Another eventful day as supporters and opponents of homosexual marriage meet on the battleground of ideas
The battle for and against the legalization of same-sex unions in Taiwan continued today with a series of activities, including a second large rally organized by the Church-backed Happiness of the Taiwan Happy Family Alliance. Although the violations committed by some members of the Alliance today were less severe than those witnessed during the disastrous 1130 event, a few incidents nevertheless highlighted the intolerance that continues to animate the organizations that oppose homosexual unions.
|Displays of love, for equality|
Soon afterwards, the group adjourned and joined members of the Lobby Alliance for LGBT Human Rights near National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall for a brief press conference headed by Chen Chia-chun (陳嘉君), chairperson of the Shih Ming-teh Foundation, an outspoken supporter of amendments to 972.
As people were gathering, I caught
my first glance of the families on their way to the Happiness of the Taiwan Happy Family Alliance rally at the CKS plaza. At first, I thought those were
children returning from the “1,600 paper pandas” event currently showing at the
plaza; the kids were wearing hats made of cardboard, with pandas in the front. Only when I looked closer did I realize what it really was: There was a dad panda, a mom
panda, and two children pandas, with accompanying text containing the usual
rhetoric about what constitutes a “true” family and all that. One little girl
walked by waving a flag with “Father and mother I love you” written on it. Good for you. I do, too, as we all do.
|Cute, or bigoted?|
Extraordinarily, someone had actually succeeded in making me hate the ubiquitous symbols of People’s Republic of China imperialism even more. To be fair to the organizers, who never cease to amaze me with their lack of tact, pandas were nevertheless an improvement over the conical hats that members of the Alliance had worn on 1130, which brought to mind the hateful KKK and turned the participants into an international joke. Nelson the Nazi, who made a splash last year, was also missing in action today.
Before heading for Liberty Square adjacent to the CKS plaza, LGBT supporters distributed cards with a large psychedelic rainbow eye printed at the back; if they were confronted, blocked, and surrounded like they were on 1130, they were to flip the card and flash it at their oppressors — a twist, perhaps, on the Citizen 1985 eye theme.
|Holy support at Liberty Square|
|Variety of slogans against|
|Clashes as Chen, left, leads the LGBT group in|
|Members of the alliance watch the concert|
|Saying goodbye as the event wraps up|
I won’t revisit many of the points I’ve made in previous articles. However, one thing that needs pointing out once again is the asymmetry that characterizes the social forces involved in this debate. While a majority of Taiwanese either support or don’t care one way or another about homosexual unions, the minority — far wealthier, connected within the government and backed by various Christian organizations — is much more mobilized and vocal, which thus gives the impression that society at large is overwhelmingly against amendments to 972 (organizers today claimed a turnout of 20,000). I also fear that many of the participants in the campaign to “save” the family are unaware of the dark forces that lurk in the background, of the role played by extremists from the Evangelical far right in the U.S. such as International House of Prayer (IHOP) and others. The strange rhetoric adopted by the campaign is what first made me investigate the groups involved, which led me to some very nasty connections abroad and their growing presence here in Taiwan. The arguments that have been used to justify opposition to legalizing same-sex unions highlight a stunning negligence of scientific facts and reason, and an inability to accept the possibility that humanity is not homogenous. Only the closed minds of individuals who follow top-down dictates uncritically (as religion wants them to) could accept — and defend — the claim that homosexuality is learned, or that same-sex unions would lead to bestiality, chaos, and put children at risk.
One last thing, in response to the claim that Christians don’t hate homosexuals, but in fact love them more than anyone else ever could. This is pure hogwash. Intolerance, the refusal to accept someone for who and what he/she, and believing that that person needs to be fixed or healed, is isn’t love — it’s hate, no matter how you couch it. (All photos by the author)