The Student News Site of Taipei American School




AI Cafe celebrates queerness


On Nov. 2, Taipei American School’s Amnesty International club hosted an annual charity musical festival in the Harmony Theater to promote LGBTQ awareness.
This year, AI Cafe worked on the theme of recognizing sexual identity within the school. Three speakers, Mr. Chase Williams, Josephine Sit (‘20) and Bella Kintzley (‘19), talked about how they learned to embrace their sexual identities.
In his speech called “A Work In Progress,” Mr. Williams discussed his family’s opposition to his gender identity, as well as what the future holds for the LGBTQ community. “When I came to Taiwan, I had to come out again to my colleagues and students,” Mr. Williams, a political science teacher who moved to Taiwan this academic year. Unlike visual traits, he said, sexual orientation is harder to identify just by looking at a person’s appearance.
One of the student speakers, Bella Kintzley (‘19), president of the school’s LGBT Alliance, said she wanted to provide a platform for students who could not openly speak for themselves. “I often get people who come up to tell me that they are gay, and are very afraid that their friends could reject them,” she said.
Bella, who identifies as pansexual, experienced stigma against her identity several years before she began her activism. “I was on a date with a girl, and we were walking along the mall,” she said. “A bunch of guys followed us the whole time around the mall for a couple hours, and it really freaked me out. I didn’t know really how to respond to it.”
Jade Hsu (‘21), who sang “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Elvis Presley, said, “I chose this as I think it represented the theme really well and it showed how love is love.”
During the intermission, attendees were encouraged to participate in the Write for Rights campaign. This year’s campaign is dedicated to writing letters to the Ukraine’s Ministry of Internal Affairs to support Vitalina Koval, an LGBTQ activist who was assaulted while organizing a protest on International Women’s Day this March. “AI Cafe didn’t just raise awareness, we actually got to directly contribute to the case through the letters we wrote,” audience member Sydnie Chen (‘21) said.
Friday’s festival was hosted by Tingjen Hsieh (‘20). People who attended AI Cafe were invited to sign a pledge to prohibit anti-LGBTQ discrimination on campus and worldwide.
Soon, some students will also be able to take direct action on LGBTQ issues on a national scale. On Nov. 23, Taiwan will conduct a referendum containing three anti-LGBTQ proposals and two counter-proposals. Citizen ages 18 or above will participate in a referendum for the first time.

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