姬佬去留學②| I am Taiwanese, founded the East Asia LGBTQ+ group in Manchester

Welcome to the second episode of “Exploring the LGBTQ+ Society at British Universities”. This time we go to the University of Sheffield, and interview Elmo.

“探秘英國高校LGBTQ+社團”之旅來到了第二期,這壹次我們前往謝菲爾德大學。但比較特別的是,我們這期的嘉賓 – 大毛,活躍在謝菲爾德大學LGBTQ+社團的同時,借助在曼城實習的契機TA還創立了壹個東亞LGBTQ+族群的組織。

在大學社團裏TA經歷過哪些特別的事情?而為何TA認為壹定要成立東亞同誌社群的組織呢?請往下閱讀我們對大毛的這篇采訪叭!

嘉賓:大毛 Guest – Elmo

性別認同為non-binary(非二元性別),2018年秋季來到謝菲爾德大學攻讀 MSc international social change and policy, 曾長期參與同誌運動的壹名臺灣人。

Gender identity is non-binary, came to the University of Sheffield to study MSc International Social Change and Policy in the autumn of 2018. A Taiwanese who has long participated in LGBTQ+ rights movement.

😛Q1:大毛妳好,能給我們介紹下妳學校的LGBT+社團嗎?Hello Elmo, can you tell us about the LGBT+ society in your university?

✨大毛:The LGBT+ Committee是謝菲爾德大學學生會裏壹個為LGBT+學生提供福利支持、社交機會和活動的學生小組。他們不是壹個社團,因此不需要註冊或支付會員費用。

The LGBT+ Committee is a student-led group that provides welfare support, social opportunities, and campaigning platforms for all LGBT+ students. It is not a society, so you do not have to sign up or pay for membership.

我是2018年9月入學,其實開學後我壹直在找LGBT+社團。10月份的時候有找到他們,他們在壹個比較不容易找到的地方聚會,這個地方就是他們的社辦(社團辦公室),小小的,大概壹個客廳的大小,不到十個位置,有免費的茶喝咖啡提供。

I enrolled in September 2018. In fact, I have been looking for LGBT+ society since the start of the university. I found them in October. They gathered in a place that was not easy to find. This place was their society office which was quite small. Free tea and coffee provided.

過了大概半年,The LGBT+ Committee搬到了更大的辦公室,叫做LGBT Lounge,空間比原來的大三四倍,桌子書櫃沙發都是新的,有空的話妳可以去那休息喝tea或coffee,還有書籍和性別相關影片提供。

About half a year later, The LGBT+ Committee moved to a larger office called LGBT Lounge. The new space is three or four times larger than the original one. The tables, bookcases and sofas are all new. If you have time, you can go there to relax and drink tea or coffee. Books and gender-related videos are available.

| LGBT Lounge, 供圖/大毛

😛Q2: 那妳有參加他們的活動嗎?體驗如何?Did you participate in their events?

✨大毛:The LGBT+ Committee每周有兩場社交活動,壹場在禮拜五中午12點,大家壹起喝咖啡、吃餅幹、聊天。而還有壹場在禮拜二晚上,地點在學生會裏壹間叫bar one的酒吧。如果妳不喜歡喝酒,可以選擇去周五那場。除此之外,每一到兩個月會辦壹次社團出遊,比如說租輛小巴士壹起去曼徹斯特的同誌村(gay village)。三月份原本組織了要去希布頓莊園(Shibden Hall, 坐落在西約克郡), 但是因為疫情取消了。在希布頓莊園裏有展出被稱為“第壹個現代女同性戀”- 安妮·李斯特(Anne Lister)的相關物品,因此我本來還對這次旅行充滿期待的。

The LGBT+ Committee hosts two social events a week, one at 12 noon on Friday, where people drink coffee, eat cookies and chat. And there is another on Tuesday night in Bar One located at the building of Student Union. If you dislike alcohol, you can choose to go to the Friday event. In addition, there is a society outings every month or two, such as hiring a minibus to go to the gay village in Manchester. A trip to Shibden Hall in West Yorkshire was originally planned in March, but it was cancelled due to the epidemic. I had been looking forward to the trip, as there were some exhibits about Anne Lister, known as “the first modern lesbian”, at Shibden Hall.

