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26 Nov 2010

Wang Chung-ming

Wang Chung-ming is one of three openly gay candidates running for seats as councillors as 60 percent of Taiwan's 23 million people go to the polls on Saturday, Nov 27. He tells Fridae what led him to join the elections and how his "multiple identities work have worked in a very interesting way" for him.

Thirty-two-year-old Wang Chung-ming is a Green Party candidate running for a councillor seat in the the Shihmen, Sanjhih, Bali and Tamsui districts in Xinbei City (formerly Taipei County).

He said he decided to take the plunge after failing to find a gay candidate to represent his party of which he is a Central Executive Committee member. The centerpiece of his campaign platform however isn't LGBT-related issues but agriculture, green transportation and local economy. 

As an active member of the LGBT community, Chung-ming is involved in a group that addresses issues facing aging gays, and hearing impaired LGBT people. He says: “If we look carefully at marginal LGBT issues, we will find that sexual orientation or gender identity may not be the most important problem for them but their problems are compounded because they are LGBT. The truth is, if we all look at ourselves, we will find out that there are several identities within ourselves but most of time there will be one identity which is more important than others.”

He adds that regardless of the election results, his involvement in politics has become his life's career. Chung-ming tells Fridae how he had decided to run in the elections himself when he couldn’t find anyone who would do so, and more about his campaign.

Wang Chung-ming dressed a Taoist "agriculture deity" at the Taipei Pride Parade 2010

Wang Chung-ming (王鐘銘)
Green Party Taiwan (台灣綠黨)
Member since 2006
Age: 32
Occupation: Editor of books and magazines / Politician
Contesting in: Shihmen (石門), Sanjhih (三芝), Bali (八里) and Tamsui (淡水) districts in Xinbei City (formerly Taipei County)

æ: Is this your first time running in the Taipei municipal elections or any other council?

Chung-ming: Yes, it is my first time running for any kind of political office.

æ: Can you tell us briefly how you became involved in politics and why are you running for council member??

Chung-ming: In 2006, some bloggers and I held some online events to help Green Party members in that year's municipal election. Unfortunately none of them won. I was so depressed by the results that it inspired me to get more involved and to join the party. This year, I think it is a good opportunity not only for Green Party but also for a LGBT candidate to win a council seat. However when I couldn't find anyone who would run in the elections, I decided to join the race myself.

æ: What do you think are the pros and cons in being an openly gay candidate? Do you find the mainstream public to be accepting of yourself and other openly gay candidates?

Wang Chung-ming thanks residents in Tamsui (淡水) for not driving their cars in a billboard ad.

Chung-ming: Although I'm openly gay, my main policies in this campaign are not LGBT related but about green transportation, agriculture, and local economy. Hence most electorates see me as a young man who cares about environment first, then my gay identity. My multiple identities work in a very interesting way: Most non-LGBT electorates don’t seem to mind nor do they really care about my sexual orientation, but it appears that LGBT electorates are beginning to pay attention to environmental issues.

With regards to my election campaign, I don't see any inferiority or negative consequences in being openly gay. But it might be just because I'm optimistic. The advantage of being openly gay is that many people may admire my courage to come out, and I always get hugs and encouragement from my straight supporters. 

However, I don't think the mainstream public accepts openly gay candidates. But we don't need the mainstream public. It only takes about 10%-20% votes to become a city councillor.

æ: What do you think are the three most important LGBT-related issues facing the city that you would address if you’re elected?

Chung-ming: (1) Gender equality in education: The bullying and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity are still very serious issues in schools today. No matter peers, teachers or school staff, discrimination can be found in what they say and their attitudes when dealing with students. Therefore, to enforce/reinforce the existing Gender Equity Education Act (2004) in schools and promote gender equality education would be a priority for me. 

(2) Partnership rights: Although same-sex marriage or civil union is a central government issue, local governments can play their part at the local level such as city government can recognise and register same-sex couples so that said couples can get social welfare benefits like child allowance and spousal benefits (at the local level under local government authority). 

