President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) yesterday urged the public to “understand and tolerate” the sexual orientation of presidential candidates, adding that this was an issue of personal privacy.
As sexual preference formed part of an individual’s right to privacy, Ma said, “We should treat this as an issue of human rights and culture. We should respect an individual’s privacy.”
I read this Taipei Times story thinking it was your run-of-the-mill presidential statement following Shih Ming-teh’s allegations last week that DPP presidential-hopeful Tsai Ing-wen is a lesbian.
Last night, I was discussing it briefly with my girlfriend, who works in a gay-friendly hostel and whose best friend, among many others, is gay. She perked up, turning to me and saying bluntly, “If she comes out of the closet, I will absolutely vote for her. I think a lot of us would. Ma is gay. He’s just too much of a coward to admit it.”
Back in 2009, when I was secure in my naivety behind China’s Great Firewall, there was a typically slanderous bunch of yellow journalism alleging that Ma Ying-jiu had had a love affair with a local dancer/ICRT DJ by the name “Hot Chocolate.” Even now-imprisoned former president Chen Shui-bian alleged that a sex tape existed to prove it.
Now, the whole thing sounds a little ridiculous… I mean, “Taiwanese president makes sex tape with big black American secret gay lover named Chocolate”… really? Come on.
Turns out, Mr. Chocolate was immediately accused of raping two college males while knowingly having syphilis. Next thing you know, he’s kicked out of Taiwan. Ho-hum.
According to my source for all things gay here in Taiwan, Mr. Chocolate was indeed an active member of the gay community and quite candid about his trysts. She believes the rumors and assures me that most young Taiwanese do as well.
Now, beyond the fact that this is politically-motivated mud-raking 101, does no one find it interesting that Taiwan could be home to the first openly gay president? And that it could be a woman?
Fast-forward to 2012: Not only is Taiwan a functional, vibrant democracy, but it is led by a gay female president. How’dya like them apples, China?!?
I can’t help being fascinated by the sheer possibility. What would the international reaction be? What would China do? Would tensions immediately escalate? Would relations freeze? Would the news force America’s hand?
I’ve always believed that Taiwan is point-in-case Exhibit A for America’s bullshit democracy propaganda campaign. We support any people who are striving to create a just, transparent, democratic society… unless of course they are a thorn in the side of one of a larger autocratic trade partners. Here’s looking at you Georgia, Taiwan, Bahrain, etc..