| 曼徹斯特的同誌村
圖源/https://www.visitmanchester.com/

剛去參加活動的時候,只有我壹個亞洲面孔(東亞人)。我就不開心,便帶我的朋友(Winnie)去,Winnie又帶她的同班同學,所以壹共三個人。我們三個都有共同的壹致的感覺,頗為困難融入歐洲群的對話當中。例如說我們進去的時候,他們就會自己聊起來,可是語言有障礙,壹開始聽不太懂所以很難參加對話。我有積極的融入他們,勉強的硬講幾句。他們給我們的感覺是冷冷的,但我能理解他們不是故意的,有可能是不了解東亞文化,對遠東十分陌生,所以不知道聊什麽。

When I first went to the event, I was the only Asian face (East Asian), which made me feel  unhappy. So I took my friend (Winnie), and Winnie took her classmate, so there were three Asian people in total. We had a common feeling that it was quite difficult to fit into the European conversation. For example, when they were talking, the language barrier made it difficult for us to understand quickly. I tried my best to follow their conversation but it was still hard. The feeling they gave us was indifferent, but I could understand that they did not mean it. Maybe they just didn’t understand East Asian culture and were very strange to the Far East, so they didn’t know what to talk about.

😛Q3:是什麽促使妳想成立壹個東亞LGBTQ+組織?What inspired you to establish an East Asian LGBTQ+ group?

✨大毛:後來發生壹件事情,臺灣2018年的公投,壹共有十個提案,其中有五個跟同性戀權益有關。其實我在臺灣便參與很多同誌運動的事,超過七年。因此,來英國讀書後我也很關心臺灣的同運情況。我很擔心公投的結果是違反平等權益的。

Then something happened. In Taiwan’s 2018 referendum, there were ten proposals, five of which were related to LGBTQ+ rights. In fact, I have been involved in LGBTQ+ rights movement for more than seven years. Therefore, after caming to the UK, I was also very concerned about the situation in Taiwan. I was very worried that the result of the referendum would violate equal rights.

| Hebe、吳青峰和陳珊妮三人壹起手拿彩虹帶、舉牌支持平權公投案

於是,我在學生會發起聯署活動,在學生會的壹樓擺攤,邀請路過的人來簽名表示對同婚公投的支持。我發現不管是亞洲人臺灣澳門香港或者大陸,他們經過的時候幾乎都沒有停留。反而是很多歐洲人美國人拉丁美洲人跑過來跟我說加油,拍照支持我們,甚至他們還說很感謝我們在這裏擺攤,不然他都不知道原來東亞也在發生爭取同志人權的事情。我心想西歐人是否都存有遠東的人權都很落後的不實幻想?

Later, I initiated a joint signing campaign in the student union, set up a stall, and invited passersby sign and express their support for the same-sex marriage referendum. I found that no matter whether it were Asians from Taiwan, Macau, Hong Kong or the mainland, they hardly stopped. Instead, many Europeans, Americans and Latinos came to our stall and took pictures to support us. One supporter said that he/she/they was very grateful that we were here, otherwise he/she/they wouldn’t have known LGBTQ+ rights situation in East Asia. I wonder if Western Europeans have false illusions that human rights in the Far East are very backward?

| 大毛和同伴們制作的為臺灣公投集氣的部分標語牌

可是當我拿著標語去LGBT Lounge時卻碰壁了。我們問了壹輪後,竟然沒什麽人願意拍,因為我們設想是可以有十幾個人壹起拍照。我和同伴決定壹個壹個地去遊說,結果我們感受到尤其是男同誌冷漠的態度,他們會覺得不關他們的事。如果是在臺灣,有外國同誌拿著標語來跟我說,他們國家下禮拜要舉行同婚公投,希望我們拍照聲援集氣,我壹定會答應的說。可是我後來想了壹下,會不會他們對臺灣這個地方根本不了解。不管怎麽說,我覺得在學生會裏東亞LGBT+的可見度還是很低的。

But when I took the sign to the LGBT Lounge, things didn’t go so well. After lobbying, few people were willing to take pictures. My friend and I decided to persuade them one by one, but things didn’t get any better. They might think it was none of their businesses. If a foreigner came to me with a sign and said that their country would hold a referendum on gay marriage next week, and hoped that we could take a photo to show support, I would definitely agree. But then I wondered if they didn’t know anything about Taiwan. Anyway, I think the visibility of East Asian LGBT+ is very low in the student union.

