在 驕 傲 月，
我 們 一 瞥 一 道 道 散 落 在 亞 洲 不 同 角 落 的 彩 虹，
邀 請 了 來 自 日 本、新 加 坡、台 灣、香 港 的 酷 兒 分 享 TA 們 的 13 件 事，
回 首 生 命 中 的 滂 沱 大 雨，
幻 想 彩 虹 彼 端 的 烏 托 邦。
On Pride Month, let us take a peek at rainbows scattered across Asia.
Inspirational queer faces from Japan, Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong.
Reminiscing their rainy days in life, and imagining a world over the rainbow.
Jin, PR at Lez’s Meeting, shares her journey to owning her rainbow. Growing up in an all-girl school and lesbian-friendly environment, she was swimming in the right pool. Butch, Femme; Chapstick, Lipstick. Yet like many queers, she went through a phase of trying to date the other sex. “But I just couldn’t find a man to fall in love with!” she laughed. It was not until university that she learned more about homosexuality, feminism, and met friends in the LGBTQ+ community. Then, she found her own rainbow: One Lipstick for Two lovers.
An idyllic relationship. Jin keeps her mane of hair glossy and kempt, happy to share her wardrobe and makeup with the other half. “Be real in a relationship,” she said. “Don’t try to change yourself.” Yet the stereotype of lesbian couples are deeply embeeded in everyone’s mind that she finds herself repetitively answering questions that seems petty for her : “Which one of you wears pants?” “Who is the man and who is the wifey?” Jin finds these remarks out of context.. For her, your wardrobe does not dictate your sexual preferences and the two should not be mixed.
Jin’s experience leads to her hopes for true equality – Though Taiwan has legalised same-sex marriage, there are still a lot to be done in terms of gender equality. “The time we are treated equally regardless of our sexual orientation, the time we do not have to fight for our rights, is the time where true equality exists.”
Here is our rainbow dialogue with Jin.
HF：HOKK Fabrica | J：Jin
What is your sexual orientation?
I am a lesbian that prefers a femme femme lesbian relationsihp. There is an acronym in Taiwan, PPL (PoPoLove), which “Po” is a synonym for wifey or feminine in the gay community. The term PPL is quite precise when it comes to talking about my dating preferences. People assign gender roles, even for same-sex relationships, but I know perfectly well that butch does not feel natural to me. It might seem unconventional but I like to keep my femininity when dating another femme, it feels right for me.
What was it like growing up, finding your gender and sexuality?
I found girls fascinating since kindergarten, but I did not find it odd until an incident that happened in elementary school. One of those pre-teen days when kids started talking about puppy love. The girls were chatting, which boys they liked and casually asked me “Who do you have a crush on?” I was dumbfounded. “Do I need to have a crush?” “Do I like boys?”, questions started popping into my head. Realising I spent most of my time thinking about girls, it seemed to be the right thing to do, have an imaginary crush, just to fit in. I mumbled a name to the girls, a boy who I barely had interest in. I remembered that boy just because he was more distinctive amongst the others, and I knew girls that age were usually attracted to sporty, good-looking boys.
Attending an all-girl high school expanded my knowledge on girls and dating. Dating girls were common and accepted in our school, but it was always cookie-cutter lesbians: a butch and a femme, or in Taiwan “T+P” (Tomboy and Po). The unwritten rule was you had to get that tomboy cut to be a lesbian. I have always kept my hair long. It was not worth it, cutting those locks I was so attached to, just to claim myself a lesbian. So I kept my hair and kept my liking for girls a secret, until I could figure out a way to have both.
University was a pain at first. “When will you have a boyfriend!” I was bombarded with questions and for a while and struggled. I was not sure about my sexuality then so I started experimenting, yet it seems impossible to fall for a man. Turns out my relationships with men were purely platonic, and I could feel the instant physical repulsion as soon as we started holding hands. My attempts to fall in love with the other sex? Complete failure.
