Friday, June 26, 2015

My Opinion: Gay or Straight Singles or Married Couples Need a Living Wage

     Though the Supreme Court of the US made gay marriage legal nationally, I have no reason to celebrate. Until the Supreme Court passes a universal living wage ruling, couples everywhere will struggle to pay their bills and economic strains will corrupt marriages and fall on the children or lack thereof because of in-affordability.  I sent these two posts to Discrimination in Taiwan Facebook postings on the ruling:
There are only two kinds of people in this world: those who work and those who are bosses. If the tool is broken, the boss throws it out and finds another one, doesn't matter what color it is or its sexual preference. A living wage is the most important issue. If everyone had a living wage there would be no need to get married to piggyback someone who'll pay rent or health care costs. If everyone had a living wage, more couples would be able to start families, have and raise children. This is the most important issue for workers; you can't have sexual freedom if you're a wage slave.

     What follows is the short story “Two Men with Two Taiwanese Children” from my book Forgotten People of Taiwan.

Two Men with Two Taiwanese Children

The monitor on the back of the Airbus was on. Every passenger had one; three on the left section, four in the center, and three on the right. This screen was on the back rest of a seat in front of a young Asian girl on her way back to Taiwan from America. The twelve-year-old girl sat in the middle section on the aisle, next to a ten-year-old Asian girl and two white-haired Caucasian men to their left. The four were together.

Her screen showed a cartoon airplane atop an upward sloping line halfway between New York and Inchon Airport in South Korea. The flight was half way there. They'd been flying for five of thirteen hours, the first leg of their journey to Taiwan. The tail of the plane inched closer to the true distance than the nose which dipped slightly. It was seven hours until they land in South Korea.

The two white haired men were their adopted parents, now in their sixties. The men had known each other since they were sailors in Phnom Pen, Vietnam. They were twenty-two in 1969.They were fighting together without any female companions, until they hit Beitou, Taiwan.

Taipei’s history of licensed prostitution dates back to the Japanese colonial era. The trade grew after the arrival of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) government and its soldiers, and it flourished during the Vietnam War when US troops flocked to Taipei for rest and relaxation. The men regretted their wild military days. Perhaps adopting these children was their way of easing their conscience.

      The young girls were Taiwanese orphans. They don’t know their parents are gay. They don’t know their parents are old Americans or why they came to Taiwan to adopt them. They didn’t hear the passengers behind them talking about them.

“Don't be ridiculous. Men make just as good parents as women. My son-in-law takes his daughter away on holidays by himself. They both love it. Stupid girl.”
     “What has it got to do with you anyway? They are not hurting anyone and I would rather have two dads than live in an orphanage. You are not suggesting gays are pedophiles are you because the statistics do not back you up. Far more are straight pro rata, so think again and get rid of these nasty bigoted opinions you have and if you can't.”
     “Be quiet and mind your own business.”

     “Most ridiculous thing I ever heard MEN ARE NOT BORN TO BE PARENTS!!!! So how do women get pregnant then?” 
 The church in Taiwan wouldn’t help them adopt. Actually, there are non-Evangelical adoption programs in Taiwan. One of the most well-known Taiwanese social welfare organizations, for example, is Roman Catholic. And it has been possible to adopt from Taiwan, even for non-Christians.
     The problem with Taiwan is that it is a very small country, so the number of children available for adoption is small. And when China's program became more restrictive and the wait times started to get longer, a few years ago, a lot of people in line to adopt from the mainland switched to Taiwan, which also had children of Chinese heritage, but which had shorter waits and fewer restrictions. Right now, there are far more people wanting to adopt from Taiwan than there are children available, so many American agencies aren't even taking new applicants; they don't want to see wait times for referral lengthen to the point where they resemble China's.

 The United States does not have formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan, so all consular functions are handled by the nonprofit American Institute in Taiwan (AIT). Children are cared for in orphanages; however, not all children in orphanages are adoptable. Some are placed there temporarily when their relatives are unable to care for them. Taiwan has detailed laws concerning adoption between blood relatives, and adoption in certain relationships is not allowed.

2012 Adoptions: 177 children
Hague Accredited: No
Estimated Total Cost: $20,000 to $35,000
Profile of Children: 43% are under one year old. 35% are between one and four years old. 60% are boys (2011).
Parent Ages: Adoptive parents must be at least 20 years older than the adoptive child. For married couples, one spouse must be at least 20 years older, and the other must be at least 16 years older than the child.
Family Status: Married couples must adopt jointly. Single parents may adopt. Taiwan does not specifically prohibit adoption by gay and lesbian parents, but same-sex marriages are not recognized.
Travel: Parents should plan to travel to Taiwan for at least a week.
Timeline: Generally one to three years. Waits are shorter for older or special needs children.
     These two men love these children. The children were raised in California. This was their first trip back to Taiwan since their adoption nine years ago. The girls are fluent in English and they’ve been learning Taiwanese in an after-school program in Irvine.
     On the map on the screen of one white-haired man, the plane looks to be near the North Pole, near the Northwest Passage, the route the same U.S. navy claims can be a boom for international commerce. These children’s fathers believe the global warming is a meltdown of civilization. They worry about their children’s future.
     The two men are in their sixties. They are the solution to the problem No one can say they are up to no good, even if they are, in the context of American imperialism. The blame has no beginning or end. They are not guilty if they are missionaries or homosexuals.
     The children may be Jewish or Buddhist; it doesn’t matter. And it doesn’t matter if their fathers were lonely old gay sailors who met at an orgy in Beitou, Taiwan in 1969. They have been saved from a life of neglect by these wonderful men. Look how happy they are. It’s probably their first trip on an airplane, aside from the one that brought them from Taiwan to California in 2002.
There are plenty of straight couples in marriages without children. They are not parents of any kind, unless you consider pet owners parents Feel love for the gay or straight couple raising children.

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