就是因為這些事情漸漸累積,到後來我覺得還是需要建立壹個東亞LGBTQ+ community。

It was because these similar things gradually accumulated, so later I felt the need to establish an East Asian LGBTQ+ community.

😛Q4:能給我們介紹下妳成立的組織嗎?Can you tell us about the group you established?

✨大毛:在建立東亞社群idea時,不是因為已經有了二十幾個亞洲同誌朋友才成立的。2019年初我在曼城的LGBT Foundation實習,這家非營利組織無償租借空間給我,於是我在臉書上創立了 East Asian LGBTQ+ Social Group,然後會組織壹些實體的(線下)活動,比如壹起來品嘗臺灣茶,同誌電影放映會,玩桌遊。征得主管同意後,我用LGBT Foundation的場所來舉辦East Asian LGBT Social Group的活動,因此活動地點都是在曼城。

When I had an idea of establishing the East Asian queer community, it was not because there were already dozens of Asian queer friends. In early 2019, I was an intern at the LGBT Foundation, a nonprofit organization in Manchester that was willing to rent the space to me for free, so I founded the East Asian LGBTQ+ Social Group on Facebook. Then I organized some offline events, such as Taiwanese tea tasting, queer film screenings and board games night. After obtaining the consent of the manager, I used LGBT Foundation venues to host the East Asian LGBT Social Group events, so our group members were based in Manchester.

😛Q5: 活動參與人數多嗎? How many participants usually?

✨大毛:來的大部分臺灣人,第二多是大陸人,還有菲律賓人。印象深刻的是有次來了壹位70~80多歲的老gay, 他跟我們分享清朝宮廷裏面的LGBT故事,我們都覺得好神奇哦。我很少看到這麽老的同誌而且還是中國人。

參加我們活動的人沒有很多,所以其實也是我覺得失敗的地方。我辦了七~八次活動,人最多的壹次才十二個,其中有不少還是我動員來的朋友。不然,如果是自己來的,新面孔不到五六個。

Most of the participants were Taiwanese, the second most were mainlanders, and several Filipinos. What impressed me the most was an old gay man in his 70s who shared with us the LGBT stories in the Qing imperial court. We all felt surprised. Also, I rarely knew such an old gay, as Chinese.

There are not many participants in our events, so it is actually where I feel quite upset and frustrated. I have organized seven to eight events totally. There are only twelve people at most and many of them are my friends.

😛Q6: 妳覺得参与人数少是什麽原因?What do you think is the reason for the small number of participants?

✨大毛:我們只用臉書宣傳,沒有花錢打廣告,所以可能觸及到的人不多。再就是LGBT Foundation沒有幫我宣傳,壹開始我有提議能否放到他們官網,他們雖然答應了,然而後來並沒有放上去,我就沒再問。

後來我想了很久,難道這個社群只是我想象出來的嗎?也就是說東亞的LGBT族群人口在英國或許沒有社交的需求? 我現在還是搞不清楚,覺得困惑。一開始我預設了,英國的移民人口中,東亞移民的LGBT組群,應該會有社群的需求,應該也會希望找到歸屬感。不過,我也瞭解,我實習的時間只有短短三個月。這麼短暫的時間,很難「在地深耕」而聚集成一個比较有规模的社群。

We posted events only on Facebook, and we didn’t spend money on advertising, so it may not reach many people. Then I thought for a long time, is this community just my imagination? In other words, the LGBT population of the East Asia may not have social needs in the UK? I still can’t figure it out and feel confused. At the beginning, I assumed that there would be a demand for social contact among East Asian LGBTQ+ diaspora. However, I also understand that my internship is only three months. In such a short period, it is difficult to establish a mature community.

