Written by Remaljiz Mavaliv. Translated by Yi-Yu Lai. Taiwan is a beautiful country with diverse cultures, the Indigenous peoples of which are often viewed as significant worldwide highlights. Currently, sixteenth Indigenous groups are officially recognised in Taiwan. However, this does not protect them from discrimination and unfair resource distribution. After successive colonial regimes arrived in Taiwan one after another, colonialism and imperialism profoundly influenced the Indigenous population, and the political repercussions have persisted to the present day.
Written by Poyao Huang. Almost parallel to the development of Taiwan’s LGBTQ+ history is a chapter on gay men’s lived experiences with drugs—a taboo chapter that many tend to ignore. In Taiwan, it is reported that young drug users are the most vulnerable population affected by HIV/AIDS and drug abuse as we see increasing numbers of young people getting involved with drugs and HIV. Drug use among bisexual and gay men is often understood in the illegal vs recreational debate. In other circumstances, the issue of drug use is associated with health concerns (HIV/AIDS or other sexually transmitted diseases), thus becoming a moral threat to social well-being.
Written by Yu-Chuan “Daniel” Lin. Although PrEP medication solves the HIV epidemic, research has found an inadequate number of MSM receiving it. For example, a 2015 U.S. CDC report has indicated that at least one of four gay men should be taking PrEP daily to effectively avoid more extensive HIV transmission, requiring the participation of roughly 1,200,000 MSM nationwide. However, its data showed that no more than 50,000 MSM are doing so, which translates into a poor execution rate (around 3%) of the government’s PrEP project designated to combat the HIV epidemic.
Written by Ting-Fai Yu. Unquestionably, the global visibilities of Taiwan’s recent human rights achievements, such as the legalisation of same-sex marriage in 2019, must have contributed to the voting members’ confidence in having WorldPride held there. However, while Taiwan’s LGBT development has served as an exemplar to which many non-Western countries, especially those in Asia, aspire, it is essential to note that progressive legal changes are not necessarily representative of how queerness is lived culturally.
Written by Elliott Y.N. Cheung. “Queerness is that thing that lets us feel that this world is not enough, that indeed something is missing,” says José Esteban Muñoz. So, if these resisting narratives defy the regulation of an all-encompassing narrative and seek to entice viewers to recognise what is not yet there — might we call them queer? Moreover, if a country that not only enables such views but can actively and constructively engage with them, struggling to hold them in all their difference — might we also call it queer?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.