Today’s Doodle, illustrated by guest artist Dyin Li from Taiwan, honors Taiwanese filmmaker and activist Mickey Chen, who emphasized telling the stories of people from underrepresented groups. On this day in 1999, her documentary Boys for Beauty became the first Taiwanese film to feature LGBTQ characters.
Chen, who has always been fascinated by cameras, started making movies in college. Not Simply a Wedding Banquet (1997), a documentary about the first gay couple to have a public wedding in Taipei, was her directorial debut at the age of 30. It looked at the problems that the LGBTQ+ community had to deal with in Taiwan.
Boys for Beauty, an eye-opening expose about the lives of three Taipei teenagers who were gay, was published by Chen in 1999. The film demonstrated the societal pressures that each subject’s relatives faced and took a bold stand against gender norms. It was a significant achievement for Taiwanese cinema and a box office hit.
Boys for Beauty received numerous awards and placements at film festivals, including the Audience Award at the Taiwan International Documentary Festival in 2000. In her moving acceptance speech, Chen praised the LGBTQ+ movement and invited a number of directors to stand with her on stage.
Many more documentaries were written and directed by Chen, including Fragile in Love (2007), Memorandum on Happiness (2003), and Scars on Memory (2005). In 2011, she also published Taipei Father, New York Mother, a book about her childhood tragedies in her family. Chen was a trailblazer in Taiwan’s progressive LGBTQ+ societal views. Throughout her career, she documented significant events in the country’s LGBTQ+ history and opened people’s eyes to them.
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