Friday, May 02, 2008

Gay News Around Asia-Pacific/Early 08…亚洲同志新闻/ 5月号….アジアゲイのニュース

This is another update for my ongoing series called 'Gay News around Asia-Pacific', my purpose for this is to highlight whats going on in LGBT issues in Asia and the Pacific so as to provide gay asians out there some positive role models and news to counter the perception amongst some gay asians (usually those english speaking ones and whom are into western media) that big strides are being made in the West in terms of gay rights and gay visibility in the media when in fact big advancements also being made in Asia (well..Asia is a big place and so theres huge variations but at least for the Chinese speaking world) Asians whom happen to be gay should also be proud of the advances in LGBT rights being made in the media and in society in our own area. I think its important and will be interesting for my straight readers too! However, in this post i shall talk abit about my thoughts on lesbians, as well as include a section on gay western media as I've recently come to actually like some of the western gay media (which isn't surprising given that i hardly watch any western entertainment, much less those with gay content)

Anyways, first off, I would like to provide some links for ppl whom understand Mandarin on shows that dealt with LGBT issues in the Chinese media in recent yrs. Many of these shows were very well known talk shows and the way they handled the issue was extremely positive and in a positive way....there were many many many shows but I've only managed to find a couple of shows which are able to be watched online so here goes:

Mainland China:

The mainland Chinese shows really surprised me as I always thought that China was much more socially backwards and less open towards gay issues, but not so!

Below is the link to two shows that dealt with the issue, both broadcasted on Phoenix Cable (which for those of u whom aren't familiar with the China scene, is apparently the most famous cable network in China with a wide reach audience and widely watched in mainland china) on the famous talk show 鲁豫有约. Now, any topics on this show will reach a huge audience as its arguably Phoenix's most well-known and most watched talk show program. One episode dealt with lesbians and another with gays in China. They even showed a gay couple whom adopted a son from a relative and now the son is an adult, calls one his father and the other his 'uncle'. They even attended his wedding (he's married to a woman with a child now) as the 'parents' at a Chinese Wedding Ceremony!!! I know, how totally 'unbelievable'!! To think that there are same-sex families with children now in China and even being able to attend their son's wedding as the parents was totally unbelievable to me...i mean at a traditional chinese wedding, the arrangement of seats and order in which and in what capacity hosts speak is all-important which meant that allowing both men to sit at the main table and to be recognised as the parents to me was a social breakthrough and very significant. Of cos, the parents did think about whether one of them shouldn't go up on stage so as not to embarass their son in front of the hundreds of wedding guests(some didn't know yet) but their son insisted that both men should attend his wedding as his 'parents' sweet...anyways, there are other shows dealing with gays too (at last count, Ru Yu You Yue has dealt with lgbt issues in two episodes and another show also on phoenix cable called 冷暖人生has done three shows on it, there maybe more, but these are just the ones i caught) , so watch them for urself:

So yeah, mainland China is surprisingly open about lgbt issues now, at least in the media, with the above tv programs as well as the China Daily (which is state-owned and tends to reflect the government's viewpoint and their position on certain issues, either political or social) article on gays being extremely sympathetic and positive on gays published earlier this yr asking chinese people to accept gay people and not to be prejudiced or discriminate against them. (article in my earlier post here:


Well, its no surprise that gays and lesbians are highly visible in Taiwanese media, it being arguably THE MOST GAY-FRIENDLY country in Asia. Below are links to a show by Li Qing, one of the top female talk show hosts in Taiwan dealing with an episode on 'gay life' and bringing in ordinary taiwanese gay and lesbians to talk about their lives, their hobbies, hangouts, and love life.

Link here:

Even for those whom don't understand mandarin, its interesting to still have a look as they show gays and lesbians on one side and you can see many don't look gay at all, thus helping to dispel myths and stereotypes amongst average ppl (and taiwanese society)about what gay people look like....

