台為傲。本文由一位長期住在台灣的美國人投稿,針對婚姻平權的現況與反對方的論述加以分析,並點出婚姻平權能對臺灣帶來的正向影響。
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敬愛的異性戀們,

下禮拜就是投票的大日子了,既然您們都願意開放讓國外各種反對婚姻平權意見大鳴大放,我希望您們也能聽聽我的想法。因為,無論是在法院內或是街上聽到的反同言論,並不代表全體外國人,更不足以代表所有的基督徒。

首先,臺灣四處皆是廟宇,明顯就不是一個以基督教為主要信仰的國家。臺灣社會多由道、佛或儒教組成,而這三個信仰很少對同志議題有所表示。我請您們避免讓少數基督徒在此議題上發揮不符合比例原則的影響力。我希望臺灣能傾聽自身歷史文化遺產以及多數人民的聲音,而非被少數在世上已無處容身的憤懣基督徒影響。

在台灣,這類型的基督徒跟他們的壓迫想法已經傷害了數不清的人們跟家庭。他們導致一代又一代的同志們感覺不受社會歡迎,還推波助瀾地導致某些家長拒絕接受自己孩子的性向。他們竭力使得我們的工作跟家庭不受保護,甚至還強迫青少年同志們接受轉化治療,一些同志青少年們甚至在療程中尋短。這種不被社會需要的感覺形塑着一個人的生命,而我的人生就是如此。

這些在台灣反同的基督徒甚至變本加厲、大言不慚的說謊抹黑同志,還說:「同志喜歡跟動物還有小孩發生性關係。」各種抹黑指控毫不手軟。當然,世界上一定有某些同志會做出應受道德指責跟不正常的行為。但做這些事的異性戀者還更多呢。這不是只有同志才會出現的問題,是人類都會發生的問題啊。

他們也說過,如果讓同性婚姻合法化的話,社會就會變得更亂,越來越多人會成為同志。這種謬論跟百分之九十九點九九的科學家跟醫師們的意見背道而馳,顯得他們對人類社會發展的了解程度有多淺碟。這些反同的基督徒說,同志是後天的選擇,如果這說法成立,反之,在某個時間點,這些人過去一定也曾受到兩個性別吸引誘惑,於是在跟自己的性傾向有一番搏鬥掙扎之後,最後他們才決定自己是異性戀囉? 如果不是這樣的話,那他們就是大言不慚地講白賊話跟刻意誤導。

反同的這些人曾經指出,同志常傾向過著不健康跟自我毀滅的生活型態。關於這點,很不幸地,的確是沉痛的事實。追求幸福是活著的目的。大多數的人都透過家庭或參與社會獲得幸福。當願意給予關愛的人們因為性傾向而被家庭或社會拒於千里之外,他們只能被迫不擇手段,在其他地方找到快樂。對許多同志來說,來自社會跟家庭的排拒,是一個多數人必經的可怕歷練。但身為人類,我們還是會去尋找幸福。有時候,做一些短暫又不健康的事,是獲得快樂的僅有辦法。 你能想像,年輕人如果在學校就學到,原來他們是正常的,而且爸媽也能接納他們的話,他們過的生活會比現在健康多少嗎?

我們可能過著自我毀滅生活的另一個理由,只是因為許多人不知道還可以做什麼而已。異性戀有一個模範可以遵循,出生、上學、找工作,然後養家。最後一步是許多異性戀找到自己的幸福跟人生目的的泉源。對同志來說,因為沒有可以參考的範本,同志必須從零開始,打造自己的生命,找到方法過充實、健康、幸福的人生。

一些同志在毫無範本的自由環境下如魚得水,利用這樣的機會環遊世界,探索人生,而有一些選擇養家的人就無法實現這樣的人生。其他同志,則偏好一個更簡單,容我這樣說好了,正常的生活。他們想要在下班後回到自己的家庭,可能還包括跟為孫兒感到驕傲的爺奶住在一起的三代同堂。他們嚮往享受異性戀認為理所當然的穩定、滿足跟幸福。而這不是同志能夠擁有的選項,,除非一個人選擇一輩子隱藏自我身份,而那又會帶來另一種完全不同的悲慘。

同志缺乏可以參考的對象跟家庭作未來展望。許多同志感到孤零、憂鬱、害怕跟迷失。這種絕望的感覺極為駭人,以致許多人不擇手段來麻木自己。用任何形式逃避都好,因為無路可逃。