😛Q7: 妳在LGBT Foundation實習最深刻的感受是什麽?

✨大毛:印象最深的是他們辦公室很大,有三到四層,空間蠻多,辦公室放眼望去有四十多位員工,盡管很多都不是全職,但正職應該有二十位以上。這讓我大開眼界,因為就算臺灣最有名的同誌社團-同誌咨詢熱線,他們正職員工才七~八個人,其他都是志工。我真的沒看到過壹個同誌組織有三~四十位員工,規模如此巨大。而且同誌咨詢熱線的辦公室才只有壹層樓。這讓我覺得臺灣的同志運動在資源缺乏, 人力短缺的狀態下,還艱辛咬牙的走了這麼久這麼遠,覺得鼻酸。 不過,我也體會到台灣的同運團體還有好多業務發展的空間與彈性。畢竟曼城的LGBT Foundation 1975年創立,已有45年歷史。

|同誌咨詢熱線參加臺灣同誌大遊行

😛Q8:在英國和在臺灣,身為壹名性少數,妳有什麽不同的感受?是英國更包容了還是?

✨大毛:其實沒有特別的感覺,因為我在臺灣的時候參與了七年多的同誌運動,所以認識的朋友都是非常接納包容少數派的。比較大差別就是我在臺灣的家庭非常不接受性少數,而來到國外脫離了原生家庭,我覺得比較自由。所以要看家庭關系,我的某些臺灣同誌朋友,家人都很接受他們的性向,他們也不必逃到國外來。

至於整個社會氛圍的話,我反而覺得臺灣比較溫和壹點,臺灣雖然說覺得妳是個死同誌會罵你死玻璃,他們頂多在心裏罵或者網路上罵,可是他不太敢在街上罵妳,打妳,丟妳垃圾,可是我在英國看到壹些新聞說是同誌在公車上或馬路上被打的。我的朋友跟我說,之前有壹年曼徹斯特同誌遊行結束後,有壹個英國的跨性別男生被拖去暗巷裏打,打到TA住院。所以我覺得這裏的暴力好像比較升級壹點,反對妳的人敢對妳做出行動。

| 曼徹斯特同誌大遊行

最後,感謝大毛接受我們的采訪並帶來非常有啟發性的觀點!

✨Many Many Many thanks for Elmo!✨

小編對大毛的思考頗有同感,我們組織的某幾次專門針對華人酷兒社群的活動,參與人數都不是很多,因此開始疑惑難道華人酷兒並沒有這個需求嗎?而如果是存在需求,難道是我們的活動辦得不夠好嗎?還有朋友提出疑惑,到了國外為什麽還要整天和華人社群呆在壹塊?

對此,小編認為不是所有人都擁有快速適應國外社會環境的能力,我們因為某些原因(求學,更好的工作機會等)而來到異國,但不等同於我們便應該完全融入當地的生活環境。妳覺得呢?歡迎留言告訴我們妳的想法哦~

2 thoughts

  1. 我覺得就算一個在海外待了二十幾年的老移民,依然會需要「同鄉會」之類的組織。
    畢竟,無論再怎麼融入當地的移民生活,交了多少當地的外國朋友。人偶爾還是 會思鄉。但是 無法每次懷念家鄉時,就飛回去一次,成本太高了。因此,國外的同鄉會 便可提供一個平台。讓大家交流,讓有相同成長背景的人可以暢所欲言的聊 生活 與 家鄉的時事新聞,尤其是後者 時事新聞,是來自同一個地方 (在同一個地方長大成人)的一群人,才會共同的想關心家鄉目前所發生的新聞。舉個例子,假如我們隨便攔截英國路上的歐洲人,他們可能不知道三峽大壩最近 怎麼了,就算告訴他們,他們應該也興致缺缺的不想討論。但 如果我們跟來自同鄉的中國朋友討論,他們會有興趣聊的比例應該會比較高,因為 那是他們曾經生長過的環境,會自然地帶有一些感情與關心。

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