On the night bus from Kaohsang to Taipei, I’m alone on Christmas night. Unlike the other passengers going home, home sweet home, or traveling somewhere to meet their lover, I left home to travel a thousand miles just to join and write about an amazing group of people and their amazing story. I was traveling to Taipei, the capital of Taiwan, in order to join a group (婚姻平權隊,The Guardian of Rainbow, or the guardian of Married equal) protect the really rainbow (彩虹，in Taiwan, there have another meaning for LGBT.) in Taiwan.
Two weeks ago, during the Gay pride parade in Taipei on December 10 of 2016, anti-LGBT rights “Christian” affiliated groups harassed and even struck some participants, resulting in some injuries including a fractured rib. This violent episode inspired some LGBT community members to send out a call to establish.
Before I tell this story, let me introduction the both side in this battlefield of eternal.
The most powerful anti-gay group in Taiwan is the Alliance of Religious Groups for the Love of Families Taiwan (台灣宗教團體愛護家庭大聯盟, mostly acronym is 護家盟), or the Taiwan Family Alliance, following their very awkward name in English, their composition is very Complicated. According to the website, this Christian-led group is with Taoism(道教), Buddhism (佛教), The Unification Church(統一教), I-Kuan Tao (一貫道), and The Lord of Universe Church (天帝教). They started their anti-gay motion from set.2013, this religious-basic group believes the homosexual behavior is immoral, unhuman, and protect the value of family. However, they absurd, and hypocritical behaviors does not make people trust them. For example, they had been said the absurd words in the Marriage Equality Public hearing in Legislature Yuan on 30, nov. 2016, “If the homosexuality people can get marriage,” their Secretary-General, Mr. Andrew Chung (張守一) said, “so that, can we allow the other one said want to marry the ferris wheel?” Their secretary-general, Mr. Andrew Chung had divorced with his wife, and dating with another woman, and they had another daughter in immoral affair 10 year ago.
At begin, the Alliance of Religious Groups for the Love of Families Taiwan is the most powerful anti-gay group, but they had been split up for election in 2014, the party, the Faith And Hope League (信心希望聯盟), this party took the most part of funds and resources.
Even this alliance had been defeat from their own, but they still got the help for the U.S., 2016, the two biggest anti-gay group, MassResistence, and International House Of Prayers (IHOP) came to help. According to the report from Taiwan Sentinel Jan,2, 2017, by Jean-Michael Cole(寇謐將),
According to a Dec. 27 blog entry, MassResistance’s point man in Taiwan is Arthur Christopher Schaper, head of the California branch of the organization, “who has been working tirelessly with Taiwanese activists, expatriates in the US, and others to get the word out.”
On Dec. 24, the Chinese-language service of Taiwan’s state-run Central News Agency ran a piece exposing how MassResistance has been trying to “educate” the Taiwanese public on the supposedly nefarious impact of homosexual unions using Chinese-language translations of a video titled “What ‘gay marriage’ did to Massachusetts” as well as a booklet.
Following Jean-Michael Cole’s report, said “a number of Caucasian individuals, some wearing the cloth, which at the very least suggests active involvement by some foreign individuals.”
The other side, the man hold the rainbow flag is “the Bear community” (熊族), a group of large mostly homosexual men who volunteered to guard LGBT-rights advocates in future Pro LGBT demonstrations, including a protest in support of the Legislature Yuan’s first reading of the Same-Sex Marriage Bill.
Here is some background information. According to the Taiwan Government website:
First Reading,(一讀。) these bills shall be immediately referred to appropriate committees for examination, or proceed directly for the Second Reading. Other bills proposed by members of shall have their titles read, and those who make the propositions shall explain the gist the bills. After general discussion, these bills shall, upon resolution of the Yuan Sitting, be referred to appropriate committees for examination, or sent directly to the Second Reading, or excluded from further discussion. Before budgetary bills are referred for examination, of the Executive Yuan, the Director-General of the Budget, Accounting and the President Statistics Office and the Minister of Finance shall present themselves in the Yuan Sitting to report on government administration and the formulation of budget, and to answer interpellation.
