Fri, Oct 05, 2007 - Page 17 News List

LGBT Film Festival targets the general public

The LGBT Civil Rights Movement film festival begins this week, despite a decrease in funding from Taipei City's new administration

By Ho Yi  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Taiwan Pride Parade is coming up soon, but the government-sponsored LGBT Civil Rights Movement (台北同玩節) is leading the way this week with the LGBT Film Festival. The organization will hold screenings and forums on LGBT issues this weekend at the Red Playhouse (紅樓劇場) in Ximending (西門町).

Unlike the parade, which is privately funded, the LGBT event is sponsored by the Taipei City Department of Civil Affairs (台北市政府民政局) and the organizers believe it's their responsibility to address the general public, rather than the LGBT community alone.

"Since we are working within the public system, it's our duty to educate the public about civil rights and provide a forum that brings citizens closer to homosexuals, bisexuals and transgender citizens," said Wang Ping (王蘋), secretary-general of the Gender and Sexuality Rights Association in Taiwan (GSRAT, 台灣性別人權協會), the event's organizer.

Twelve movies intended to promote understanding of different lifestyles will be screened as part of the event. The organizer believes that cinema is not only an efficient tool of communication but also a universal medium accepted and enjoyed by a wide spectrum of people.

The self-exploration, coming-of-age theme returns in Formula 17 (17歲的天空) and Blue Gate Crossing (藍色大門). Transgender and transgender parenting issues are brought up in Boys Don't Cry and Transamerica, while the gay family is examined in Saving Face and Bear Cub. A variety of sexual orientations is played out in Better Than Chocolate, while Kinsey takes a look at the life of an influential American scholar of human sexuality.

Taiwanese and homosexual directors Zero Chou (周美玲) and Mickey Chen (陳俊志) will hold discussion sessions after screenings of their latest works Meikou, Shuilien and Chukao (妹狗、水蓮與竹篙) and Friends Wanted Along the Coastal Line (沿海岸線徵友).

Festival Notes

WHAT: LGBT Civil Rights Movement, Taipei (台北同玩節)

WHEN: Today through Sunday

WHERE: Red House Theater (紅樓劇場), 10 Chengdu Rd, Taipei (台北市成都路10號)

Details: The event is free. For more information, visit www.lgbttaipei.net


From tomorrow to Sunday, four LGBT-related issues deemed most significant in Taiwanese society will be discussed in depth among invited groups. Representatives from Gin Gin Bookstore (晶晶書庫) and Must Muster Publisher (集合出版社) will examine the discrimination inherent in censorship: a high proportion of gay publications are labeled as adult material.

Rarely receiving attention, even within the LGBT community, issues of bisexuality will be tackled by the newly founded bisexual support group Bi the Way. Meanwhile, repressed, stigmatized and concealed sexual desires will be the focus of a seminar by GSRAT and the Collective of Sex Workers and Supporters (COSWAS) (日日春關懷互助協會).

Activities aside, this year's venue has a special meaning to the gay community. The Red Playhouse used to be a popular gay hangout in the 1970s and has been regarded as an historical landmark and part of the collective memory of the community.

"Of course, such pieces of history are omitted from the official record. By holding the event here, we subtly point out the omission," Wang said.

With its funding reduced every year - from NT$1 million eight years ago, to NT$600,000 this year - and a change in city administration, the LGBT Civil Rights Movement sees a precarious future, according to Wang.

"The subsidization was part of the gay-friendly policy implemented by Lin Cheng-hsiu (林正修) [director of Taipei's Bureau of Civil Affairs during Ma Ying-jeou's (馬英九) administration]. As these issues are relatively unfamiliar to the new administration of Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌), we do wonder how much support we can get from the city government," Wang said.

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