Written by Phan Van Tim. It has been nearly three years since the Legislative Yuan passed the same-sex marriage bill in 2019, making Taiwan the first and only nation to do so in Asia. So far, over 5,000 same-sex couples have registered for marriage in Taiwan, fulfiling their love of being protected by law. At the same time, the public’s view on the LGBTQ+ community has rapidly changed, with more than 60% of people expressing support for same-sex marriage, compared with the percentage of only 37.4 before same-sex marriage legalization.
Written by Daniel Yo-Ling. The historic ruling in favour of plaintiff Xiao E found existing legal gender change regulations to be unconstitutional. Assuming that this ruling does not get appealed, Xiao E will be able to change her legal gender and become Taiwan’s first transgender woman to do so without submitting proof of surgery. TAPCPR’s press conference featured commentary on the decision from representatives of the Taiwan Adolescent Association on Sexualities, Taiwan Tongzhi Hotline Association, Taiwan Non-binary Queer Sluts, and Taiwan Gender Equity Education Association, as well as a written statement from Xiao E herself and comments by other transgender community members.
Written Caterina Di Via. In 2018, the Gender Equality Committee, a branch of the Taiwanese government, announced that there would be a third gender option for identification alongside the planned new electronic identity documents (such as eID cards, passports and other national identification documents) in late 2020. While males and females are categorised as ‘1’ and ‘2,’ the third gender option would be represented by the number ‘7’.
Written by Yi Wang. Significant progress and landmark rulings in advancing LGBTQ+ rights have been made across Asia in recent years, though many challenges and obstacles remain. Asians are among the fastest-growing ethnic groups in the UK, but Asian LGBTQ+ communities are not widely represented. Film reflects society and a medium capable of raising awareness amongst audiences in a direct and accessible way. Queer representation in the media is strongly linked to the wider public’s views on LGBTQ+ communities. I founded Queer East to amplify the voices of under-represented queer Asian and diasporic communities.
Written by Yu-lien Cheng. 2019, Taiwan became the first country in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage. However, the long process of fighting for marriage equality was not without objections inside the LGBTQ+ social movement. In the 2014 Taiwan Nine-in-One Election, there was a new party called “Poor Queer Political Equality Party” (貧窮同志參政團， PQPEP ) whose main goal is improving the life quality of precarious gay people. The appearance of PQPEP highlighted a paradox: there were already many precarious gay people searching for help, but in the past twenty years, there has been hardly any LGBTQ+ NGO in Taiwan that stated “class” or “precarity” as its main focus.
Written by Yen-hsin Alice Cheng. While family and social values are gradually becoming more liberal, more substantial changes in socially acceptable behaviours require more time. Hence, in addition to policies promoting childbearing, the Taiwanese Government should also consider how to sustain or improve citizens well-being, regardless of their union status, in an ultra-low fertility context. Research on the obstacles to fertility in East Asia mostly studied the married population, yet obstacles to marriage among the single population are perhaps equally important in this region.
Written by Hsin-Chi Lee. In the 2020 Taiwanese presidential election held in January, Taiwan’s first female president Tsai Ing-wen won her second term. At the same time female representation reached a record high- 42% of legislators are now women, which is top rate in Asia.
Written by Brian Hioe. The bill to legalize gay marriage cleared its third reading on May 17th, 2019, with gay marriage becoming legal on May 24th. However, there were some gaps in the scope of the bill. If a Taiwanese person wishes to marry a foreigner of the same sex, that foreigner must be from a country that has also legalized gay marriage. Likewise, foreign same-sex couples are not able to get married in Taiwan if one of them is from a country that has not legalized gay marriage. To this extent, same-sex couples who both come from countries that have not legalized gay marriage cannot get married in Taiwan.
Written by Timothy Rich, Isabel Eliassen, Andi Dahmer and Carolyn Brueggemann. We ask to what extent has the public’s view on same-sex marriage changed in recent years and to what extent this influenced the 2020 election? The 2018 local elections clearly indicated a shift in the political saliency of the issue of same-sex marriage legislation over the past several years, while Tsai’s re-election with a continued Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) legislative majority would suggest that opposition to the issue has declined in salience.
Written by Jens Damm. I argue that Taiwanese society’s movement towards the acceptance of human rights as global values, multiculturalism, the rights of individuals etc. is intrinsically linked to the development of a Taiwanese identity (based what Habermas called a Verfassungspatriotismus) as used to assert Taiwan’s international status. Taiwanese LGBTQ rights could thus act as a signifier of Taiwan’s democratisation with the aim of achieving soft power and opposing any form of a ‘one China policy’.
Written by Ibtisam Ahmed. Pride season in 2019 has brought some extraordinary victories for the global LGBTQ+ community. Bhutan is on the cusp of decriminalising homosexuality after an overwhelming vote in the lower house repealed its anti-sodomy law. The judiciary in Botswana has overturned a colonial-era penal code clause that criminalised homosexuality, continuing the recent trend of queer liberation through decolonisation. Ecuador has become the latest South American country to recognise same-sex marriage.
Written by Hongwei Bao. The celebration of marriage equality in Taiwan serves as a true inspiration for LGBTQ communities in other parts of Asia. What can we learn from the Taiwan experience? Quite a lot, actually, and I wish to highlight the following aspects…