Lesbian Couple Criticized for Crowdfunding Wedding

Lesbian Couple Criticized for Crowdfunding Wedding
What you need to know

A Taiwanese lesbian couple has been crowdfunding their wedding expenses that has led to a series of criticism on the Internet. While some think the couple is taking advantage of their identity, gender equality activists have been defending their intention.

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Translated and compiled by Yuan-ling Liang

On May 13, a Taiwanese lesbian couple, Mackenzie Chin and Dichi Chen, launched the project, “Shi, The Rose,” on flyingV to crowdfund their wedding.

In introducing their project, Chin and Chen talk about their dream of holding a wedding, saying, “Getting married is every girl’s dream, but a nightmare for us.” [Quote translated] Their parents do not support the relationship.

The couple write, “LGBT rights are usually ignored by the society. Most people think it’s none of their business, so we want to draw public attention to this issue and encourage those who haven’t come out of the closet to do so.” [Quote translated]

The couple promised to publish their story in a book on November 27 this year, and an EP of songs about LGBT rights will also be released in the future.

Chin says she will quit her job after the wedding and fight for LGBT rights. “We’re currently writing about our story of being lesbians and preparing for our wedding. These will all be published in the book.” [Quote translated]

The target amount of funding for the project is NT$100,000 (approximately US$3,050). The funds will be used to pay for the wedding cake, wedding photography and the ceremony site. Rewards for funders include wedding cake, a book and an EP.

Taking advantage of the LGBT identity?

After the project was launched, the couple soon faced a huge wave of criticism on the Internet.

Some netizens suggested the couple was taking advantage of their sexuality and said, “Many heterosexual people also have financial issues with holding weddings, not just you guys. A simple ritual would be enough to show your devotion to each other. There’s no need to ask for help from the crowd for your own interests.” Another netizen wrote, “It’s just ridiculous. If you don’t have the money, then just go register at local authorities.” [Quotes translated]

One person replied, “Although I’m gay, I really don’t understand what you guys are asking for. I feel ashamed,” and “You are just using being gay to fulfill your selfish aims.” [Quotes translated]

Is crowdfunding for public or personal interests?

Many people have also been discussing the essence of fundraising.

“Crowdfunding must be something that benefits the public, not for personal needs,” one netizens says. “If you use the money to publish a book, I will support you. But I’m not going to pay for your expensive wedding cakes and photographs.” [Quote translated]

Willy Chien, project specialist at fundraising platform Backer-founder, comments on the issue. He thinks that crowdfunding is about persuading others into believing one’s point of view and not being persuasive enough leads to failure. “They (the couple) failed to let others know who they are and why their marriage matters. Although crowdfunding improves social justice, it’s not about resource reallocation. Crowdfunding projects should still use marketing strategies instead of only reaffirming their beliefs.” [Quote translated]

Other netizens think the project resembles the Chinese “red envelope culture,” in which guests give red envelopes with money inside before entering a wedding banquet.

Defense of gender equality activists

Sister Saying, a Taiwanese fan page promoting sexual liberation with over 80,000 likes, comments on the issue in a Facebook post.

In the article, the author says that fundraising is only about “raising funds among people that support the project.” If one doesn’t find it worth supporting, then don’t support it. “Are they harming marriage equality? I don’t really think so. Those who said they’re using public support for personal needs are so hypocritical.” [Quote translated]

The article says, “The only thing this couple did wrong was providing an unconvincing connection between their wedding and homosexual rights. For the public, it’s not persuasive that funding a lesbian couple’s wedding may improve LGBT rights.” [Quote translated]

An article by queerology, a group promoting LGBT rights, also writes, “According to our experience, events that originated from interests of individuals may still benefit the whole group.” [Quote translated]

The project was closed by the couple on May 18. It raised NT$16,200 (approximately US$494). Chin and Chen explained in a post on the website:

“We don’t take all the support for granted and we don’t view ourselves as spokespeople for all LGBT groups. We simply hope our story can influence society regarding gender equality. Drawing negative attention and debates wasn’t our original intention, so we decided to advance the deadline of our project.” [Quote translated]

Edited by Olivia Yang


Shi, The Rose