Taipei (Taiwan News)—When HSBC Taiwan employee Jennifer Chang's (張怡貞) parents refused to attend her wedding with lesbian partner of 11-years, the CEO of the company John Li (李鐘培) volunteered to walk her down the wedding aisle instead.
I am so grateful Li agreed to help," said Chang. "I didn't even think I would ever have a wedding.”
Jennifer Chang and Sam Chiu exchanging wedding rings at their wedding. (Photo courtesy of wedding photographer Phi Edward)
The 32-year-old Chang and her partner Sam Chiu (邱于珊) met in 2005, but kept their relationship secret till last year.
The couple coincidentally are born on the same date and year, and even share the same blood type.
"Before we came out we were always afraid, we were hesitant to talk about it because we were worried people might make fun of us,” Chang explained in a YouTube video released by HSBC.
Encouraged by a client, Chang and Chiu decided to come out of the closet last year, in which her colleagues were very accepting of her sexual orientation, but her family remained unsupportive.
"I remember whenever my dad saw Sam, he would kick her out of the house,” said Chang.
Chang's family strongly opposed the relationship to the point that they flatly refused to attend their wedding last November.
Jennifer Chang getting ready for her big wedding day in November 2016. (Screenshot from HSBC Now Youtube Video)
Being a good daughter, Chang tried to appease to her parents in the past by dating men, and even tried to arrange a fake marriage for the sake of her father.
The good news is her parents have softened their attitude towards Chiu recently, and are gradually becoming more accepting of their relationship, Chang told Apple Daily reporters.
“We hope our story can encourage others in a similar situation,” said Chang.
It is very moving to see managers at work support gay marriages, but older generations still need to be educated on gender equality, said Peng Chih-liu (彭治鏐), the secretary-general of Taiwan Tonzhi Hotline Association, a non-profit LGBT rights advocate group.
Taiwan has still not officially legalized same-sex marriage, so the couple's wedding status cannot be registered on their IDs.