They hope that their initiative to foster a gender-friendly environment on campus will make transgender and cross-dressing students feel more comfortable
The innovative initiative to encourage male students to wear skirts is organized by the Gender Studio group under the Taipei-based NTU Student Association.
Chang Ming-hsu, head of the student club, told Taiwan Today that traditional gender roles prescribed by society are dominated by patriarchal and heterosexual mindsets and dictate the way people dress and conduct themselves.
While it may be ok for women to wear men’s clothes the reverse is not particularly true. “We need to break free from such gender-specific biases, as they obstruct the diversification of Taiwan’s society,” the student leader said.
So ingrained are such norms that while some of his male friends support the idea, they hesitate to take part in the event for fear that their cross-dressing might attract unwanted attention, he said.
“That concern underscores an aim of the initiative—to experience the discrimination against people with non-traditional gender identities.”
The group hopes that their initiative will make transgender and cross-dressing students feel surrounded by supportive friends.
Chang said his Gender Studio students club is also working with several gay advocacy groups and student bodies to host a series of activities on and off NTU campus to break gender stereotypes. These include concerts, movie screenings, seminars and social gatherings, he said.
In Taiwan same-sex relations is legal, although the Taiwanese face a lot of the same roadblocks felt elsewhere in Asia largely because of a cultural prejudice in favor of binary genders and in promoting only the idea of a family as consisting of one father, one mother and their children being either boys or girls.