(3) Young, aging LGBTs and LGBTs with disabilities: LGBTs with special needs including those who are economically disadvantaged tend to have their problems compounded because of their sexual orientation. I feel the government has the responsibility to resolve their difficulties and cater to their needs. 

æ: What do you think are the three most important non-LGBT-related issues facing the city that you would address if you’re elected

Chung-ming: (1) Agriculture: We need agriculture to save our lives, not only because of the food crisis but also because of the environmental and economical crisis. The district I’m running in has a very high potential to be developed to become a sustainable and self-sufficient model. I also believe that such a culture will be a greatly diverse one. 

(2) Green Transport: We really don't need more roads and cars. Policies and plans to build more roads and high-speed roads should be better scrutinised. We should look to public transportation like buses, trains, bicycles and walking to play more important roles nowadays. Bicycling shouldn’t be seen as just a leisure activity or exercise but a way of transportation.

(3) Local Economy: Exchange, including service and goods, within a city, a town, or even a community will help us rely less on import and export.

Ashley Wu, Director of International Affairs, Taiwan Tongzhi Hotline Association contributed to this article.


Reader's Comments

1. 2010-11-26 16:42  
All the best to you.
2. 2010-11-26 19:34  
Go for it! Bravo!
3. 2010-11-26 21:17  
polity is about public welfare, benefits. nothing much to say.
Congratulation, keep your efforts on.
4. 2010-11-26 22:48  
A Green candidate! And gay! What an inspiration!
5. 2010-11-26 22:48  
You are inspirational and nave a balanced mentality. Again, a dignified role model for winners to follow.
We shall not be steam-rolled by obsessed heterosexual practice and bias.
6. 2010-11-27 00:49  
All the very best to Mr. Wang Chung-ming and to our two sisters in their political battle.

Wow Wang Chung-ming is such a gorgeous hunk too!


7. 2010-11-27 01:09  
Power to the gay people!
8. 2010-11-27 01:31  
Rock, bear! lol...
9. 2010-11-27 01:32  
Big Hug to Wang Chung-ming (王鐘銘).

This is an important step in Asia politics. It takes so much courage to run the election already in compound ones own gay identity. It certainly encourage more people to step up the gay issue and recognize our needs and true existance.

Best wish and all my support (Y)

Comment #10 was deleted by its author on 2010-11-27 03:32
11. 2010-11-27 03:33  
All the best, support even though i m not taiwanese.
Admire your courage.
12. 2010-11-27 05:41  
I wish him the very best and I would hope that achieves his goals as an elected official. Plus he is really easy on the eyes and most politicians aren't! LOL
13. 2010-11-27 08:10  
Wang Chung-Ming,
I, as a bi-sexual male, applaud what you are doing in your life, you have a caring nature about you, people need to think about the effects of"what" they do to this earth!...as for the same sex marriage, if a "straight" couple choose to get married, live as de-facto or live singly (but still care for each other) then they should have the choice, if a same sex couple choose to get married, live as de-facto or live singly (but still care for each other) then they should have the choice..It is no bodies business but the couple in question. I do not see any difference...I was in a "straight" marriage for 15 years, have 3 children, and 2 grand- children..I have been living with my current (male) partner for nearly 1 year, if we choose to get married, we should be allowed that path in life, no matter where you live in this world. What other people do with their lives is their business and "until" it directly impacts on me or my family, I say...let them make their own choices. most of the people who are against this issue, would not be affected by other peoples choice's , so why do they have an opinion about it.
Thanks for standing up for what you believe in.
Comment #14 was deleted by its author on 2010-11-27 10:29
15. 2010-11-27 10:32  
Good Luck, Wang Chung-ming 王鐘銘 hope you win the election for councilor.
16. 2010-11-27 10:59  
But he runs for the 民进党 :( Sorry bud, that's the wrong party to support
17. 2010-11-27 12:20  
Pay attention to what he says and how he says it. Here is one very intelligent, articulate man who recognises that he needs to have substance to be elected, and not just put himself out there based on his sexuality. Here's a man who will do well regardless of what life may bring him...
Peter, Vancouver, Canada
18. 2010-11-27 12:23  
P.S. He's quite sexy, too.....
19. 2010-11-27 17:44  
1st, there's a factual error. There are only around 17m people (voters), not 23m, who will go to the polls.

