Christine Yang | Summer 2014 | Taiwan
In Kaohsuing and other southern or rural parts of Taiwan, education and resources about sexual orientation, homosexuality and gender equality in middle schools and high schools are lacking. Ignorance creates misunderstandings and hatred. About 58% of the LGBT students claimed to be bullied while in school due to the absence of proper education. Furthermore, besides bullies, many LGBT youths face hardships such as relationship breakups, conflicts with family members and coming out. They need people that’d listen, provide consolation, and give practical advices, yet the assistance and resources in schools are limited. Such a situation needs to be changed. Therefore, while non-profits in Taiwan are fighting to include more education on LGBT topics in the Health Ed agenda, it also has become urgent for students to learn about available resources that are able to assist them when they are in need.
My goal was to encourage students to learn about LGBT resources that may help them in overcoming their problems. To connect with youths, I decided that I will produce a video that illustrates a number of interesting situations LGBT individuals may encounter in their daily life, then introduce various types of LGBT resources that can be found in different cities and communities such as local LGBT center, college gender groups, or churches.
What I Did
Although I dedicated most of my time in the whole video production work, I also spent some time getting to know the LGBT community in Taiwan. One of my volunteers, Brian, is a trained speaker on AIDS/HIV prevention and has introduced me to some active members of the LGBT community and attended the annual appreciation evening party hosted by the Southern Office of Taiwan Tongzhi Hotline Association. These experiences allowed me to become more familiar with the community and also become more aware of what has been accomplished, what is just sprouting and what do the community look forward to in the future.
How Everett Helped Me
Through the video production lab, I’ve acquired the most essential and significant skills I need to implement the TAS & Teens project. From purchasing the equipments, shooting the scenes to editing the video, I put what I learned into practice. I’ve also practiced the skills I acquired from Tech Essentials. For instance, I used social media to gather volunteers, google drive to share documents with my volunteers, and online open resources to plan out shooting dates. Furthermore, with my experience in the tech labs, I’ve become more comfortable working with technology and have learned to troubleshoot when I encounter problems.
Challenges I Faced
Finding volunteers had been a very challenging pre-production work because it wasn’t easy as I expected. I primarily wanted to work with college and high school students, yet most highschoolers need to attend summer school, and college students either already have personal plans or they have part-time jobs. It was also unexpected that I received very few responses from college gender groups which I had believed would provide me with the most human resource. Before I started to recruit the volunteers I expected the team to have ten people, however, I ended up with 8, and the majority of them had quite busy schedules. It had become difficult to schedule the filming dates and have extra assistance while filming.
Another unexpected challenge I encountered was the weather. During summer time in Taiwan, it’s typical to have a few typhoons hit us with huge wind and heavy rain. When the typhoon is too strong, official day-off will be announced by the local government. One of such a strong typhoon hit Taiwan on one of the filming days. It was a nerve-wracking news for me, because I had to postpone the schedule without knowing whether it’d be safe to film the day after, nor whether my volunteers would be available if we need to reschedule. However, both challenges were successfully overcome and the volunteers and I had a great and unique experience in video production.