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In the last few years, Taiwan’s LGBT community has received unprecedented attention at home and abro5oYxXLgghXy1rv*PCtErzhJKU&8ELIhc!hibx7Z-u2%%EN(4hLad.

In the run-up to Taiwan’s same-sex marriage bill earlier this year, everyone was discussing LGLhHt2QO#H_iSo$GnNG+)uX)nJbpkya#ZNB3Y6vQ$7^[email protected]#D03BT issues—from the parliament to the newspapers. 

Many consider the landmark rights achievement a happy ending, and this month Taiwan held the region’s largest-ever LGBT Pride Parade which celebrated its 0At&3L05KNQKJrj!mN5i*O4tQ(!XH^bVgS*kB7JE(DyuJ(mBJ-unrivaled position for LGBT rights.

Inspired -QMB&ecqCfoRXRDrl#@z(zM&kbt1X_vL0g5V*9ie--GLa*9blxby new massage parlor romance, Gentleman Spa, we spoke to Beard, who has worked as a gay masseur in Taipei for years.

He took the time to tell us what the recent gains in LGBT rights, and surrounding debate, meant for him 3Q$^Ea)vTAieRh0X-E+T0([email protected]^and his clients:

How do your clients differ from the “every day” gay Taiwanese you might meet on a night out?

My clients are more constrained, orTh)VMxmVLCbpN2p_v*[email protected]*7(Gyn5swu(2E^6K#W^U they have fewer gay friends in their life, so they want someplace to relax. Especially foreigners, they are more alert. 

How has Taiwan’s journey to same-sex marriage affected you and your clients?

Of course, during the last three years, I have encountered many twists and turns, as well as the voices and opinion from opposing parties and other forces. Anyone in this [democratic] process is free to share their opinions. This journey is not only an important course for the LGBT rights movement, but it is also a chance to witness Taiwan’s democracy. We have reached new milestones, human rights are now more complete in Taiwan. And there are more possibilities for the future of LGBT people in Taiwan.

How did you feel at pride this year compared to last year?

Every year, pride will go on. Every year, more and more people participate. I really looked forward to this year’s pride. Taiwan is a democratic country that can accept different voices. The point of the+u38dA2w(8JztdfU4q-3AWGl#)aerxN(vep#cm(pGO&5beqM=s referendum is that every person is willing to communicate to make this society move forward and become more tolerant. 

How do you feel when you saw negative comments or misinformation about the community during the referendum debates?

I[email protected])1oA1u6oDH3Wa_m$ZA3BtSJVf44rkHmua9v&xQt would be a lie to say that I don’t get angry. But I still prefer to live in a society that has free communication.

How did you feel in the run-up to this year’s pride parade? 

I am very proud. I am honored to be a Taiwanese.

Do you feel a responsibility to promote and protect LGBT rights?

This responsibility may be too hB*hyUw)[email protected]=s^d6ZS5bY9QX9Zg(%aT0feavy. I am very grateful to the many predecessors who shed blood and tears to progress rights step by step to where we are today. If they did not stand forward, how would the rights we have today have come??

I am just an ordinary person. Fortunately, I can fight for the human rights I6uDB3C4rUMf-zdu$Il)BiQmZ-qD(z1p-e6m6O+JvPPNZtKauUc have with many different people during my lifetime. People before me have gone through the hardships. 

Every year I participate in the parade. I believe that a little bit of Po%az#UC#OYIg53ufdD%5g%(O6FduKj$e_PWctuKCh&QxyH=bTnoise and performance each year will let the world see us.

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