Photograph courtesy of Boston Taiwanese for Equality

This yr, Boston Taiwanese for Equality marched within the Boston Delight Parade for a second yr. The variety, love, resilience, and solidarity displayed on the parade reaffirm our individuality, and encourage us to proceed to construct a extra honest and inclusive world. This spirit applies not solely to supporting our LGBTQ neighborhood, but additionally to supporting our beloved nation, Taiwan.

Boston Taiwanese for Equality is a gaggle comprised of scholars and professionals from Better Boston who help equal rights of minorities in each Taiwan and the US.  Final yr, members gathered petitions from Taiwanese residents in Boston to help referenda strengthening LGBTQ rights in Taiwan. Members additionally volunteered within the “Sure on three” marketing campaign to advocate for the transgender rights in Massachusetts.  

On Might 17, 2019, Taiwan made historical past in Asia by turning into the primary nation within the continent to legalize same-sex marriage. This occurs to be precisely 15 years after same-sex marriage was legalized in Massachusetts, the primary state within the U.S. to take action. This makes our attendance on the Boston Delight this yr particularly significant. Along with commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, the group is also celebrating Taiwan’s monumental victory.  Like in each different nation, this achievement was a results of persistent outreach, dialogue, and advocacy. We as Massachusetts residents are keenly conscious of what “equality” might appear to be, and the way work should proceed to enshrine values which might be necessary to us.

The primary of its type in Asia, Taiwan’s landmark laws has began a ripple impact and reinvigorated marriage equality actions in Japan and Korea. Whereas we applaud this accomplishment, we should acknowledge that such a change wouldn’t have been attainable outdoors of the liberal, democratic, and free-thinking setting that at present exists in Taiwan due to its de-facto independence.

As a nascent democracy that solely held its first direct presidential election in 1996, Taiwan has made spectacular strides in human rights during the last thirty years, from the decriminalization of political dissidents to a significant push in transitional justice, making reparations to victims of previous political persecution. Taiwan has demonstrated progressive pondering on gender points in ways in which the U.S. might use for example. 38% of legislators in Taiwan’s parliament are girls, in comparison with 24% within the present U.S. Congress. Buildings geared up with breastfeeding rooms are commonplace. The present Taiwanese president is feminine. Regardless of being excluded from taking part in worldwide organizations together with the UN, Taiwan has voluntarily dedicated to reaching the UN’s Sustainable Improvement Targets, which embrace gender equality and equal entry to well being, training, and employment for all. Nonetheless, this progress continues to be threatened by the truth that the Folks’s Republic of China, whose regime suppresses dissent and activism of any type, and falsely claims Taiwan as its personal territory.  China additionally pressures different nations to disclaim Taiwan a voice on the worldwide stage.

Present mainstream media discourse on U.S.-Taiwan relations has centered on commerce, arms gross sales and navy cooperation, portraying Taiwan narrowly as a strategic ally within the heightened US-China financial and political competitors. However for individuals who dwell in Taiwan and people within the US who care about progressive values, our reference to Taiwan runs a lot deeper. The present narratives don’t mirror what Taiwan, by itself, stands for.  What makes Taiwan distinctive and deserving of our help isn’t just its geopolitical significance or its buying energy, however reasonably a resilient spirit of an open, vibrant society striving to be seen, be heard, and assert its identification. The US at present has legal guidelines stipulating mechanisms to keep up peace and stability in Taiwan, to us, this could prolong past navy help. Simply as necessary is defending freedom of expression, the correct to dissent, and the correct to self-determination.

If you happen to contemplate your self a progressive, take a second to be taught concerning the points dealing with Taiwan and see how carefully they align together with your imaginative and prescient of a good and equitable world. If you do not need to see social progress rolled again in Asia, stand with Taiwan—acknowledge Taiwan as a companion in equality and never simply as an appendage of U.S.-China relations.

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