[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.
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.
Small business owner
Proud permanent resident of Taiwan
Very much in love boyfriend
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