Among the latest fronts for progressive justice and human rights around the world is civil rights equality for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community.
Although Canada, the US and almost 20 other nations have made this journey, Taiwan is at the threshold of becoming the first Asian nation to legally recognize same-sex marriage rights. With polls revealing a society narrowly divided, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) is attempting to broaden consensus with further discussion among conflicting interests.
There are three fronts to this battle: Taiwanese religious groups and social conservatives protest with familiar claims of “harm to family values,” while Tsai’s own Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which is supportive of same-sex unions, cannot agree on whether to compromise with legislation or amend the Civil Code, ensuring same-sex marriage’s equal footing to traditional marriage in all aspects of the law.
Buddhist, Taoist, Christian and other religious groups share the altar with the anti-gay marriage National Religious Alliance, which pontificates absurdities such as: “We oppose homosexual marriage being amended into the Civil Code because the family system comprised of marriage between one man and one woman is the foundation of society, and if you damage it, that will lead to marriage, family and the structure of society being completely wiped out.”
Lobbying for the DPP’s unity, Taiwan LGBTQ Family Rights Advocacy executive director Tsai Shang-wen (蔡尚文) said that “amending the Civil Code was the most straightforward method to achieve marriage equality and the group would not accept discriminatory special legislation for same-sex marriage.”
With public opinion stalled on this issue in Taiwan and around the world, the following might provide clarity for those with misunderstandings or who are undecided, perched on society’s inhospitable fence of segregation.
Whether we are created by a God or are a product of evolution, it is unanimously agreed that humanity sustains at the will of our DNA — or if you prefer, the DNA that He has given unto us.
These building blocks of life guarantee that people are created with variance, a key to the sustained development and existence of humankind.
The countless physical traits that occur naturally at DNA’s behest are obvious. From black to white, small to large, “deformity” to perceived perfection and everything in between, it is undeniable that DNA’s infinite multiplicity ensures the possibility of all reproductive outcomes.
By its nature, DNA is not restricted to producing only heterosexual XX-chromosome females and XY-chromosome males. Every divergence under the rainbow is a valid and justified natural reality.
A BBC article entitled “Male or female? Babies born on the sliding sex scale” introduces a person named Katie, who “has androgen insensitivity syndrome, which was only discovered when she had a hernia operation when she was six.”
Katie appears to be female, but instead of having XX chromosomes, she has male-oriented XY chromosomes.
“The tyranny of being forced to circle M or F on every form I fill out; I’d like to see that change, I’d like to have a lot more options,” Katie said, lamenting that she usually circles the entire “M or F.”
The Intersex Society of North America says: “‘Intersex’ is a general term used for a variety of conditions in which a person is born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male … a person might be born appearing to be female on the outside, but having mostly male-typical anatomy on the inside… Or a person may be born with mosaic genetics, so that some of her cells have XX chromosomes and some of them have XY.”
DNA is unable to categorize sexuality into two tidy boxes of male and female. Rather, human sexuality is better equated to the infinite mosaic of humanity and nature itself.
For these people, their “nontraditional” sexual orientation is certainly not a nefarious choice, as claimed by some. The only immorality here lies with those who judge people whose DNA defies a simplistic binary. Whether and whom to marry should be their choice, their civil right.
Taiwan’s questioners of same-sex couples’ right to choice range from farcical, with protesters on the right recently “depicting pro-homosexual marriage politicians as scorpions, snakes, tarantulas and toads” (“Protesters against same-sex marriage hold rally in Taipei,” March 19, page 3), to genuine concern for how and what to teach young students by uninformed teachers on the left:
“Teaching the idea of a ‘gender spectrum’ just serves to confuse elementary students before their natural gender identities solidify,” Taipei School Education Union president Lee Hui-lan (李惠蘭) said.
However, this approach only serves to deny children potential understanding and acceptance of classmates with the apparently opposite gender. I was aware of these classmates by the fourth grade in my Canadian school, just as my son and daughter are currently witnessing “different” children in their Taiwanese elementary school. Ignoring this reality only pacifies the discomfort experienced by unprepared teachers.
Should civil acceptance of LGBTQ unions inspire same-sex couples to be more visibly prevalent than they have already become over this millennium, children might have more questions during the societal transition.
Until what is normal is more widely perceived that way, classroom discussions could be added to elucidate how human variety mimic natures’ diversity. This approach could serve as a starting point for broadening children’s understanding of the wide world they strive to comprehend.
Regardless of belief, it is undeniable that — by virtue of the most divine creation that is DNA — humans have infinite variety, and to deny this reality is to reject the existence of God and the legitimacy of science.
With DNA forming everyone’s building blocks, our LGBTQ brothers, sisters and intersex friends undoubtedly qualify as part of us and are deserving of sharing our civil rights. Even Pope Francis said: “They must be integrated into society.”
God is DNA, and gay, vive toutes les differences.
Wayne Pajunen is a political and social affairs columnist.
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