Under the warmth of the afternoon sun, two young women embrace each other with affection. One holds the other by the waist while the other leans in for a kiss. Behind them are all the colors of the queer spectrum.
Thai photographer Watsamon “June” Tri-yasakda captured the scene in Myanmar’s first Pride celebration in 2019. For the past five years, she has been working on United Love: Documenting Pride in Asia, a growing series of photographs of Pride and other LGBTQ events across the region. Her series shows that even in the face of opposition, people across Asia are dedicated to fighting for equality.
“Asia is very behind for LGBTQ people. Things seem good on the surface, but all you can do is hold hands with your partner in the streets,” she says.
这是泰国摄影师 Watsamon “June” Tri-yasakda 在 2019 年缅甸举行的首次同志骄傲大游行中拍摄的照片。过去五年，她一直在拍摄《United Love: Documenting Pride in Asia》系列，用镜头记录亚洲的同志骄傲大游行和其他 LGBTQ 活动，通过这一系列的摄影作品，展示出亚洲各地的 LGBTQ 群体在各种反对声面前，依然坚定地争取平权。
她说：“亚洲对于 LGBTQ 群体的接受度还很低。表面上看一切都很和谐，但你最多也只能在街上和伴侣牵牵手。”
Five decades after the Stonewall riots in New York City, LGBTQ communities are still fighting for equality. Pride parades are a central element of this fight and have become a beacon of hope to anyone feeling like an outcast. In the Asia-Pacific, the LGBTQ movement has gained more visibility over the last decade, especially after Taiwan took the lead in legalizing same-sex marriage in 2019.
Still, even Tri-yasakda’s home of Bangkok, known for its tolerant culture, hasn’t had a pride parade in more than a decade. She started this project to understand issues related to the LGBTQ community around Asia.
纽约石墙事件后 50 年的今天，LGBTQ 群体还在努力争取平权，而骄傲大游行是这场平权运动的核心。对于许多社会边缘的同志群体来说，骄傲大游行是他们的希望灯塔。在过去 10 年间，LGBTQ 运动在亚太地区获得了越来越多关注，尤其是台湾率先于 2019 年将同性婚姻合法化之后。
而在 Watsamon 生活的城市——曼谷，虽然向来以文化包容而闻名，但当地已经有十多年未举行过骄傲大游行。她开始这个摄影项目的初衷，就是想更多地了解与亚洲各地 LGBTQ 有关的问题。
Her first stop was Phuket, where Thailand’s only regular pride parade takes place. The festival there is largely organized by the expats and supported by the local commercial scene. “It’s more like a getaway festival for tourists,” Tri-yasakda says. “There’s a little activism going on; they work with local hospitals on HIV prevention matters, for example. But it isn’t a very political event, and the local community doesn’t get too involved,” she says.
她的第一站是普吉岛，这里是泰国唯一定期举行骄傲游行的城市。当地的骄傲游行主要由外籍人士组织，并得到了当地企业的支持。“当地的骄傲游行更像是给游客举办的度假活动。” Watsamon 说，“也有一些积极的行动，例如，他们会与当地医院合作，推广预防艾滋病。但整体上不算是非常有政治性的事件，当地的社区也不太会参与其中。”
In 2017, Tri-yasakda went to Singapore for Pink Dot SG, the local version of LGBTQ Pride. That year, the government announced that only citizens and local residents could attend, and they built a fence to surround the event. “But foreigners went anyway, even if they had to stay outside the barricades. Many couples stayed together along the division line, holding hands over the fence.” Singapore, too, criminalizes sexual activities between two men. Even though the infamous section 377A of the criminal code has not been enforced since 1999, it still sends a message of inequality across society.
Myanmar had its first Pride in 2019. The country has virtually no equality laws, and sexual activity between members of the same sex is a crime. The LGBTQ community is still tethered and non-vocal. In particular, the local transgender population is targeted, many times by the police force. “They don’t need to commit any crime,” says Tri-yasakda. All it takes is for them to be standing on a corner, and the police officers come and try to frame them in one way or another. I’ve heard it many times.”
