On Saturday afternoon, a multicolored assemblage of about 50,000 people from 20 countries gathered in front of the Presidential Office in Taipei to support calls for the government to recognize — and just as importantly, legalize — same-sex unions.
For a relatively conservative Asian society, the turnout for the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) Pride parade, which was celebrating its first decade, was more than respectable. The fact that the parade took part in an open-minded, orderly and welcoming atmosphere was just as important.
There were none of the hateful protesters and religious zealots who all too often turn up at similar parades in the US, or in Russia, where non-heterosexuals are often physically assaulted by extremists.
Passers-by looked on with curiosity, ice cream vendors had a field day, petitions were signed and participants, from the scantily clad to the gaudily plumed, had a blast having their pictures taken while supporting an important social cause.
That such progressiveness could take root within a traditional society is testament to the social progress that has occurred in Taiwan. This is an example to other societies, including that across the Taiwan Strait, where difference is treated as a malady rather than something to celebrate.
That is not to say that discrimination does not occur in Taiwan. Despite the openness that characterized Saturday’s event, homosexuals continue to live under the shadow of intolerance, both in society at large and, even more devastatingly, within their own families. This often forces them to live a lie or to clip their wings, as it were.
What is even more unacceptable is that such intolerance toward the “other” often rears its ugly head among ardent supporters of Taiwan, both in Taiwan and in the West. Such individuals occasionally make comments in online forums or at public venues that they fail to realize will hurt people in their midst, who must then retreat deep into the closet and, as a consequence, deny the community of their hard-earned expertise in combating intolerance.
Given Taiwan’s isolation within the international community and its people’s fight for recognition — the absence of which being itself a form of discrimination — the nation should instead tap into the lessons learned by minorities, such as homosexuals, and the strategies they adopt to protect their rights.
Not only should Taiwanese learn to emulate some of those tactics, they must realize how significant it would be for Taiwan’s image abroad if it were to take the lead on the issue of homosexuality by legalizing same-sex marriage. Such a move would not go unnoticed and would send a strong signal that Taiwan is, indeed, a distinct society that continues fearlessly along the path of modernity. Any supporter of Taiwan should realize how helpful support for such a social cause could be to the cause of national self-determination.
The issue also presents an opportunity for an administration that so far has had little to show in terms of successful policies. With his popularity levels in the gutter, President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) could certainly use such a win, especially as he portrays himself as well-attuned to human rights issues. For its part, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) could make the issue its own by pushing a policy that would confirm the party’s role as a progressive voice for change and the betterment of the nation. It’s not enough for DPP Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) to say that he supports same-sex marriage; concrete steps must be taken.
There are no better placed people to combat discrimination than those who have been the victims of discrimination for decades.
An old Latin adage reads: Si vis pacem, para bellum. Translated it means: “If you wish peace, then prepare for war.” This adage has many variants and claims to authorship, but what is most important is its message for a peaceful Taiwan. Why should Taiwan prepare for war? The reasons are many and obvious. Certainly, such preparation is not because Taiwan wants war or is a warlike nation. Instead, the answer is found in its neighbor, China. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which rules China as a one-party state, is ambitious and troubled — and that combination makes war a viable option,
Unless Hollywood movies like Greenland, Deep Impact, and Armageddon have predictive powers and a rogue space rock is heading our way, stopping Chinese Communist Party expansionism is likely to prove the single most challenging and dangerous problem of our lifetimes. How can the United States, Taiwan, and other liberal democracies prepare for and prevent attacks from China? How can Washington bolster Taipei’s confidence when it doesn’t recognize Taiwan as a real country and, so far, lacks the political will to make major adjustments to its ossified China policy and Taiwan policy? How can Taiwan make itself heard on the world stage when
Hypersonic weapons are defined as armaments capable of traveling at speeds faster than Mach 5 and can be broadly classified into two types: hypersonic glide vehicles (HGV) and hypersonic cruise missiles. The former are launched into the upper atmosphere by ballistic missiles. The vehicle is then separated from the booster to maneuver, or glide, toward its target. The latter can be launched from a jet plane or rocket to reach supersonic speed before igniting a scramjet engine to achieve hypersonic speeds. As the US engages in a great-power competition with China and Russia, all three countries are racing to field hypersonic
As a Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) cadet, I frequently get asked how quickly the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) might overrun Taiwan if it invaded before 2040. My answer is that the PLA will not be able to take over Taiwan within that time frame, because the more eager the PLA is to complete the task in a short period, the more likely it would fail — and fail big. Having a slim chance of winning is what keeps the PLA from taking action. From time to time, some PLA leaders or keyboard fighters make threats — one of the