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If there’s anything worse than supporting and contributing to anti-LGBTQ causes, it’d be attempting to obfuscate those actions by putting on a face of support for the world’s queer community. LGBTQ people and our allies deserve the ability to support only those companies and corporations that support us back. Which is why a recent story by a Hong Kong-based media outlet sent shockwaves throughout much of Asia: Cher Wang, founder and the CEO of Taiwan-based smartphone and mobile accessories manufacturer HTC, has been supporting anti-LGBTQ causes through two nonprofit organizations. And this despite a face of “LGBTQ support” by HTC’s American branch, which openly celebrated marriage equality when it came to the United States.
It turns out that two nonprofit organizations — “VIA Technologies Faith Hope and Love Foundation” and “Chinese Faith, Hope and Love Foundation,” referred to collectively as “Two Organizations” — have worked in conjunction with the rabidly anti-gay U.S.-based International House of Prayer for the past five years.
The International House of Prayer (IHOP) is a Kansas City, Missouri-based Christian organization that believes in “24/7 prayer” and advocates fasting and “spiritually preparing for the unique dynamics of the end times.” As an evangelical organization, IHOP sends missionaries out into the world to “heal the sick” and “proclaim the return of Jesus across the earth.”
Naturally, IHOP is staunchly opposed to marriage equality and LGBTQ civil rights. The 2013 documentary God Loves Uganda examined the infiltration of American evangelical groups — including IHOP — into the African nation, which ultimately led to Ugandan President Museveni signing what became known as the “Kill the Gays” bill in 2014.
Two Organizations has reportedly brought IHOP and its anti-gay agenda to the island nation of Taiwan every year for the past five years, says Apple Daily’s report. This is more troubling than ever following the results last weekend of Taiwan’s referendum on LGBTQ rights.
Following the disappointing outcome of Taiwan’s public referendum, which saw a majority of voters reject the notion of marriage equality and the injecting of LGBTQ issues into public education, many have pointed out that anti-gay marriage campaigns leading up to the public vote were dominated by U.S.-based Christian organizations.
While local Taiwan organizations like “Happiness for the Next Generation Alliance” have largely been the ‘face’ of the island’s anti-LGBTQ push, America-based evangelical groups including IHOP, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and others have been far from secretive about their dedication to seeing that gay marriage doesn’t come to Taiwan.
And HTC CEO Cher Wang, long one of Taiwan’s richest women, has helped them do just that.
Cher Wang has been open in the past about being a “born-again Christian,” telling The New York Times 10 years ago that her faith and belief in Jesus Christ is the motivation behind her work with HTC.
It was only three years ago, following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges that saw marriage equality take effect nationwide, that the HTC USA verified Twitter account came out in support of the ruling. “Love a life that makes you proud,” read the tweet, paired with an image of six phone cases in a rainbow pattern.
As of yet, Cher Wang and HTC have not commented on claims that through her nonprofit organizations she helped bankroll the litany of anti-LGBTQ sentiment and propaganda which littered Taiwan ahead of last weekend’s referendum vote. But that does indeed appear to be the case.
Only time will tell how the revelation will affect HTC, a company that over the years has seen drastic sales drops and layoffs.
And as for the attempt by Cher Wang and several U.S. and Taiwan-based Christian organizations to prevent gay marriage from coming to Taiwan, they’re most likely going to be disappointed. Taiwan’s Judicial Yuan Secretary-General Lu Tai-lang commented today that the nation’s path to gay marriage is “unchanged” by the referendum results. Taiwan’s Constitutional Court last year demanded that the legislature enact marriage equality, and if it does not do so by 2019, gay marriage will automatically become the law of the land.
What are your thoughts on HTC CEO Cher Wang bankrolling anti-gay sentiment in Taiwan?
Featured image via Michael Nagle / Bloomberg via Getty Images