I think after the pioneering openly LGBT candidates like Wang step forward, more LGBT people will feel safe enough to do likewise in the future.
20. 2010-11-27 19:01  
Wish u hv successful political career
21. 2010-11-27 19:16  
Best of luck. I hope that enough people recognize the solid values that you are pushing for.
22. 2010-11-27 19:38  
oh, you've got a hairy chest too! Wah! Okay, you got my vote
23. 2010-11-27 21:16  
Well done!
24. 2010-11-28 05:19  
I don't think he's sexy or good looking. Just some honest advise - get some professional grooming.
Good luck on your campaign.
25. 2010-11-28 07:20  
Hello good luck with your campaign I hope you win by a land slide? I like your platform. John
26. 2010-11-28 11:11  
wang chung ming, I hope you will win by landslide. Good luck. Keep your good work going.
Comment #27 was deleted by an administrator on 2010-11-29 13:57
Comment #28 was deleted by an administrator on 2010-11-29 13:57
29. 2010-11-28 18:19  
All the best wishes. Bon courage y Buena Suerte en las elecciones. Sera le temp de voir le support de gens du Taiwan ainsi de voir le changement de point de view au gens gays, ... etc comme nous.
Esperemos que la gente Taiwanesa te ayude en las elecciones y asi veamos que alla un mejor futuro para la gente como nosotros en fridae , Buena suerte. Sinceros deseos.
30. 2010-11-28 18:37  
may god bless u
31. 2010-11-28 21:29  
Much luck.. !!! and keep ur smile.. as i saw it once this year in Berlin ;))
32. 2010-11-29 08:33  
good luck...hope u win;)
33. 2010-11-29 08:46  
Interestingly, it seems that most of posts here are from non-asians. What's going on with the majority of the asian gay community? If we don't even bothered to express our supports online, how would we be counted to give concrete supports to and actually vote in favor of Wang Chung-ming in real life?
34. 2010-11-29 14:25  
None of the out candidates has won a seat in the election on Saturday. The candidates received votes tallied as follows:

Wang Chung-ming: 8,321 votes (representing 3.37%, 4.48%, 9.56%, 2.68% in 4 districts respectively)
Song Jia-lun: 2,215 votes (1.32%, 1.05% in 2 districts)
Wang Ping: 921 votes (0.29%, 0.33% in 2 districts)

The candidates won between 0.2% to 9.5% of votes in the various districts contested in, which were below the 15% needed to secure a seat in the municipal councils.

Notably, Wang Chung-ming (of Green Party) received 9.56% of voter support in the Tamsui district where he resides.

The independent media Coolloud website has published an analysis of the election results of the non-aligned candidates:
市議員 無人當選 成績有差
綠黨亮眼 火盟黯淡
35. 2010-12-01 21:06  
it's a nice try,though sadly the result was a bit discouraged.If we have more like Mr. Wang who let known we exist it's definately a plus for the community.In asia it's a long way to go before their accepting an open gay politician,even if they pursued a lower congress seat.In addition,as I subjectively see Mr. wang was very much alone,wearing a bull's hones,and decided on the election at last minute because of no others available, with a lack of support ,that is doomed for any politic run-up.There is no exception that it needs backup both financially and strategicly.without them it's just like a fun activity because others possiblly are well prepared.Maybe Mr. wang might win with more probability if we were organized like a church or religion and I know we are always minority of the world wherever you are.

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