Realising I might be a lesbian, I started educating myself about homosexuality and feminism. From movies, news and magazines, anything I could find. After being in a few events and meeting some friends within the community, I was ready to take on a more active role in the LGBTQ+ community. From interning in Woman Make Waves to joining Lez’s Meeting as a PR, I have come this far. Now I can announce, with utmost confidence that I am a femme that likes femme. One lipstick and two lovers, how wondrously beautiful is that?
Have you ever experienced violence/discrimination because of to your sexuality?
No. The people around me are quite accepting when I tell them that I am a lesbian. I was treated just the same, some might even be intrigued and want to know more about it. I am very grateful to be in a place that respects diversity, giving me a safe and supportive environment to express myself and my sexuality.
How would you like to influence the future?
Though Taiwan has legalised same-sex marriage, there are still a lot to be done in terms of gender equality, queers are still experiencing microaggression. The time we are treated equally regardless of our sexuality and sexual orientation, the time we do not have to fight for our rights, is the time where true equality exists.”
Advice for those who are coming out?
There is nothing wrong with being queer! Be unapologetically yourself! Start from getting to know people from the LGBTQ+ community and joining a few events. To find out who you truly are, you need to have the courage to listen and face your inner self.
Things people said to you within the LGBTQ+ community….
When I identify myself as PPL (Femme Femme Relationship), they will always bring out the same gender role questions: “Which one of you wear pants?” “Who is the man and who is the wifey?” It feels odd answering these questions, especially within the queer community. Girls can be butch and boys can be femme. Our choice of fashion has nothing to do with gender roles or sexual preferences, it is simply out of context.
HF：你最喜歡的LGBTQ + 人物？
Your favorite LGBTQ+ figure?
J：我最喜歡的是 Cara Delevingne，先撇開她是不是女同志，我都會說我喜歡她這個人，她會關心社會議題，為弱勢發聲。她獨特，她擁有與別人不一樣的魅力。
Cara Delevingue. Despite her sexual orientation or other claims she refers herself to. She has a likable personality, a model who uses her fame to speak up on social issues, for cultural minorities. Her fireceness and bravery makes her one of a kind.
Your favorite LGBTQ+ movie?
“Candy Rain” by Chen Hung-I and “Dear Ex” co-directed by Mag Hsu and Hsu Chih-yen. Though international lesbian movies are becoming more available in Taiwan Cinemas, I prefer local productions where I can feel warmth and sentiments in a movie.
What does “Pride” mean to you?
In the queer context, “pride” is not equivlanet to arrogance. It is a term the community uses for self-affirmation. With bias and repressions deep-rooted in their psyche, “pride” assures them that one should not be ashamed of who they are.
What does “coming out” or “closeting” mean to you?
J：對我來說出櫃是可以明白地表達自己，不用再掩飾，不用再配合別人，不用去符合別人的期待 ，可以自己選擇想要的人生 。當然，在出櫃的時候會面臨自己的問題，也有需要克服的難關。沒有出櫃的話，可能是家庭因素、環境因素不允許，比如在某些國家你承認是同性戀的話你可能會遭受到一些逼害、危險，所以不出櫃也可能出自於保護自己的一種方式。每個人都有不同的選擇。
“Coming out” means revealing yourself, searching for clarity. Change always brings turmoil, and we all need to overcome those obstacles before living an authentic life. Some chose “closeting” to protect themselves, not wanting to risk because of the circumstances they are currently in. Essentially there is no one prescribed way to come out and everyone should have the freedom of staying in or coming out.
What was your proudest moment in life?
In 2019 Taiwan became the first country in Asia to legalise same-sex marriage. That was a tear-jerking moment for all of us, thinking how we have come this far, a law built upon sacrifices, and we finally got our “happily ever after”. I will treasure this moment forever and thank those who helped make this historic law happen.
What does “Love” mean to you?
Love is a universal language, a language that makes the world a beautiful place. Love transcends any boundaries. In the face of love, everyone is equal.