Taiwan: A Change in Motion

Writing by Wen Hsiao

On May 24, 2017 the very country I was born in, ruled in favor of sex-same marriage. People were crowding the streets, crying and holding each other. People breaking into giant smiles and  unplanned kisses, relieved. As their love can finally be recognized by law.

When you’re home country is a tiny island, you don’t expect it to make it up in the news very often. But as of recent years, we’ve been in the spotlight. We’ve made it into the public eye, proving that we’re worthy.

Last year, we held a democratic election to elect our first female president of the progressive party that wants to lead us to push against the oppression from China. Tsai Ing-Wen promised to lead Taiwan to a more progressive future, and she has followed up since then.

When she was elected as the president, it meant so much to girls everywhere in Taiwan. It meant that we can be a part of the political scene if we wanted to, we can be the president of a country if we wanted to, we didn’t need to be married to prove how worthy we are, our gender would never become a disadvantage in our society; because anyone, even a young girl from Taipei City can go on to do big things. When she vowed to fight for social justice almost a year ago, she delivered what the country had always deserved, but blocked by the conservatives.

She showed me how it doesn’t matter of your family background, you can become anything you set your heart to.

When I was younger, I was constantly shown how conservative the Asian culture is, people shunning themselves regarding sexual or controversial topics, but as I grew up, I learned to see how progressive my country is becoming, we were opening up, and being more accepting to new ideas, instead of shutting what is different down constantly. It wasn’t like before, where the textbook suggests nursing and waitressing as a proper profession, it is the days where women in higher work positions can be seen as an equal, they are able to pursue anything.

Taiwan has always been traditional in the past, where sexual behaviors prior to marriage, or even the act of dating in high school was shunned heavily; Nowadays, the dark cloud of conservancy has finally cleared up, and the youth has been able to see the world in a different light.

To me, I wasn’t always happy in Taiwan. I struggled a lot with fitting into the community. The majority of people in Taiwan were so used to conservative ideas where everyone fits perfectly into a box, and during my formative years I found it hard to act like myself when I was back home, because in the back of my head, there’s constantly this voice, telling me how I shouldn’t act the way I do, because it’s not normal. Day after day, there’s handful of teenagers out there, concealing themselves just to fit into the society norm, but in the modern times like this where the world is constantly changing, should we be the ones to conform to its expectations? Or should we be the ones to make the changes we want to see.

The equality movement in Taiwan started because people wanted change as well. From just talk on the streets, to hundreds, to thousands of people all across the nation, coming together because they want to see change, to be with who they love, just like anybody else.

Taiwan has taken the first leap into opening up marriage equality, but in the path of Taiwan’s future, there is still so much more to become; the racism that lies within the country, the hatred towards the aboriginal, as we are on track into a more progressive time, the future could only be brighter.

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Wen Hsiao

Wen Hsiao is a writer from Taipei, Taiwan. She spent the most part of her life moving around Asia. She enjoys cheesy love stories, angry breakup songs, and big bowls of instant noodles in bed. Wen hopes to publish her own collection of love stories and have a newspaper column one day. You can find her on Tumblr or on Twitter.

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