In Taiwan today, gay travelers don’t have to go to gay-specific spots to meet cute guys or restrict themselves to cities in order to travel openly with their partners. The whole island has become accessible in ways unimaginable just a couple of years ago. We now benefit from the work of a new wave of gay entrepreneurs and one of the most progressive and successful LGBTQ movements in Asia.
These developments come in line with a recent Taiwanese trend to value community, nature, and creativity over name brands and industrial expansion. A new generation of young people is embarking on quests to find personal fulfillment, to the chagrin of traditional parents who don’t understand why their sons and daughters would quit solid 9-5 desk jobs to open coffee shops.
Living in Taipei this past year, I found dozens of quirky and personalized small businesses all over the capital city, thriving in rundown cement houses from the 1950s. Peg Coffee is decorated solely with pirate manga action figures, while the world’s first Barbie Café, opened this past January, is decorated only in pink. At Noise Kitchen the tables you eat on are also xylophones, while at Puzzle Café the mahogany tables you drink tea on are designed to fit 1,000-plus-piece puzzles.