Taiwanese students are going viral for making an LGBTQ-inclusive statement.
The Asian country became the first in the continent to legalize gay marriage. And while several same-sex couples are jumping the broom, other LGBTQ advocates are jumping on the bandwagon of another issue. Gender identity and expression.
Technically, the rise in conversations about gender identity and expression started at the top of the month. While most citizens waited to see the results on the marriage equality issue, some activists decided to take matters into their own hands.
Students across the country started to lead “men-in-skirts” events. For instance, students at the New Taipei Banqiao High School organized a week-long event in early May where male classmates attended school with skirts on. Even teachers joined in on the event. Principal Lai Chunjin later commended the student by saying the event was to “smash gender stereotypes.”
After photos from this school went viral, others schools, like the National Taiwan University, started creating similar events.
“I thought to myself, if high school students are taking a stance like this, then we should be doing even more at a university to promote individual freedom and accept whatever it is that people want to wear,” said Political Science student Lin Huichu to The Observers and France Médias Monde.
He later added:
“Society can’t change that quickly, so we need to start by upending stereotypes, and show people that dresses, which can often limit women’s bodies and movements, aren’t just for women. We wanted to create a safe space for people who might feel like it’s not acceptable for them to wear dresses, and tell them, ‘Wear what you want, and no one will look at you strangely or laugh at you, and you can be happy.’”
“Around 50 to 70 people participated in the event. People stopped by to hear us talk on their way to class,” he shared. “We provided some skirts and dresses, some of which were from old high school uniforms. But a lot of guys came with their own dresses and wore them all day.”
“I received a lot of photos and videos from people who had participated. One of my friends said he didn’t want to wear a dress just to school, but to a movie, and wanted to see how society would react. People are happy that the dress, which is a very gendered symbol, is now starting to blur the lines between men and women.”
It seems with gay marriage now on the table, gender identity and expression are the next tasks to tackle in Taiwan.
h/t: The Observers