Taiwan Equals Love (Image from GagaOOLala)
Recently, Taiwan has been back in the news due to its effective response to the current COVID-19 crisis. However, one year ago the island hit the world’s headlines for a very different reason: in May 24, 2019, Taiwan became the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage. To commemorate the one-year anniversary of this milestone, streaming platform GagaOOLala is releasing a three-years-in-the-making documentary, Taiwan Equals Love (Yan Zhexuan, 2020), that chronicles the local LGBTQ+ community fight for this landmark achievement.
The documentary depicts the chain of events that started back in 2016, when the different political parties of the Taiwan Legislative Yuan (Taiwan’s Parliament) submitted their draft bills on marriage equality, but were quickly opposed by anti-LGBTQ+ groups. From that moment on, the film explores three different generations of love, three different same-sex couples, as they go through the hardships of starting and supporting a family while witnessing some of the major political movements in the following years: the pro and anti-LGBTQ+ rallies, the national referendums and the final passing of the law.
Taiwan Equlas Love Jovi (left) propsing to Mindy (right) in front of her daughter Aliy. (Image from GagaOOLala)
Tien-Ming and Ho Hsian have been together for 37 years, but now their health is starting to fail them. Two years ago, Ho-Hsian was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and Tien-Ming had a minor stroke. After that, they decided to take some actions to protect their relationship.
Tien-Ming and Ho Hsian who have been together for over 30 years. (Image from GagaOOLala)
Jovi had always wanted a perfect family. She and her former partner traveled abroad to have a child through artificial insemination, but they eventually broke up and Jovi reunited with Mindy. Now, Jovi, Mindy, and their child Aliy are adapting to a new life. Mindy hopes to receive the love and trust of Jovi’s child and become her legal parent.
Jovi (Right) and Mindy (Left) attending a LGBTQ+ parade with Jovi's daughter Aliy. (Image from GagaOOLala)
Gu decided to end his long-distance relationship and move from Macau to Taiwan to live with Hsinchi. Gu's foreign status in Taiwan made it difficult for him to find a job and the economical difficulties are threatening his stay in the island. Their personal struggles, their ups and downs, are all a reflection of the country’s issues in its path towards marriage equality.
Gu and Hsinchi's transnational romance (Image from GagaOOLala)
Taiwan officially legalized same-sex marriage on May 17th, 2019. Since May 24th, 2019, many same-sex couples started to register. As of May, 2020, more than 3,500 same-sex couples have married in Taiwan and the latest national polls report that 92.8% of the Taiwanese think society has remained the same after the passing of the law. Yet, transnational same-sex marriages where one partner is from a country that does not recognize gay marriage are still prohibited, which prevents Gu and Hsinchi from getting married.
Taiwan Equals Love documents the three years of same-sex marrige social movements in Taiwan
(Image from GagaOOLala）
Taiwan Equals Love rreleased on GagaOOLala on Friday 22nd. The platform, which recently launched its services globally, is one of the founding members of the Marriage Equality Coalition Taiwan, the main lobby pushing for the passing of the same-sex marriage law during the past years. GagaOOLala’s CEO, Jay Lin, revealed that, “I knew when we founded the Coalition that this journey, no matter how it would end, was going to be a vital in Taiwan’s civil rights history and be a boost in the global LGBT movement. I am glad that almost four years later we can share this film globally to thank those that supported us during all these years. Taiwan Equals Love is proof that even though there might be times when all seems hopeless (same-sex marriage was rejected by almost a 70% of the voters in a 2018 referendum in Taiwan), we always need to keep fighting. At the risk of sounding cliché, yes, love really wins.”
Should same-sex marrige not be included in the civil code, than Gu who is a foreigner will not be able to register. (Image from GagaOOLala)
In 2016, the parties of the Taiwan Legislative Yuan submitted drafts on the marriage equality act but were confronted with anti-LGBTQ groups. Meanwhile, three same-sex couples are also facing their own family issues. Tien-Ming and Hsiang have been in love for more than 30 years, but their love is being tested with old-age and illness. Jovi and Mindy spend most of their time protesting for marriage equality, fighting for the rights of Jovi's daughter. Gu flew from Macau to live with Shinchi but is now struggling with finances and the pressure to come out to their parents...
Taiwan Equals Love trailer:
Watch Taiwan Equals Love on GagaOOLala!