‘Why has it not happened sooner?’
The first annual Queermosa Awards were held in Taipei on 28 October.
The award ceremony was held at the W Hotel on the eve of the 14th Taipei Pride with over 500 guests and 10 award categories.
As part of the third Taiwan International Queer Film Festival and Portico Media, the Queermosa Awards were started to ‘offer more hope and encouragement for those brave champions pushing society forward’.
TIQFF and Queermosa Director Jay Lin says: ‘I hope that the Queermosa Awards can play a small part to encourage more inclusive and original storytelling with characters that reflect the real make-up of society.’
‘Yes, LGBT and straight people habitat everywhere on this beautiful Formosa. Queermosa exists to reward those brave visionaries willing to step out of norm and make people recognize that reality.’
When asked why Lin organizes Queermosa, he says: ‘It is the same answer I give to people who asked me why we started TIQFF. The answer is simple: ‘Why not? And Why has it not happened sooner?’
He goes on by saying: ‘I have been hearing for so many years of people praising that Taiwan is the “beacon” of gay “rights” in Asia. But I wonder where those “rights” are. I certainly don’t see any gay and lesbian couples “legally” getting married in Taiwan, much less “legally” having children. We are still treated as second-class citizens in our own country where we pay our civic duties, just like everybody else. This is not a lifestyle issue, but a crucial civil rights issue.’
Lin also said that LGBTI rights don’t fall from the sky and that there is still a lot of work to be done. He believes that equality and LGBT rights will become real with the help of like-minded advocates, politicians, officials and non-government organizations.
Lin says according to GLAAD there were 271 main and recurring LGBT characters on US television in 2015, while Taiwan ‘barely had a handful’. He does believe there is hope and room for growth.
He said: ‘We are fortunate to be living in a country where more and more people, whether straight or gay, women or men, young or old, famous or just your average citizen, are willing to live outside of the box and to speak our for equal treatment. I do know how this is going to end, but I do know now that a happy ending is possible. If you asked me 5 years ago, I would not have imagined that Taiwan is on the brink of joining the 20 some countries that legalized marriage equality or same-sex unions.’
The Jury consisted of various figures that helped shaped the LGBTI community of Taiwan to what it is today and what it aims to become.
Jury Chair, Tieh-Chi Chang said: ‘LBGT activism in Taiwan has made a lot of progress thanks to many people’s efforts, however, discrimination and inequality still exist.’ He hopes that by acknowledging the work and efforts of the LGBT community and its allies that diversity will soon be embraced by the Taiwanese society.
Other jury members included, Cha-Ray Chu, Derjk Wu, Lee-Chaing Wu, Mei-Ing Juan, Tsai-Tsen Ke, Chi-Chieh Chien, as well as a panel of international film and film festival directors that chose the winning Asian Short Film.
The evening also included performances by well-known, and LGBT-supporting Taiwanese artists HUSH, Eve Ai and Ailing Tai.
Below is a list of the winners:
Pioneer Award – Wei, Qi
LGBT Friendly Business Award – J.P. Morgan Taiwan
Entrepreneur Award – Qi-Ma, Shao
Outstanding Journalism Award – The Reporter for Gay Family and Their Children
Asia Pacific Short Film Award – The Fox Exploits the Tiger’s Might
Outstanding Visual Design Award – Ji-Ran, Ho for We Are Different, Yet The Same
Outstanding Chinese Language TV Series Award – Rock Records in Love – Scar
Internet Phenomenon Award – Jin, Lin
Queer Icon Award – Dee, Hsu
Generation Award – aMEI