LGBTQ Movement in Taiwan

Major Events:

  • On May 24, 2017, Taiwan’s Constitutional Court rules that the ban of same-sex marriage is unconstitutional

Background

  • General support for the LGBTQ community has increased a lot over the years
  • Taiwan has the potential to be the first country in Asia to legalize same sex marriage
  • Marriage equality is not just about marriage
  • Recently, 601 Taiwanese were surveyed and support for legalization was at 40%, oppose at 27%, and undecided at 32% (from the Taiwan Sentinel: https://sentinel.tw/attitudes-gay-taiwan/)
  • President Tsai shown support for marriage equality, but the nation is still divided
  • Taiwan wants to be seen as a beacon for human rights in Asia

Video: Taiwan takes step toward legalizing same-sex marriage

Video: Marriage equality is not just about marriage

Recent Events

taiwan-gay-pride-parade

The LGBTQ Pride Parade in Taipei

2015- LGBTQ Pride Parade

  • Up to 80,000 people attended it
  • Marches occurred from downtown Taipei to in front of Presidential office

Video: 2016 Taiwan LGBT Pride

2016- Jacques Picoux committed suicide

  • Jacques Picoux was a French professor at the National Taiwan University (NTU) who came to Taiwan in 1979
  • He had a large role with French directors in Taiwan, and even appeared in the movie The Assassin
  • He had a partner for over 35 years; however when his partner had to be hospitalized and was put on life support, he had no say in the decision
  • He couldn’t live life without him, his partner, so he jumped off a building and committed suicide
  • Marriage equality issues resurfaced as a result of this incident, along with the incoming of a new administration

Video: Death of Jacques Picoux (Mandarin)

How is the LGBTQ Community perceived in Taiwan?

Arguments for Support

  • Human rights
  • Family rights
  • Adoption
  • Property ownership
  • Inheritance

Arguments Against

  • Religious values
  • Traditional family values of Taiwan goes against this
  • No offspring produced- This is a large concern in Taiwan that Taiwan already has a very low birth rate
  • Influence of own children- People worry that this influence on children will encourage them to explore and change identities

Main politicians’ stances on the LGBTQ issue

Ma ying jeou LGBTQ

Ma Ying-Jeou at a LGBT civil rights movement event.

  • Ma Ying-Jeou- when he was mayor in 1999 he allocated USD $1 million for gay rights
    • He respected gay marriage, but did not push for legislation
  • 2002: President Chen Shui-bian invited gay rights activists, Gay Right activist Nan Hunter and Human Right Lawyer Michael Bronskito, to meet in the presidential office
  • 2003, Vice-President Annette Lu drafted a basic human rights law that included an article same-sex marriage and adoption rights for gay couples, but it wasn’t passed.
  • 2016- Current President Tsai Ing-Wen posted a video openly supporting gay marriage

Video: President Tsai Ing-Wen on Gay Marriage

Legislation in Taiwan regarding the LGBTQ Community

Three Bills have been proposed by Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights

family

  1. Marriage Equality Bill
    • Changes definition of marriage to not be limited to just one man and one woman
    • Changing of family law…word changes like
      • Husband and wife → Spouse
      • Father and Mother → Parents
      • Man and Woman → Both parties
    • It has been strongly opposed and strongly supported because of these definition changes
    • Currently going through second read and has been pushed the furthest in the legislative branch
  2. Same-Sex Partnership Bill
    • Discusses what a civil union between two individuals is
    • Sets up a special law for partnerships between two people regardless of gender or sexuality
    • It is also an anti-discriminatory law (regards inheritance, adoption, status, etc.)
    • A similar law was adopted in Germany in 2005
  3. Family Dependent Bill
    • Covers what family rights are given regarding to
      • Visitation rights
      • Consent forms
    • However it doesn’t cover inheritance or adoption
    • Two or more people can register as a family

Legal Proceedings in Taiwan regarding the LGBTQ Community

2004- Gender Equity Education Act

  • Enforced gender equality in schools
  • “To promote substantive gender equality, eliminate gender discrimination, uphold human dignity, and improve and establish education resources and environment of gender equality”
  • Taught about non-traditional gender identification and orientation, however this brought up the nature vs nurture argument for gender identification and orientation

2012June

  • Alliance for the Partners’ Rights proposes “Multiple family structure” bill
  • Contains all three drafts, but required legislator to propose to Legislative Yuan

2013- October

  • Marriage Equality bill passes first read and is then sent to Committee of Justice but nothing more happens until 2016 election

2016- November 8

  • Marriage Equality Bill passes with revision to proposal which proposes to allow rights of husband and wife to be applied to couples of same sex marriage

2016- December 26

  • Committee of Justice, Legislative Yuan reviewed and sent drafts to Legislative Yuan Committee for negotiations among political parties:
    • A revision of current Family Law
    • Proposal of adding one chapter on the same sex marriage to the current Family Law
    • A suggestion that any further or other proposals on the issue of same sex marriage be presented to the Legislative Yuan for discussion

2017- May 24

Where the current status stands on Legislation

  • Marriage Equality Act must pass Third Read in end of April or early May
    • After election of new Legislative Yuan members, unfinished processing has to start all over again if not passed by then
  • Revisions of the Family Law are undergoing a Constitution clarification by Grand Judges
  • President Tsai has engaged in talks from supporters and protesters of the Marriage Equality Act

Additional Reads here to learn more:

Taiwan could be first in Asia to back gay marriage

Taiwan’s push to legalise same-sex marriage – BBC News

A progressive history of gay rights in Taiwan

Attitudes Toward Homosexuality and Same-Sex Marriage in Taiwan: It’s More Complex than You Think

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