In other words, if the Same-Sex Marriage Bill did not finish the First Reading by the end of 2016, it meant this bill would drag on, be delayed indefinitely, or even worse, be permanently dropped. As a result, this reading was a really big deal for both LGBT and anti-LGBT groups.
This is a battle between the LBGT and traditional crunch, So, why did I get in there?
Well, I have to say there is The Duty of Citizen Journalist.
At the begin, it’s just a simple interview job, take some nice pictures, into the Legislature Yuan, and writing the article, done. However, my editor said he need somebody can interview someone in the bear community, because we don’t have anyone can fit the stature, except me.
“We set the stature limit (weight 100kg, and height 170 cm) for our team mates,” the captain of the Bears said, “because our enemies are really brutal, we can’t show our weakness for this people who with assault attempt, also we have to become the shield of weakness.” Finally, they raised almost 300 people to build the wall, and luckily, most of people came from army, and private security companies; they worked out often, and had been trained the skill of self-defense.
However, even we are all prepare for fight against with anti-LGBT group, but we had been ordered “Do not fight back!”
“Do not fight back?”
What a madness idea for me who was grow up in the hood. If you didn’t fight back with people around you, they were mess your life, teased you, bullied you, and lough you timid, till they tired. It is opposite for my creed in my life.
However, I still went with my doubt of peace in the midnight train to the north. When I arrived Taipei is 7 am and my first seem this city had been blocked by barricades by the policemen, prevented the assault happen again.
Imaging they had been tear apart by barricades, the anti-LGBT group with their sincere faith and total white suit like real modern crusader in Zhongshan South Road, and the other side is total black, strong, hairy people, someone is real homosexuality, someone is heterosexuality, and most of people have a heart, a heart of love, peace, and sacrifice, like the modern Sacred Band of Thebes, that was defeated the army of Sparta, in Sec. 1 Jinan Road.
The Band of Thebes started to dispatch the mission when I arrived, they used the colors of rainbow to dispatched the teams, excepted the Red team is the Medics and lawsuit team, the other teams are the Guardians of the parade, and I belong the Green Team.
I felt bored at begin, because the stillness of crusader in front of me, but policemen started to unit, and take the SWAT shields, and qimei guns(齊眉棍), but really thing made me tensed is I heard the yells voices of the anti-LGBT group, and called ‘They use the Smoke Bombs! Back up, send back up! NOW!’ from their radios. The smokes from their smoke bombs came to us that made this street became the battlefield, even this tense in front of me, but the parade people, over 30000 counted by policemen, still relax, and doing their Yoga program released their intension.
When we stood here till 12 pm, and finally we can take a rest and enjoy the pizzas and cokes for our lunch, maybe most of us are former soldiers, or the strange de ja va happened in my mind, at this moment, I felt I back to post when I was a private eating with my band, at this moment, we got news about the crusader, some of them had been arrest because their break law behavior, and most of them switch position from Zhongshan South Road (中山南路) to Kaidagelan Avenue(凱達格蘭大道), the avenue in front of office of President, still protested for their anti-LGBT idea.
Suddenly, I heard loudly cheer from parade that behind my back “What happen now?” I asked with my lunch in my mouth, “We made it!!” They answered me with tear,” The First reading is ending without any argue!”
The host of parade led the heroes of Legislature Yuan, four legislators from different parties, but they are the proposal of Same-Sex Marriage bills. They stood on the stage in front of people, thank for the support of the people that were stood under the stage, and appreciated this team of this parade.
However, I did not remember what the legislators said, but I saw a lot of people waved the flogs of rainbow with their tear, this is real historic moment in Taiwan, and I glad to be the man, a heterosexuality, a friendly ally, stood here, and record this moment.