Asexuality and LGBTQ+ Activism in Taiwan 

Written by Daniel Yo-Ling. In 2021, the Taiwan Asexual Group conducted a Taiwan Asexual Community Survey to increase asexual visibility and provide a resource for aspec (an abbreviation for asexual/aromantic spectrum) people in Taiwan. The 2021 Taiwan Asexual Community Survey consisted of 70 questions covering basic demographics, gender identity, sexual and romantic orientation, sexual behaviour and attitudes, ideal living situation, and views on legal initiatives. It received a total of 397 valid responses, making it the largest dedicated dataset on Taiwan’s asexual community to date.  

Taiwanese Gay Bear Culture in a Grizzly Area of Taipei 

Written by Yu Dung Shiu. Once, I spoke with a man who looked like a bear; he was shocked that I called a man sitting about two meters away from a “bear.” That man was bigger than anyone else in the café and was eating a lot of food (a large size dinner box, two loaves of bread and a whole bunch of grapes) for his dinner. “I think you’re too naïve to recognise who is a bear and who is …it may be harsh but…a pig,” said the bear-man smoking with me. So, I asked him if he could teach me how to recognise who is a bear and who’s not.  

Sexual Minorities Excluded by other Sexual Minorities: Bisexuality in Taiwan

Written by Yen-Ting Kuo, Translated by George Bobyk. Just as most homosexual people do not take coming out to heterosexual people lightly, many bisexual people feel afraid to come out to either heterosexual or homosexual people for the above reasons. Today, due to the lack of “bisexual groups” in Taiwan, for many bisexual people, the only way to survive in gay circles and avoid stigma and discrimination is to hide their true identity and chose to identify as gay instead. 

Breaking Down the Wall: Generational Gaps, Generational Prejudice and HIV Treatment in Taiwan 

Written by Geng-Hui Lin. Compared to HIV risk, which is assessed through responses to a CDC survey, age is a relatively inflexible criterion for MSM’s who want to obtain PrEP through Taiwan’s PrEP program. There are ways to be categorised as an elevated risk for HIV infection depending on your answers to the CDC’s HIV risk assessment. As a result of these criteria, although some MSM’s over thirty-five have been enrolled in the program, access and availability remain mostly limited to those under this age. This leaves older MSM’s as outsiders to the program, unable to enter. 

Almost-Marriage Equality in Taiwan

Written by JhuCin Rita Jhang. There are major legal rights not covered by the Act for Implementation of J. Y. Interpretation No. 748. First, it does not allow same-sex couples to co-adopt a child unrelated to either parent by blood. Once a same-sex couple gets married, they lose the right to adopt whatsoever, and they would have to obtain a divorce to be able to adopt as a single person. Even if someone adopts first as a single and then gets married to a same-sex person, the spouse still cannot cross-adopt this child. This bizarre and counterintuitive legal conundrum sends many same-sex couples wishing to co-adopt on a long, winding legal fight. Even though one married same-sex couple had won the lawsuit and became the first-ever same-sex couple to co-adopt a genetically unrelated child in January 2022, this was ruled on a case-by-case basis.

Taiwan’s Covid-19 Surge: From “Zero-Covid” to “Living with Covid” 

Written by Tsung-Mei Cheng. Time will tell how quickly Taiwan can bring the Covid surge under control. However, the fundamentals that worked so well for Taiwan before the surge—preparedness (a national plan), universal health coverage, advanced IT and communications infrastructure, and a cooperating public—should continue to serve Taiwan well in the fight against the current surge. Moreover, it will hopefully also defend us against future variants of the Covid-19 coronavirus to come.  

Semiconductor Competition: Opportunities for Taiwan

Written by Adhiraaj Anand. The Biden administration has put aside billions of dollars to improve semiconductor manufacturing capabilities in the US, whose global output fell from 37% in 1990 to 12% in 2020. Additionally, the EU Chips Act, proposed in 2022, seeks to make Europe a leader in semiconductor technology and maintain a secure supply of chips by increasing the continent’s market share in the semiconductor industry to 20% by 2030. Japan has similarly unveiled a strategy to promote indigenous semiconductor manufacturing to achieve a 40% global market share in next-generation power semiconductors, which are to be used in emerging technologies such as electric vehicles, by the end of the decade.

A Storm in a Coffee Cup: Indigenous Coffee Production, Typhoon Marokat and the long way home.

Written by Chang Yu-Hsin, Translated by Sam Robbins. After the typhoon, indigenous communities moved into new villages constructed in the lowlands through government and non-profit organisations’ funds. The new village for the people of the Taiwu township was roughly 17 kilometres from their original home, and the journey between the two locations took about 40 minutes by motorbike. The number of resources needed to take care of and manage the coffee farms increased as transport and oil costs went up. Especially for community elders who needed to go up the mountains to take care of the coffee farms, the time and energy now required to make the journey was no small burden.

A plant out of water: Taiwanese greens in Thailand

Written by Angel Chao (趙于萱), translated by Sam Robbins. In supermarkets in Thailand, you can find Thai hydroponic vegetables labelled as ‘Taiwanese greens.’ Why? Because these plants are grown in Thailand by Taiwanese businesspeople who brought Taiwanese hydroponic technology to Thailand, using Taiwanese equipment to grow crops in Thailand.

Taiwan’s Transition from Zero-COVID to Living- with-COVID-Safely

Written by Chunhuei Chi. Taiwan’s repeated successes in controlling domestic outbreaks, including successfully controlling the new outbreak in May of 2021 by mid-July, ironically contributed to Taiwan’s challenge to move into the transitional phase. This success enabled Taiwanese residents to enjoy a normal life with a low tolerance for domestic outbreaks and caused a unique form of vaccine hesitancy, especially among the elderly. When there is little to no risk of infection, many people associate vaccination with risks and few potential benefits.

Let’s Stop Calling Taiwan a “Digital Democracy” (And Start Telling Better Digital Stories)

Written by Sam Robbins. This is what is at stake with how we tell digital stories: If we focus only on the tech itself and its impressive uses, we risk leaving most citizens feeling like they have no voice on the matter due to a lack of expertise. When we tell stories of civil society collaboration, of how governments are interacting with citizens, and of policies whose ramifications are much greater than the new data they create, we can start to create a space for greater public participation on these subjects.

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