LGBT rights in Taiwan (ROC)

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LGBT rights in Taiwan (ROC)
Taiwan (ROC) free area
Same-sex sexual activity legal? Legal
Gender identity/expression -
Military service Yes
Discrimination protections Sexual orientation protections (see below)
Family rights
Recognition of
Adoption -

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) rights in Taiwan (Republic of China) 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 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 the Republic of China 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 (ROC).

Constitutional rights[edit]

The Constitution of the Republic of China 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 (Taiwan (ROC)) 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 Taiwan does not have any form of same-sex unions.

On 22 December 2014, a proposed amendment to the Civil Code which would legalize same-sex marriage was due to go under review by the Judiciary Committee. If the amendment passes the committee stage it will then be voted on at the plenary session of the Legislative Yuan in 2015. The amendment, called the marriage equality amendment, would insert neutral terms into the Civil Code replacing ones that imply heterosexual marriage, effectively legalizing same-sex marriage. It would also allow same-sex couples to adopt children. Yu Mei-nu of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), who is the convener of the current legislative session, has expressed support for the amendment as have more than 20 other DPP lawmakers as well as two from the Taiwan Solidarity Union and one each from the Kuomintang and the People First Party.[3] Taiwan (ROC) would become the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage if the Civil Code is amended.

In May 2015, the city of Kaohsiung announced a plan to allow same-sex couples to mark their partners in civil documents at the city level for reference purposes, although it would not be applicable to the healthcare sector; Taiwan LGBT Rights Advocacy, an NGO, criticized the plan as merely a measure to "make fun of" the community without having any substantive effect.[4][5]

On 17 June 2015, the city of Taipei is the second city of Taiwan to open registration for gay couples.[6]

Discrimination protections[edit]

In 2007, the legislature of Taiwan (ROC), the Legislative Yuan, passed legislation banning discrimination based on sexual orientation at work.[7] Discrimination against sexual orientation in education has been banned since 2003 through the Gender Equity Education Act. In March 2010, the Ministry of Education of the Republic of China (Taiwan) 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"[8]

LGBT life in Taiwan (ROC)[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 City, with over 1,000 people attending.[9] 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 (ROC). However, the 2010 parade attracted 30,000 attendees and increasing media and political attention, highlighting the growing rate of acceptance in Taiwan (ROC). Since 2010, there has also been a pride parade in Kaohsiung, which attracted over 2,000 people.[10]

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 (ROC).[11]

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.[12]

In 2012, the 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.[13][14]

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.[15][16]

In August 2013, the Taiwan government gave the nod to the country's first public same-sex transgender marriage, after initially questioning the couple's gender.[17]

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.[18]

2004 sex party arrests[edit]

On 17 January 2004, Taipei's police raided and arrested 93 gay men at a private orgy, amidst allegations that they were using drugs. Many Taiwanese 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.[19]

A 2013 poll showed that 53% of Taiwanese support same-sex marriage. According to the poll 76% are in favor of equal rights for gay and lesbians.[20]

Summary table[edit]

Same-sex sexual activity legal Yes
Equal age of consent Yes
Anti-discrimination laws in employment Yes (Since 2003)
Anti-discrimination laws in the provision of goods and services No
Anti-discrimination laws in all other areas (incl. indirect discrimination, hate speech) No
Same-sex marriage(s) No (Pending)
Recognition of same-sex couples No (Proposed)
Adoption by same-sex couples No (Pending)
Gay people allowed to serve in the military Yes (Since 2002)
Right to change legal gender Yes
Access to IVF for lesbians No
MSMs allowed to donate blood No

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hogg, Chris (28 October 2003). "BBC News". BBC News. Retrieved 20 January 2011. 
  2. ^ Look Who's Talking! (3 Dec) (28 October 2003). "taiwan moves to recognise gay marriages". Retrieved 20 January 2011. 
  3. ^ Lii Wen (2014-12-21). "Gay marriage proposal set for review". Taipei Times. Retrieved 2014-12-21. 
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ [2]
  6. ^ Taipei opens registration for gay couples
  7. ^ "The China Post 5 May 2007". 5 May 2007. Retrieved 20 January 2011. 
  8. ^ School textbooks to introduce gay topics from 2011: Taiwan's Ministry of Education, Fridae, 8 March 2010
  9. ^ "'We are homosecxuals! We love you!'". Teipei Times. 2 November 2003. Retrieved 20 January 2011. 
  10. ^ Gay pride parade set for Kaohsiung
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^ (05/18/06) (15 April 2006). "Angus Reid Global Monitor, 18 May 2006". Retrieved 20 January 2011. 
  20. ^ [3]

External links[edit]