Sat, Jan 26, 2008 - Page 8 News List

Johnny Neihu's Mailbag

If it's OK for emperors ...

Dear Johnny,

I'd like to comment on Taiwan's rather shitty treatment of its homosexual community.

As if it weren't bad enough that homosexuals are denied basic human rights, police now get paid to pose as prostitutes and solicit sex from gay customers, who are then charged with solicitation. This would be almost excusable were it not for the fact that police tend to turn a blind eye to the burgeoning heterosexual sex trade.

Surely exploitation of the innocent outweighs a handful of lonely homosexuals who need a bit of harmless TLC from a strapping male prostitute? Truly, what kind of deviant pervert entraps another human being with the promise of sex to throw him in prison? Why don't they spend our tax dollars on breaking up the gangster-owned hetero brothels? Picking on gays who use prostitutes is a useless endeavor -- it focuses on a minority within a minority.

I am a happily married gay man. I chose Taiwan as my home because I love it here: The weather is fine, the culture is refreshing and the standard of living is high.

But I find it grossly unfair that my marriage is not recognized under Taiwanese law. My spouse cannot be included on my Alien Resident Certificate (ARC). He is a non-entity in the eyes of the law and has to leave the country to renew his visa.

To do this he must prove that he has NT$300,000 in his bank account and a return ticket to his country of origin and he must lie on his application by stating that he is single.

Even more absurd is the fact that his country is one of the few that recognizes Taiwan as a sovereign state! And since he has not completed his degree, he cannot under any circumstances work in Taiwan.

An acquaintance of mine is a married missionary working at a cram school. He is able to include his wife on his ARC. His only goal in Taiwan is to convert as many innocent young minds as possible to his freaky cult. He does this by brainwashing them into believing Jesus appeared in the US and punished the natives by turning their skins red. Not surprisingly, he believes that homosexuals are possessed by demons.

Now what kind of system allows someone like that to enjoy greater protection under the law than a homosexual whose only aim is to teach, contribute tax dollars and settle down in a country that he has adopted as his own?

It's about time that Taiwan embraced its diverse cultures, including the gay community, which have been around since time immemorial. Let's not forget that half of our revered Chinese emperors had male lovers!

As for the police: Stick to your own profession -- and leave the oldest profession to the experts.

Sebastian Melmoth

PS: Why did your newspaper simply ignore the last gay pride parade in Taipei? For shame!

Johnny replies: You'll get no argument from me as far as the law is concerned. As long as I'm allowed to go about my business in peace, I don't care who does what to whom, with what and where -- married or not. Still, your complaints are hardly unique to Taiwan. And, at the very least, gays in Taiwan seem far less likely to be beaten up or killed by some cretin who can't handle other people's differences.

As for the gay pride parade, how would I know? Look up the archive: You'll find lots of stories on gay issues and editorials attacking bigots masquerading as law enforcers.

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