您們想知道要怎麼馬上停止同志族群們這樣自我毀滅的現象嗎?給我們一些愛吧。

令人不解的是,這就是反方沒辦法做到的。如果您們選擇讓一小撮基督徒對同婚決策呼風喚雨,讓他們對決策的影響比其他支持婚姻平權的宗教團體更強(包括一些基督徒),請您們注意,耶穌從來沒針對同性戀發表任何言論,一個字也沒有。您們知道他說什麼嗎?他說我們應該用愛跟尊嚴對待每個人。他洗了一位妓女的腳,並且同情窮人與病患。如果他今天回到世上,看到台灣的現況,他會看到成千上萬正受苦的人渴求接納與愛,而且正遭受社會的虐待跟歧視。他會見到一群人以他的名義虐待跟歧視他人。如果聖經裡他的事蹟都是真的,那他一定會對後面這群人極度失望,並且用耶穌的方式讓他們了解自己正在做什麼。

然後,耶穌會走到街上色彩豔麗、熱鬧又正點得不得了的那頭去開趴。他會擁抱每位反串皇后,甚至稱呼她們是世上最無懼、最勇敢,又最點亮人心的人們。然後他大概會走到那群二十幾歲的猛男之間,誇獎他們的腹肌有多緊實。畢竟你的身體是一座聖殿啊。他也會稱讚熊們好棒棒,因為沒有什麼比舒服做自己更讚的了。他會溫柔安慰那些遍體鱗傷、瘦弱又迷失的年輕男孩們。最後,他會問一直站在一旁用懷疑的眼光盯著他看,外表好像有點兇的女同志,要不要去喝一杯啊?她會說好啊,而且臉上還會出現微笑。

看來台灣有些基督徒好像忘了耶穌。

接下來,我還想說點出臺灣成為第一個婚姻平權國家會帶來的正向影響。不只台灣的地位跟名聲都會提升,台灣以亞洲人權的先驅名留青史,更會吸引更多觀光客跟企業來這塊友善又民主的島嶼。你知道還有什麼正向影響嗎?會有成千上萬的人們投入社會,貢獻他們深不可測的才華。綜觀歷史,同志肩負許多重要的角色,不管是薩滿巫師、宗教領袖、哲學家,甚至是古代中國皇帝的輔臣。我們在社會中的功能,大概也是為什麼人類不斷生出我們,一直都是退一步看社會,從這個角度決定我們可以如何幫助這個社會。即使在現在這個時間點,我們的角色一直(刻板印象中的)被簡化成好客、時尚、或娛樂咖,其實我們的角色一直沒變過啊,我們是來幫忙的!

同志的角色是大展我們同志的羽翼來環繞社會中我們最愛的領域並期待其茁壯。不管我們是幫忙養育、啟發跟教育姪女跟姪子的同志舅舅,或是像作家或哲學家這樣從社會中得到想法,值得所有人一聽其想法的角色。不管是什麼樣的形式,我們就是來這裡提供幫助的。

如果您們讓同性婚姻合法化,會有成千上萬的人用他們的羽翼擁抱著台灣社會還有我們摯愛的「台灣」這個大家庭。讓社會變得更有智慧、更快樂、更有趣,可能還更懂得打扮。我們會幫台灣成長繁榮。一個滋養同志、善待女人與兒童的社會,會有更多人分享他們的才華、創意跟對每個人的愛。我們甚至會對這些壓迫我們的人展現愛心。

光是您們辯論同婚議題這個舉動就意義深遠且有歷史性,使我充滿希望,也有一點高興。如果,您們決定拒絕賦予同志這項權利,我還是會一直愛台灣,一直愛下去。但我也會加入千百萬的人們,爭取應得的尊重。年復一年,一代又一代,同志們不會消失,新一代的同志孩子持續地出生,這些純真可愛的孩子們渴望幫助社會。同志還是在社會裡。至於希望哪個版本的同志族群出現在社會裡,決定權都在您們手中。我請求您們,不要浪費了這些資源,也不要輕言放棄這次修法的大好機會。

誠摯的,

安德魯
我是大學講師
也是小型企業主
以身台灣永久居民為傲
是充滿愛的人子
是用心奉獻的舅舅
是深陷愛河的男友
也是男同志
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對這個議題有什麼意見嗎?請寄給我們,我們會很樂意幫助你,讓你的聲音被聽見。

 

by: https://www.facebook.com/TaiwanVoice/

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