LGBT rights in Taiwan

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LGBT rights in Taiwan
Republic of China free area
Same-sex sexual activity legal? Legal
Gender identity/expression -
Military service -
Discrimination protections Sexual orientation protections (see below)
Family rights
Recognition of
relationships
No
Adoption -

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) rights in Taiwan have been regarded as some of the most progressive in East Asia and Asia in general. Both male and female same-sex sexual activity are legal, however, same-sex couples and houses headed by same-sex couples are not eligible for the legal protections available to opposite-sex couples. The executive branch in the Republic of China (Taiwan) government (Executive Yuan) proposed the legalization of same-sex marriage in 2003, however, the bill received opposition and was not voted on. Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in education and employment have been banned statewide since 2003 and 2007, respectively. The Taiwan Pride in 2012 was attended by more than 65,000 citizens, making it the largest LGBT event in Asia, which has led many to refer to Taiwan as one of the most liberal locations in Asia as well.

Law regarding same-sex sexual activity[edit]

Adult, private, non-commercial and consensual same-sex sexual activity is legal in Taiwan.

Constitutional rights[edit]

The Constitution does not expressly mention sexual orientation or gender identity.

Recognition of same-sex relationships[edit]

At the end of October 2003, the executive branch of the Republic of China (Taiwan) government (Executive Yuan) proposed legislation granting marriages and the right to adopt to same-sex couples under the Human Rights Basic Law; however it faced opposition among cabinet members and legislators and has been stalled since, and thus not voted on.[1][2] Currently the Republic of China does not have any form of same-sex unions. Should the law pass, the Republic of China would be the first country in Asia to permit same-sex marriage.

Discrimination protections[edit]

In 2007, the Republic of China legislature, the Legislative Yuan, passed legislation banning discrimination based on sexual orientation at work.[3] Discrimination against sexual orientation in education has been banned since 2003 through the Gender Equity Education Act. In March 2010, the Taiwanese Ministry of Education announced that, starting from 2011, school textbooks would include topics on LGBT human rights and non-discrimination. According to the Ministry, the reform seeks to "root out discrimination", since "students should be able to grow up happily in an environment of tolerance and respect"[4]

LGBT life in Taiwan[edit]

Taiwan Pride 2005

In the 1970s, some novels regarding homosexuality were published. One of the most prominent writers is Pai Hsien-yung, who introduced gay characters in his novels, the most famous being Crystal Boys. More recently, some gay TV series and movies have been produced and have gained great attention among gay communities in both Taiwan and China. Examples include the TV series Crystal Boys, adapted from Pai Hsien-yung's novel by the same title, and the movie Formula 17.

On 1 November 2003, Taiwan Pride, the first gay pride parade in the Chinese-speaking world, was held in Taipei, with over 1,000 people attending.[5] It has taken place annually since then, but still, many participants wear masks to hide their identity because homosexuality remains a social taboo in Taiwan. However, the 2010 parade attracted 30,000 attendees and increasing media and political attention, highlighting the growing rate of acceptance in Taiwan. Since 2010, there has also been a pride parade in Kaohsiung, which attracted over 2,000 people.[6]

In 2003 Taiwan's cabinet drafted a bill to legalize same-sex marriage and allow same-sex couples to adopt children, but the law was not enacted. A new bill legalizing same-sex marriage was drafted in 2012 by gay rights groups, but has also not been enacted. Same-sex marriage is not legally recognized in Taiwan.[7]

In the years 2004 to 2005, the Taiwanese director Ang Lee directed the gay Western film Brokeback Mountain, receiving high critical acclaim and academy awards.

"Spider Lilies," a lesbian film directed by Zero Chou, was screened at the 2007 Berlin International Film Festival. It won the Teddy Award for best gay feature film.

In 2011, aiming to create awareness about same-sex marriage, about 80 lesbian couples held Taiwan's biggest same-sex wedding party, attracting about 1,000 friends, relatives and curious onlookers.[8]

In 2012, Taiwan's first same-sex Buddhist wedding was held for Fish Huang and her partner You Ya-ting, with Buddhist master Shih Chao-hui presiding over the ritual.[9][10]

Earlier on, Chen Ching-hsueh and Kao Chih-Wei, the second Taiwanese gay couple to publicly get married, dropped the prolonged fight to have their marriage legally recognized.[11][12]

In August 2013, the Taiwanese government gave the nod to the country's first public same-sex transgender marriage, after initially questioning the couple's gender.[13]

Lifelong activist Qi Jia-wei picked up Chen and Kao's fight for same-sex marriage, presenting his case in the Taipei High Administrative Court for the first time in October. He cited unnamed intelligence sources to accuse Washington, Beijing and the Vatican of standing in the way.[14]

2004 sex party arrests[edit]

On 17 January 2004, Taipei's police raided and arrested 93 gay men at a private orgy party, amidst allegations that they were using drugs. Many people in Taiwan were shocked by reports which revealed that nearly one-third of the attendees were HIV positive. These arrests received severe condemnation from the local gay community. This event is now known as the "HOMEPA" (Home Party) by the Taiwanese gay community.

Public opinion[edit]

A poll of 6,439 adults released in April 2006 by the National Union of Taiwan Women's Association/Constitutional Reform Alliance concluded that 75% believe homosexual relations are acceptable, while 25% thought they were unacceptable.[15]

A 2013 poll showed that 53% of Taiwanese support same-sex marriage. According to the poll 76% are in favour of equal rights for gay and lesbians.[16]

Living conditions[edit]

Same-sex sexual activity legal Yes
Equal age of consent No
Anti-discrimination laws in employment Yes
Anti-discrimination laws in the provision of goods and services Yes
Anti-discrimination laws in all other areas (incl. indirect discrimination, hate speech) Yes
Same-sex marriage(s) No
Recognition of same-sex couples No
Adoption by same-sex couples No
Gay people allowed to serve in the military Yes
Right to change legal gender Yes
Access to IVF for lesbians No
MSMs allowed to donate blood No

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]