Thursday, July 12, 2012

Taiwanese Lesbian Couple Will Tie the Knot in Nation’s First Buddhist Same-Sex Union


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.

Take Action: Want to learn more about LGBT issues and faith? Well be not afraid. Help is on the way! It’s the new Straight For Equality in Faith Communities publication—be not afraid: help is on the way! Straight for Equality in Faith Communities—that will have everyone talking! Download your free copy here. In a world where people look for definitive answers, finding resolution between what our religion teaches us and our support (and even love) for LGBT people often leaves us frustrated, hurt, and unwilling to even talk about the topic. But that’s why PFLAG and its Straight For Equality project are here: to help you know that you’re not alone in asking questions, to offer ways to think about the issues, and even to find some support for you along the way. Still have concerns? We’ll do our best to help. Browse our website at www.straightforequality.org, check out us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Sometimes you just need some guidance to help you find it.

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