2017 年，Watsamon 前往新加坡参加当地的 LGBTQ 骄傲游行“粉红点”。那一年，新加坡政府宣布只有当地公民和当地居民可以参加这场游行，并在活动周围设置了路障。“很多外国人还是去了，虽然他们要站在路障之外。还有许多情侣沿着划分的界线站在一起，隔着路障互相拉着手。”和一些国家一样，新加坡也将男性之间的性行为视为非法。虽然自 1999 年以来，这条臭名昭著的刑事法典第 377A 条从未被执行过，但它仍然在整个社会中传达出一种不平等的信息。
缅甸在 2019 年首次举行了骄傲大游行，这个国家几乎没有任何平权法律，同性之间的性行为在当地属于犯罪。LGBTQ 群体仍然备受各种限制，也无法在社会上发声。警察更是经常针对当地的跨性别群体。Watsamon 说：“他们根本不需要做任何违法的事情。他们只要站在某个角落，警察就会走过去，试图以各种各样的方式陷害他们。这样的事情我听说过太多次了。”
The first time Tri-yasakda experienced strong opposition was in Seoul in 2018, when she stood face to face with a large group of anti-gay protesters. “They were handing out flyers and holding signs saying homosexuality is a sin, that a family is a straight couple and a baby,” she recalls. “But once the march started, we all forgot about them, and it was wonderful—we marched to the sound of K-pop.”
Watsamon 第一次经历过的激烈对峙是在 2018 年的首尔，当时她遇到了一大批反同性恋抗议者。她回忆说：“他们发放传单，举着标语，说同性恋是一种罪，声称只有异性恋夫妇和小孩才能组成家庭。但是，当游行开始后，我们就没有再在意这群人。那次的游行很棒，我们一边听着韩国流行音乐，一边游行。”
In 2019, Tri-yasakda also visited Chiang Mai, where the Pride festival resumed after a ten-year hiatus. In 2009, marchers were violently cornered by conservative groups, who forced them to get on their knees and promise not to organize any more events.
“People remembered the incident, of course, but their strength was renewed. Also, In Chiang Mai, I noticed the presence of a lot of young people. When you go to a lot of these events, you end up seeing the same faces. But in the last two years I’ve seen a lot of new and younger faces. University students, for instance, are really taking a stand. We also see growing support of non-LGBTQ people, family members, and the elderly.”
去年 Watsamon 还参加了清迈的游行。时隔十年后，当地于 2019 年再次举办骄傲游行活动。在2009 年，游行者曾遭到保守派团体的攻击，迫使他们跪下来，并承诺不再组织任何游行活动。
“人们肯定都还记得这件事，但是他们获得了新的力量。另外，在清迈的游行中，我看到了很多年轻人。如果你经常参加这类活动，你往往看到的都是同一批人。但是在过去的两年中，我看到了越来越多的新面孔和年轻面孔。例如，很多大学生摆明了自己的立场，也看到了有越来越多来自非 LGBTQ 人士、同志家人和老年人的支持。”
Asked if there’s anywhere in Asia that’s progressive in terms of LGBTQ rights, she hesitates. “Taiwan is off to a good start. But the truth is that getting married is just the first step. Other demands follow. Now Taiwanese activists want to include foreigners in the marriage law and to approve an adoption law.”
“We need to remember that, in Asia, it’s all about the government,” she says. “The conservatives are afraid of what comes next, and they see what they can’t control as a threat.”
当被问及亚洲哪些地方在 LGBTQ 权利方面取得进步时，她显得有些犹豫。“台湾现在算是有了好的开端，但婚姻合法化只是第一步。接下来还需要争取其他权利。现在，台湾的平权积极分子希望将外国人纳入婚姻法和推行收养法。”
In a conservative region that still has a long way to go for marriage equality, adoption of children, and the creation of anti-discrimination laws, Pride’s significance is clear. Despite the challenges, Tri-yasakda chooses to represent these events as what they’ve always intended to be: a diverse, colorful, loud, and above all defiant presence in the face of opposition. The road to equality is long, but people are marching.
Contributor: Tomás Pinheiro
Chinese Translation: Olivia Li