Here's a link to Cai Kang Yong's long-running show (now ended and something akin to Larry King on CNN in terms of both prestige and the well-known status of that show) and the show where he interviewed Li Qing in 2004 shortly after her 'past' was exposed in an expose by one of the gossip mags in Taiwanese. The thing i liked about this interview and which also reflects how much Taiwan and Taiwanese media had changed was that Cai himself, the host, is openly gay and also happens to be one of the top three male talk show shows/writers/celebrity in Taiwan and he was interviewing Li Qing, which is arguably currently one of the top female hosts in Taiwan and a male-female transgender person! So you had an openly gay top talk show host man interviewing an openly transgender woman on a top talk show in Taiwan, how cool's that!! Link:

What touched me alot about the interview was how Li Qing talked about her experiences to get to where she is now, one of the most successful talk show hosts in Taiwan, married to her husband, and extremely wealthy (she's estimated to be worth alot of money!). And the best thing was god really blessed her, you'd think being a middle aged transgender female, she wouldn't be able to succeed in an industry where looks are so important (and she did despite being born male AND no longer young when she became this well-known) and also be able to marry a guy whom loves her and is actually more than 10 yrs younger than her!!

She really bits all the odds and provides a positive role model for lgbt and especialyl transgender people....i mean heck, even 'natural' women would have trouble succeeding in the entertainment industry if they entered in their mid 30s or find a man willing to love a woman more than 10 yrs his senior, but Li Qing did!! And what touched me the most was how Li Qing's husband accepted her 'past' (she only confessed after marriage, apparently he wasn't aware of her 'past' before marriage) and the day she told him (cos she was getting popular and rumours were already abounding that the papparazzi in Taiwan was going to 'out' she knew she had to tell her husband truthfully lest the consequences if he were to find out in a gossip mag and not by her) he didn't even need like a day or two to think it over BUT said immediately 'so what? i've always liked the present you, i don't know about your past and i don't think i will ever understand ur past. what matters now is ur present.' oh my goodness....he's sooooo loving and kind, what a great man!!!!!!! I mean ur wife just tells u that she used to be a man and you dun even care? Man, everyone should be so jealous of Li Qing to have such a wonderful husband like that, one whom doesn't care that his public figure wife is not only 10 yrs and more older than him but is also a transgender woman...since then of cos his pictures have been published and he has been 'outed' as well... as the husband of the transgender talk show host...but from what i gather, the 'outing' of Li Qing not only didn't affect her celebrity status, it even helped her become even more famous!! it seemed like with the saturated taiwanese entertainment tv show market, what could be better than a beautiful transgender host! But one thing i like is her 'transgenderism' has not affected and been made a 'selling point' of her shows and guests and topics never touch on her transgender identity...basically if u watch her shows, they never talk about her transgender nature and everyone refers her as 'Li Qing Jie' which means 'Sister Li Qing' and the transgender bit is simply not made an issue of which is pretty mature considering how it could have been exploited by unscrupulous Taiwanese producers (well known for producing shows whereby women are made to wear bikinis and play 'games' of throwing water,etc so that u get to see as much nipple imprints or 'peeking out' as possible...ewwww.i hate those shows, so degrading towards women...)


I've always liked lesbians cos i'm a big time feminist and so i'm sure we'll have much in common, e.g. why's all these pretty girls hanging out,attached, or married to big, fat, unstylish looking straight men whom dun care peanuts about their looks??! Like huh? Hahaha...i know i'm abit mean but this is what i always think when i walk around and see all these nice pretty girls with less than impressive looking straight hello? its not fair! And I of all people should be saying whats that cute guy doing with that girl! Cos i like guys (obviously!) and so should be jealous of the women but surprisingly, for me, its ALWAYS the other way round...u can see how shallow straight (well gay ones too) men are... i mean everytime i see a couple, i can always tell why the straight guy is with the girl, i mean just in terms of looks, the girls are always invariably better looking, nice make-up, at least take care of how they dress, i mean i can tell what the guy is attracted to ( i am sure she's got a great personality,etc...but even just in terms of looks u can tell how the girl could attract the guy...) BUT in terms, of guys, i am always wondering 'what does she see in him? It must be the personality cos i sure don't find him physically attractive....yea. so after all that rant i would have alot of common topics to talk about with lesbians...haha...any asian lesbians reading this, esp those in Sydney, do drop a note, i'd love being friends:)

