May 17 was the International Day Against Homophobia, and organizers of the previous day’s Kaohsiung Pride Parade invited people with disabilities to participate. However, Chuang Ching-i, a member of the Alliance of Religious Groups for the Love of Families Taiwan, disagreed with the Kaohsiung Pride Parade’s invitation to disabled people, saying that it was already difficult enough for such people to gain social recognition and status, and that if they got themselves involved with gay issues they would be stigmatized by association. Chuang’s good friend Vincent Huang immediately issued a statement saying that, as disabled people, they should both have more empathy for the disadvantaged and speak out for them, but that Chuang had sided with “the oppressor” (heterosexuals), and that was why people with disabilities could not have lives of dignity and justice.
Huang took part in an experience-sharing event organized by the Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights, where he recounted how he caught polio soon after birth. He said that until the age of 29 he had done everything he could to be a “normal person”—challenged but not incapable—in the eyes of mainstream society. After coming to terms with his identity, he had pursued love courageously, he said.
Huang recalled that his parents could not believe that a person with disabilities could ever find a partner who was willing to take care of him for the rest of his life, until 16 years ago, when he met his current boyfriend. There was one time when he was sitting on the floor at home, mopping the floor with a duster, and his boyfriend angrily shouted at him, “I don’t want you to do this!” Huang sobbed as he said, “That was the first time in my life that I felt that there was someone, besides my mom, who cared so much about me.”
Photo: Lo Pei-der, Liberty Times
Huang stressed that he had not received more support from society because of his disability, but that it was when he accepted his identity as a gay man that many gay friends took very good care of him, and there were even many people who, seeing what life was like for the disabled, joined him in participating in the disabled people’s sexual rights movement. “My reason for speaking out is that I want society to know that there are people out there who are both gay and disabled, and I hope society will make an effort to understand and accept them,” he said.
(Liberty Times, translated by Ethan Zhan)
Photo: Lo Pei-der, Liberty Times
1. stigmatize v.
貼標籤 (tie1 biao1 qian1)
例: We can teach children to respect other people’s choices and not stigmatize them.
2. empathy n.
同理心 (tong2 li3 xin1)
例: If you could have empathy for others, you would not say such things.
3. speak out v. phr.
站出來；發聲 (zhan4 chu1 lai2; fa1 sheng1)
例: Will you speak out with me for human rights?
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