Last Sunday, PTS, Taiwan’s public televisions station, aired what is being hailed as the first gay comedy on public television in Taiwan. The broadcast came amidst rival same-sex marriage demonstrations in Taipei.
Last week PTS broadcasted Penguins at North Pole, a lighthearted look at homosexual issues within families in the country. PTS has aired gay programs in the past including Crystal Boys (2003) and Eternal Summer (2006). These were both hard-hitting dramas, making North Pole the first comedy.
The comedy features actress Tan Aizhen who plays a Taiwanese mother who discovers her daughter is in a relationship with a woman. Keen to see her daughter settle down with a husband and a family, the mother pretends to be accepting at first hoping to eventually convince her daughter to change her mind.
Director, Kassey Huang, has said she was attracted to the project by the humor and sensitivity towards the conflicting views on homosexuality in Taiwanese families.
Huang explained, “parents experience a lot of pressure, from cultural values or from newspapers and magazines full of discrimination and stigma. As children and young people, we often wonder why they can’t just understand our generation, but we forget that they are ordinary people who are struggling to get by in this society too.”
Despite a late time slot, the comedy garnered higher than expected ratings and PTS has received no complaints so far.
The new comedy was aired on the same day that parallel rallies over same-sex marriage were held in Taipei’s freedom square. Taiwan’s legislative Yuan is contemplating a bill that would make all legal references to marriage in Taiwan gender-neutral, effectively legalizing gay marriage.
by Rik Glauert
Source – Fridae