Sun, Oct 30, 2016 - Page 8 News List

Taipei Watcher: Loose lips...

Taiwanese actor Mark Lee raised eyebrows early this month at the Golden Bell Awards when he said that homosexuality will lead to the destruction of humanity

By Eddy Chang  /  Staff reporter

Scenes from this year’s Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade, which took place yesterday in Taipei.

Photo: Paul Cooper, Taipei Times

To celebrate “pride month,” downtown Taipei once again transformed into a huge rainbow burst of music, dancing and cheering yesterday, as tens of thousands of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and their supporters proudly marched at the 14th Taiwan LGBT Pride parade (台灣同志遊行), one of Asia’s largest LGBT events.

With this year’s theme, “Fun together — honor diversity, like you mean it” (一起Fun出來—打破「假友善」,你我撐自在), organizers called on the public to break through “fake friendliness” when it comes to LGBT people.

“From gender stereotypes and HIV stigmas to sexual exploitation, this fake friendly attitude is only a cover that conceals discrimination,” wrote the organizers.

Statements such as “I respect homosexuals, but they shouldn’t violate traditional family values” may not seem harmful, but do in fact express a discriminatory attitude.

“Such statements make discrimination subtler and more difficult to detect,” the organizers wrote.

LEE’S HATE SPEECH

A typical example of such “fake friendliness” are the words recently uttered by Taiwanese actor Mark Lee (李天柱) at the 51st Golden Bell Awards (金鐘獎) in Taipei early this month.

“I don’t hate gay people. I love them, and I also have compassion for them. But I have to say that [being gay] is wrong,” Lee said.

The Christian actor flaunted his true colors backstage when he launched a homophobic rant after winning a Golden Bell Award for best actor in a miniseries or television film.

“I’ll be open about it. I don’t support homosexuality because it’s going to lead to the destruction of humanity and that of the nation,” Lee said.

Lee has rejected several gay-themed TV productions that have approached him. “I won’t betray my faith just for a little money. This is wrong. Homosexuality is a huge curse to our future generations,” the actor said, adding, as though we didn’t get it the first time: “What a curse.”

Lee says he is compassionate about difference, but his words are nothing but hate speech wrapped up in “fake friendliness.” Naturally, his remarks have caused outrage both at home and abroad — a reverse kind of “pride of Taiwan” (台灣之光).

It is worth noting that Lee made the remarks during an interview with Good TV (好消息電視台), a Christian-focused TV station funded by Gabriel Broadcasting Foundation (加百列福音傳播基金會), which targets a Christian audience.

“Lee’s offensive remarks are just the tip of the iceberg,” said social activist Jennifer Lu (呂欣潔) on Thinking-Taiwan (想想台灣), an online forum. “The massive amounts of money and power behind certain religious figures and TV stations, and their lack of understanding of LGBT people is what we face every day.”

A TEACHER’S DEATH

Following Lee’s outburst, the LGBT community was shocked to learn of the alleged suicide of French teacher Jacques Picoux, a tragedy that once again highlighted the woefully inadequate legal protection of same-sex couples.

Picoux moved to Taiwan in 1979 and taught at National Taiwan University until he retired in 2004. His same-sex partner Tseng Ching-chao (曾敬超), with whom he lived for 35 years, was the global agent for Chinese actress Gong Li (鞏俐).

Following Tseng’s death in October last year due to cancer, Picoux feel into a deep depression. Two weeks ago he allegedly jumped from the 10th floor of his apartment building.

The media reported that the couple had bought the apartment together under Tseng’s name. Against Tseng’s wishes, his brother inherited the property because, according to the Civil Code (民法), Picoux was “unrelated” to Tseng.

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