Dylan and I were walking down the street, hand in hand as usual. We had just arrived in downtown Taitung and checked into a small, friendly hotel. We had cycled 150 km that day, past whitewater rafting, wooden lunch boxes, and water flowing upwards. Now we just wanted dinner and rest.
A scooter rode up to us and stopped. “Excuse me, where are you from?” said the guy in Mandarin.
I tried to decide which combination of Taipei, Princeton, Boston and Berkeley we were from. “Um, we’re from Taipei, so we probably won’t be able to help you with any directions…”
“That’s okay. I just saw you holding hands—are you—”
“Yeah, we’re gay (tongzhi).” I realized that holding hands in Taiwan meant more now than what it used to.
“So, um, I figured that you probably aren’t from around here. I am that way too (wo ye shi). It is really nice in Taipei, isn’t it, people are more open there in the big city. Locals here don’t hold hands. It was sweet and all, seeing you two.”
He rode away. My hand was warmer than ever.
Background information on homosexuality
- Answers to your questions about sexual orientation, a brochure published by the American Psychological Association.
- Homosexuality: common questions & statements addressed, a more detailed list of frequently asked questions and answers.
- Sexual orientation: science, education, and policy, from Dr. Gregory Herek at the University of California, Davis.
- Famous gays and lesbians in history, a rather Western list, but still.
- Never again: the pink triangle pages, documenting Nazi persecution of gays and lesbians.
- Alan Turing, famous gay English mathematician in the early 20th century (hrm, I have big shoes to fill).
- Back to our future? A walk on the wild side of Stonewall, in which one participant tells his story.
- Rainbow flag, a concise history of the colorful symbol.
Resources for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or questioning youth
- Be yourself, a very nice brochure by PFLAG, Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays.
- YouthResource.com, “info for gay, lesbian bi & trans youth”. Check out their virtual library in particular.
- Coming out resource guide, from the Human Rights Campaign.
- My child is gay! Now what do I do?. They need to deal with it too, remember?
- The P.E.R.S.O.N. Project, Public Education Regarding Sexual Orientation Nationally.
- Fridae: Asia’s Gay+Lesbian Network
Harvard and Boston local information
- Gay Like Me, by Andrew Tobias. A nice article about being gay at Harvard in Harvard Magazine.
- Queer @ Harvard, the Web site by BGLTSA (the Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, Transgender, and Supporters Alliances) at Harvard.