And also one thing i can't stand is my gay friends whinging about how tough its like been gay, how its easier for girls cos in Asia women can hold hands, go arm in arm shopping, be all touchy with each other and its completely fine....i mean heck, stop complaining! Its ten, no, hundred times better being gay than lesbian ok!! Yea, so u can't go shopping hand in hand with ur boyfriend whilst the lesbian can with her g/f without stares from strangers but gay men are still priviledged by the very fact that they are still MEN and being a man in Asia can mean more and bring more priviledges than any impairment that being gay brings. Firstly, men earn more, gay or otherwise, so gay men almost always earn more than women, even straight ones!! So a gay man will actually still be more well-off financially than a straight woman, and much less a lesbian!! Then, there is the fact that gay men occupy many of the top positions in society such as managerial positions, in government, etc which lesbians don't and furthermore, gay men have so-called 'gay occupations' which are environments which are highly tolerant of gay men, eg. flight attendant, make-up artist (almost fully gay i would say), fashion designers, magazine editors, the entire creative industry basically, hair dressers, shoe makers, women's products, the list goes, name me a lesbian occupation? I can't think of one...well, maybe women's soccer..hahaha...but how many one to become a soccer professional...

Then even in the lgbt arena, almost all the gay magazines which are famous and all gay media and outlets such as gay bars first and foremost target and are for gay men...i mean some gay bars don't even allow women in, so no lesbians as well and due to the financial constraints of lesbians, they simply don't have that much money, unlike gay men whom earn more and can afford to open gay bars, gay pubs, set up gay businesses and gay media....which all target gay MEN and some wholly so to the exclusion of lesbian women...i mean i was literally amazed when two yrs ago i checked out this very well known gay asia friendship web portal with info on gay pubs,bars,etc in each asian city and the page for singapore (this portal is singaporean owned) under lesbians showed up zero, ziltch! places for lesbians to hangout and relax with their friends whereas there were like 5 to 6 different places/discos/parties for gay was simply amazing for me and i was quite appalled...and Hong Kong has these gay boat parties whereby 20 or so privately owned luxury ships are pooled together for this annual boat party for gay men and once again whenever i see the advertisements for this event every yr on this SG gay website i visit (where i get some of my info for my knowledge of gay and lesbians issues) i always wonder why a similar event is never held for lesbians? Of cos, i could guess the answer, it was cos gay men, like all men, are simply richer and more financially well-off compared to lesbians and could actually afford or own some of these luxury boats in the first place...lesbians simply didn't have the means...

I mean even the well-known circuit parties held across Asia in recent yrs in places like Bangkok, Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Taipei, almost 80% and above are gay men only events...i mean what about the lesbian sisters? I rem once an organiser said its cos lesbians don't like to party and I was like WHAT??! So why do u still see so many straight gals enjoying themselves and having a good time at all the straight venues? If straight gals like to party, i'm sure lesbians do too..its almost like what the japanese said in response to why during the colonial era, japanese were given white rice to eat during state banquets whilst koreans were given oats and wheat in colonial Korea. "Its cos Koreans Don't eat white rice, you see" was the response given by one japanese colonial administrator. haha..yeah, RIGHT.

And even in the western media (its much better in chinese media, although its apparently the same in korean media and slightly so in japanese media) lesbian characters aren't many and the current 'gay phenomenon' occurring in TV with a deluge of gay themed shows and characters are really all gay MALE characters...i mean think of all the famous US TV shows and think of how many have lesbian characters or lesbian couples??

Its just sad really that in the media, in terms of gay venues ( i mean gay bars are only for gay men and women who love them, what about lesbians?? ever wondered where they went???) and financial power, lesbians are ignored, and left to the sideline whilst gay men take centre stage...i mean heck even in gay pride parades, its the gay men (in their teeny tight shorts!) gyrating their hips that are the highlight of the shows and what people have as an image of gay parades..lesbians come second, just like how women come after men even in the straight world fact, in Tokyo, the annual glbt pride parade has a problem with lesbian attendance, something like 80% of all parade marchers are men and the floats are almost all gay male floats...this shows the problem in much of gay Asia in that often, being a woman is much more of an issue than being gay...Japanese lesbians, like their straight counterparts, simply don't have so much money to hire the floats and also feel like they cannot attend such public events as conveniently as the men can...

