The gains made by Taiwan’s marriage equality movement has helped the island nation make international headlines since late 2016, and when the constitutional court ruled in favor of marriage equality on May 24, 2017, the world was celebrating the historic moment with Taiwan. Having witnessed the process of Taiwan’s LGBTQ progress and experienced the open-minded atmosphere towards sexuality in Taiwanese society, Lucie Liu, a 24 year-old filmmaker from Germany, decides to document the LGBTQ advances in Taiwan through her first documentary, taipeilove*.

A Crucial Step Towards Universal Human Rights in Taiwan

Liu first arrived in Taiwan as an intern at the Goethe Institut in July 2016, and she was immediately struck by Taiwanese society’s openness towards sexuality and LGBTQ individuals. After conducting more research and participating in the Taipei LGBTQ Pride Parade in 2016, Liu decided to produce her first documentary to capture what’s happening in Taiwan.

“I always perceive Asia to be a bit more conservative towards topics related to sexuality,” said Liu. “I started some research and realized that while it’s really difficult to be gay in other Asian countries, it is simpler to be gay in Taiwan. This inspired me to shoot a documentary.”

By taipeilove*

After interviewing more than 40 people, Liu decided to focus taipeilove* on a female protagonist named Sarah, as well as a gay couple, Kevin and David. Instead of emphasizing the political aspect of the marriage equality movement, Liu wants to capture how Taiwanese people are helping to push the issue forward. To her, the legalization of marriage equality is not just a step towards more equality, but it is also a step to do so much more.

“Taiwan is a very young democracy, and I feel like it has a very young generation that is willing to push the topic of marriage equality forward,” said Liu. “The legalization of marriage equality is not just about getting married. It is about being able to not have to justify for your sexuality anymore. The social aspects of the movement is what I want to portray through my documentary. I’m featuring a young lesbian woman and an older gay couple. These are the most important people because they are a part of society. They tell me about their struggles and that really help me to visualize how being LGBTQ in Taiwan really is.”

By taipeilove*

Liu believes that what Taiwan has achieved through the marriage equality movement is a crucial step towards universal human rights, and she hopes to create visibility for Taiwan’s efforts to promote equality.

“I just want to give this topic exposure, because I think it’s very revolutionary to do that in an Asian country,” said Liu. “I want to capture this for the outside world, and talk to other people about Taiwan.”

An Unbiased Understanding of Love

Rather than trying to openly advocate for marriage equality, Liu thinks that taipeilove* examines the topic from a very genuine and personal point of view. For her protagonist Sarah, she believes that taipeilove* offers people a way to have a deeper understanding about marriage equality.

“I think audience can better understand marriage equality through the personal stories in taipeilove*,” said Sarah. “I hope those who are afraid to come out can feel less lonely after watching taipeilove*. As for everyone else, I hope they can break down stereotypes and begin to think about what is love.”

By taipeilove*

As a debut filmmaker, Liu thinks that the process of producing taipeilove* has helped her learn how to ask for help when she needs it. Additionally, she has developed a special bond with Taiwan through the people and stories that she has come across.

“I will definitely come back, and I will be really happy if my film were shown at the film festivals here,” said Liu. “I want people to know that what is happening here is history in the making, and a lot more people should pay attention to this.”

By taipeilove*

With close to 80% of the shooting completed, Liu is now actively working on a trailer while promoting taipeilove* through various social media platforms. She plans to join film festivals around the world and share what’s happening in Taiwan with the world.

“In order to give exposure to this incredibly important topic, I would like to go to LGBTQI film festivals around the world to raise awareness towards what’s happening on this beautiful island.”

By taipeilove*

Just like the * sign added to the title of the documentary, Liu hopes taipeilove* can act as a reminder to people all around the world that love is inclusive and indiscriminate.

To learn more about taipeilove* and their updates, follow them on Facebook and Instagram

(All images by taipeilove*)

William Yang

William is a freelance writer and photographer based in Taiwan, with a passion for human rights and storytelling. He holds a Master of Journalism degree from Temple University, and has extensive experiences interning at global NGOs such as Human Rights Watch and Mercy Corps.