August 11th will be a game changer for the LGBT community of Taiwan. On this day, for the first time in the nation’s history, a same-sex couple will hold a traditional Buddhist wedding.
Fish Huang, 30, never pictured herself getting married. That is until she saw a film that highlighted the challenges faced by gay partners who are denied spousal benefits. It was then that she decided that she and her partner of seven years needed to help bring about change in Taiwan. In a recent telephone interview with the Taipei Times, Fish Huang elaborated on this point: “We are not only doing it for ourselves, but also for other gays and lesbians.”
Although same-sex couples have been wed in Taiwan in the past, same-sex marriages are not legally recognized by the Taiwanese government. Huang’s celebration will be monumental, however, due to the religious undertones of the ceremony, which will even be hosted by a Buddhist master. The master, Shih Chao-hwei, who also works as a professor at Hsuan Chuang University, informed the Taipei Times in a phone interview that Buddhism does not forbid homosexuality. In fact, according to Chao-hwei, “Buddhism on the whole is more tolerant toward homosexuality because there is no concrete rule banning the practice in Buddhist scriptures.”
On their wedding day, the two brides will both wear white dresses. In traditional Buddhist fashion, the ceremony will include a series of blessings and prayers by monks and nuns alike as well as lectures by Buddhist monks on the meaning of marriage.
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