I just want to highlight what many asian gay men (and their western counterparts too, i believe!) seem not to realise (or care) , that is that as much as gay men like to complain about homophobia being stronger with straight guys,etc that women get it easier cos they can be intimate in public, gay men still get the nicer part of the cotton candy stick whilst lesbians have it much worse, in terms of media publicity, financial power, top positions held in both the public and private, as well as places and publications which are made specifically for lesbians as opposed to the vast rainbow of choices for gay men. I already see some gay men questioning; sometimes asking questions like 'What about the lesbians?' This questioning of their own priviledges is an important first step towards recognising as well as addressing these inequalities and sexism which exist in the gay community just like it exists in the straight community too.

Western Media:

Recently, I've come to watch some western gay media and was surprised at how i liked some of it, well...a few, some i really disliked and thats one thing about western gay media, movies, just isn't for me, many of the storylines really, REALLY PANDER to gay men and their fantasies to the point where it doesn't make sense and is just plain wishful thinking.. i mean, thats why i enjoy asian gay movies, tv series,etc cos they are more realistic, less in-your-face and more subtle/romantic in my opinion. Shows with gay characters now include: German TV 'Forbidden Love''s Christian and Olliver gay couple, Ugly Betty , Brothers and Sisters,etc...frankly i watched abit of the above and really didn't get them(with the exception of Brothers and Sisters, which has its flaws. but watchable) I mean how come they made Alexis seem so evil in Ugly Betty when she embarasses her family at the show by revealing her identity? And also how silly is it for Christian to 'suddenly' realise he is gay after he is kissed by Oll? i mean he is already in his thirties and obviously loved gf until then...and its like..huh? Its just playing to gay men's fantasies of turning a straight man 'gay' ...with one kiss..hahaha..BAD storyline....which is why i don't watch gay western stuff...i hated 'Brokeback Mountain' for the record, yes i hated it, it made me feel so disgusted and revolted, it elicits in me a response whenever i watch gay themed western movies (which is only like 2 movies,excl. comedies like i Now Pronounce u Chuck and larry, haha) which are feelings of disgust..i know!!! (i know ppl loved brokeback but not me...i mean even the tagline ' i don't know how to quit you.' which was oh-so-romantic to many sounded to me like 'i don't know how to quit your ass' to me...gosh i think ppl are gonna hate me for saying what i said, but thats what i truly think about that movie...and most of gay western media, its all about sex, i really don't see much love or feelings in them at all..)

But heres the good stuff:

Margaret Cho...I LOVE her:

Margaret Cho Gay Daddy:

Margaret Cho and "No Gays in Korea":

Margaret Cho Str8/Gay Males:

Margaret Cho on 'Ellen':

Comedy Central and Other Funny Gay Clips (e.g. Chaser's war on Everything): French Film Trailer Spanish Film Trailer (gay theme) Larry King on CNN (Transgender interview-gosh, the lady is so pretty!!)

Actually up till now, the only gay themed western show i liked (given that i disliked brokeback mountain, qaf,etc) would be ATWT's Luke & Noah storyline...i think i actually enjoy an American soap!!

Oh yeah, i LOVE Oprah too...she's simply fantastic!! She has a huge gay male following n and is extremely pro-gay in her attitude and has done many shows dealing with gay issues in a positive's her profile on wiki: and a show she did with Ellen:

I'm surprised also at the number of gay stars whom have come out openly about their sexuality in recent yrs in the West: Jodie Foster (!), Lance Bass of some boyband fame, Luke Macfarlane (Brothers and Sisters), TR Knight (Greys Anatomy) and many more........

other Asian Media:

I've been dealing with the Chinese media as well as Chinese society more in my recent posts on gay issues in Asia so I thought I'd include this clip showing a gay-themed Korean ad, quite funny, it would only appear funny if u are savvy enough, hahaha..otherwise you probably wouldn't get it!:

Chinese MV's with Gay Theme: I Love this Song..the lyrics are beautiful and the mtv is too.....especially the lesbian couple, they look soooooo sweet together!!!:):) The singer's Malaysian by the way, and highly supportive of gay rights, given his record of performing at gay venues as well as promoting gay themes in his album:) This isn't a gay-themed song but i just love it!! Anyways, there is a lgbt connection cos the singer Lee Hom has constantly been voted by gay Taiwanese men as one of their top dream boyfriends, he's very popular with the 'gay clique' across the Chinese world in Asia.

Anyways, i won't be posting on gay issues for awhile now, since I've done quite abit for now, so for those of you not keen on gay stuff, there'll be less, at least for the coming few months..:)

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