Thu, Jun 21, 2012 - Page 8 News List

[ LETTERS ]

Sexuality and gender

The article by Cho Keng-yu (“Traditional views on sexuality stifle rights,” June 12, page 8) can be taken as a bridge for communication between conservatives and progressives on sexuality.

It was not until recently that people in Taiwan started to pay more attention to or even challenge the existing distinctions between men and women in every aspect of life. A good example can be found in the establishment of transgender bathrooms.

The reason why people with different sexual orientations from heterosexuality need to “come out,” admitting their identity, is simply because we live in a world that indoctrinates us into a heterosexual mindset.

For example, restrooms and dormitories are segregated according to sex, letting people retain the impression that only heterosexuality can be regarded as normal, and that only by segregating people according to sexuality can the world function properly.

However, this remains “true” only because no one questions it.

Also, once we have the idea that male and female should be separated and treated differently, we allow everything to pass under the guise of “protection,” fearing that we might be hurt by the other sex, which narrows human relationships down to concepts of sex and invasion.

However, we never consider that it is we ourselves who should decide whom we feel comfortable with, rather than it being a decision by the public or society.

Sadly, we never discover that we have been strongly influenced by mainstream heterosexuality in every aspect of our life, thereby giving up the opportunity to choose whom we would feel easier to interact with.

Shirley Lai

Taipei

Beef not so simple

Regardless of one’s personal political stand, the public should know that the beef issue, as mentioned in a recent editorial, is not that simple (“Preparing for the next disaster,” June 14, page 8). Taiwan’s economy is based on overseas trade. If we reject imports of beef containing ractopamine residue, the US is likely to set higher tariffs on Taiwanese exports or worse, put the nation on the trade blacklist. As a victim of capitalism, everything comes with a price. Taiwan cannot survive without the US market.

Even if we do manage to get away with the consequences of banning US beef containing ractopamine residue, that will be one less competitor for Australia and Japan. The result could be a huge rise in the price of beef and pork. Such market reactions are unpredictable.

I am well aware of the health issue that concerns most people. Who does not want to be healthy? Even if Taiwan decides to allow imports of US beef containing the feed additive, we can choose not to purchase it or to only patronize restaurants that use non-US beef. The best way to prevent consumption of such beef would be to eat at home, where we can choose our own ingredients. Jiang Mei-hua (江美華), also known as Wang Mama (王媽媽), said the government could ease restrictions on beef imports to placate the US, while people who buy food would be wise enough to recognize what to buy and what not to.

The public should stop pressuring the government over the beef import policy. What we should focus on now is how to deal with natural disasters.

Sophia Huang

Taipei

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