Taiwanese singer Lara Liang Veronin, known simply as Lara to many of her fans, has been using her voice and platform to take a stand for LGBTI rights in Taiwan.
In an interview with A Day Magazine she said: ‘I kind of believe that gender is an outdated label. We’ve broken through what it means to be a “man” or a “woman” in so many aspects such as the jobs we hold and the clothing we wear. Why should who we choose to date, marry, or start a family with be any different?’
Taiwan has been one of the most progressive countries in Asia when it comes to LGBTI rights, however there are still those who think that being LGBTI disrupts the ‘normal’ family structure. To this Lara said: ‘I believe that the most important thing in a home is that it has love. Just because your family doesn’t follow the traditional nuclear structure of a male father, female mother, and biological offspring doesn’t mean that it can’t be a home filled with love. Family means a place where you are loved, taught, and supported. It’s that simple.’
Last year Lara released the music video Dida (which can be seen below). In the video she is portrayed in a romantic relationship with a woman. ‘This was my sister Esther’s idea,’ she told Gay Star News. ‘If I’m being really honest, I did have to think about it. As far as I know, I’m pretty “straight”, so I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to convincingly portray one half of a lesbian couple. I’ve also always had this fear that because I am straight, I don’t want to seem like I’m exploiting the gay rights movement by inaccurately representing or worse falsely sympathizing with what it means to be gay in this day and age.
‘The more I thought about it, I realized that it was a great opportunity because sadly many gay celebrities and artists still carry the fear that coming out will affect their career in a less than positive way, and when monetary income is involved, reluctance to take that risk is understandable.’
‘It is actually left up to the straight members of our community to educate our audiences about what it means to be gay and what we can do to help with inequality.’
‘I think society has made progress in that same-sex relationships are much more accepted than before, but we still have work to do. Many people can say “I am friends with a gay couple” but it can be still viewed as an experimental phase where a woman can say “I’ve tried dating women before” but still “go back to men” when confronted with issues of marriage and motherhood. This is the issue Dida hopes to address.’
‘If having a same-sex family were to become truly and widely accepted by society, why would you have to give up a partner you truly love simply because it conflicts with your desire to start a family?’
The video was also used as theme song to the Women Make Waves Film Festival where Lara and Esther served as ambassadors.
Lara recently appeared and set off the Run For Love run in Taipei. In an interview with GSN she said: ‘Rainbow runs sound a lot more magical and motivating to get up for, and the clothing, accessories and decorations are also so much more colorful.’
‘My first run was last year and as I decided to walk around interviewing people, I was pleasantly surprised that many of the people there were straight. My favorite part was when a mother told me that she’d brought her children to educate them and support LGBTI equality, although she didn’t specify whether her children might be gay, but I don’t think that was even the point. It’s just fantastic that you can go to this awesome event that is good for your health mentally and physically and come away with even more awareness and connection to everyone in your community.
Apart from the runs, the songs and appearances Lara and Esther have also been involved with Taipei Pride, LEZS Magazine’s 10th Anniversary Party, and their media company Meimeiwawa sponsored and hosted the Mr. Gay World Taiwan event in 2015.
On their Facebook page the sisters create video diaries and film regular shoutouts for LGBTI platforms.