A young girl explores her gender identity, with a close-up look at her internal struggles and a realistic view of the tradition and social context she lives in. Published just as Taiwan became the first country in Asia to legalize gay marriage, this is a timely read.
The flowers of the legendary Hundred Flowers Bridge represent children soon to be born: white flowers for boys, red flowers for girls. Lady Linshui, who looks over the bridge, can decide whether a boy or a girl will be born – but if you wish for boys, there is a Daoist ritual that will ensure your wish is granted.
Grown-ups have always told Yu-Fan that a girl should act like a girl: learn the piano; be quiet and dignified rather than noisy and rough; and wear skirts. Under pressure from her mother and grandmother, Yu-Fan has no choice but to hide who she really is and dress up as the girl they want her to be.
One day, she learns her mother carried out that Daoist ritual while she was pregnant, in order to ensure a boy. And as she reaches puberty, she realizes she is not developing in the same way as the other girls and becomes even more confused. Then a cousin she has always looked up to invites her to an LGBT event, helps her learn about herself, and takes her to a gay wedding. Things start to become clearer for Yu-Fan.
This graphic novel was published shortly before Taiwan legalized gay marriage. It takes a close look at the main character’s exploration of her gender as she grows, and the family traditions and religious beliefs that stand in her way. It is an accurate reflection of progress in gender issues in Taiwan.