TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — In the wake of referendum defeats during last month’s nine-in-one elections, Adju Festival, which takes place tomorrow (Dec. 15) in Pingtung County (屏東縣), aims to be a beacon of support for indigenous LGBTIQ individuals.
The festival kicks off at 10 a.m. tomorrow in the grounds of Timur Elementary School in Sandimen Township (三地門鄉), Pingtung County. It is set to feature a wealth of well-known indigenous LGBTIQ artists and allies, including Suming Rupi (舒米恩), who has played major international events including Fuji Rock in Japan and the UK’s Glastonbury Festival.
In addition to a variety of performances, the event will host 22 stalls, with vendors providing drinks, snacks and a range of queer and Adju-related merchandise. There will also be a discussion forum hosted by activists from within the indigenous LGBTIQ community.
Hsieh Ying-hsuan (謝盈萱), who took the lead role in this year’s hit queer movie Dear Ex, and recently won the Golden Horse for Best Actress, is also set to make an appearance to appeal for society to support LGBT rights.
The event has been curated by indigenous LGBTIQ support group, Colorful Wi. Director of the organization, Dong Chen-hao (董晨晧), said campaigns for marriage equality and access to diversified gender education in schools have faced numerous setbacks in Taiwan since 2011.
Anti-equality groups fronted by conservative Christian campaigners have utilized the reach of social media to propagate misinformation and lies about the LGBTIQ community, he commented. The lies caused a moral panic among the public, he added, which spread to indigenous tribes, where leaders have incited mistrust and hate among members towards LGBTIQ individuals, causing them to feel oppressed.
The focus of Adju Festival is to let these individuals know they are not alone, and to bring together the community.
“Adju” is a Paiwanese word originally used to describe an intimate companionship between two women. It is now also used as a term of endearment among gay men and transgender individuals, and is gradually becoming a common pronoun to address anyone within indigenous queer communities.
Colorful Wi pointed out that over 25% of Pingtung citizens still voted to enshrine same-sex marriage in Taiwan’s Civil Code, and it is important to help the “adju” youth remember there are people, within their tribes, that support them. The organization hopes Adju Festival can convey the true warmth and respect for diverse identities that exists at the heart of Taiwan’s indigenous communities.
Adju Festival is run entirely by volunteers and is free-to-enter, but individuals can donate to the cause via Chunghwa Post using the following details:
Name - 社團法人台灣原住民基層教師協會
Account number - 00711220029797
More information about Adju Festival can be found on the event’s official Facebook page.