Debuting OFT’s LGBTQ Workshop

For the past 3 weeks, OFT has spoken at three different schools: Princeton University, New York University and Columbia University. At all three schools we talked about the US-Taiwan-China relations. This was the hot topic as everyone wanted to learn more about this trilateral relationship especially with Trump as president. However, today, we debuted our first workshop about LGBTQ Movement in Taiwan.

It was this past Tuesday, email from Brown Taiwan Society said:

Brown Taiwan Society’s E-board are wondering about the topic, and we’re interested in recent activism in Taiwan (student movement, LGBTQ rights, etc.) Not sure if you guys have already arranged a topic, but we thought that could be area of discussion!

I mentioned that we could do a workshop on the history of civil movement in Taiwan, but only to look at our last year’s workshop and find that we have already covered the topic. LGBTQ rights though was not covered.

I was reticent on approaching this topic as it was not something any one on the team was extremely knowledgeable about. At the same time, we wouldn’t want to misrepresent this community and its movements. Then I thought back to OFT’s spirit, and it is to show people that anyone can learn anything about Taiwan. We were to be the example to encourage people to learn more. With this in mind, I tackled into the issue.

Thankfully, throughout the years, I have met many people and seen many article being written about the movement. Speaking to these people, either in person or through their work, allowed me to have a basic understanding of Taiwan’s LGBTQ movement. It was a great thanks to Professor Weihung Lin, former Woman’s Studies professor at NTU, who walked me through the basics of the LGBTQ movement along with the bills that are proposed.

To round out the workshop, I felt there needed to be someone who really know the topic to answer any questions the students has. I invited Wen Liu, doctoral candidate at The Graduate Center, CUNY, who also teaches gender and sexuality at Sarah Lawrence College. I had met Wen in multiple Taiwan events but was never able to go deep into discussion about the LGBTQ community.

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With less than one week, me, along with my team put together a deck for the workshop. After a nearly four hour bus ride from New York City to Providence, I delivered the workshop and I felt it might’ve been our best workshop yet.

This workshop also showed that OFT is able to do workshops outside of just history but also social issues. We look forward to doing this workshop again at other universities. Also looking forward to explore more topics and show a more wholesome view of Taiwan.

Check out the live streamed video here:

Note: We are working on putting together information from the powerpoint into a page on this website so people can get information from reading.

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