I have never once had one of my many gay friends around the world tell me they are looking forward to their next stay in Beijing, Shanghai or Shenzen. I have had many tell me they cannot wait to be back in Taipei.
You see, this is where performativity breaks down. It can produce some sort of “objective” scoring based on certain criteria, but it does not tell us what it is like to have the experience — to actually live the life.
Come on, Taiwan, do not be despondent, you are a great city, for me the best Asian city to live in by a big margin, and you have certainly earned your place well above China on any gay-friendly world ranking list. In fact, my own subjective assessment puts you at No. 2 in Asia, just one place behind Thailand. China, on the other hand, is languishing at the bottom, along with Myanmar, Singapore and Malaysia.
Stephen Whitehead is a visiting professor of gender studies at Shih Hsin University in Taipei.