Country Details: Gay Rights and Culture in Taiwan

Taiwan LGBT Rights:

Homosexual Acts Legal? Yes

Same-sex Relationships Recognized? No

Same-sex Marriages Allowed? No
In 2003 legislation was proposed by the government to grant civil unions or same-sex marriage under the Human Rights Basic law, however it was  opposed by cabinet members and did not succeed – yet, Taiwan did become the first country in Asia to suggest such a law.

Same-sex Adoption Allowed? No
◊  The same proposed 2003 Human Rights Basic law would have also allowed for adoption.

Can Gays Serve Openly in the Military? Yes
◊   There is no policy screening out homosexuals.

Anti-discrimination Laws?  Some
Gender Equity Education Act ( 2003) = Establishes education resources to help eliminate gender discrimination, and promotes gender equality. ◊ Employment Services Act (2007) = Bans discrimination based on sexual orientation at work.

Laws Concerning Gender Identity? Some
◊  As of 2007, female-to-male transgenders cannot get an ID card that identifies them as male unless they have undergone all three parts of gender reassignment surgery.  This law was protested against by the transgender group Taiwan TG Butterfly Garden (chinese only site)

Cultural Points of Interest:

  • While many Asian countries have conservative attitudes toward homosexuality, a 2006 survey by the National Union of Taiwan Women’s Association /Constitutional Reform Alliance showed that 75% of the Taiwanese public supported same-sex relationships.
  • One of Taiwan’s first gay-themed novels became a public TV mini-series (link).  The novel, Crystal Boys, told the story of gay runaway youths living in Taipei during the early 1970s.  The 2009 Pride parade marched by the 228 Memorial Park, featured in both the novel and mini-series as a main meeting place for Taipei’s gay community.
  • The second film by award winning director Ang Lee, a native of Taiwan, was “Xi Yan” aka “The Wedding Banquet” (1993).  The film tells the story of a gay Taiwanese man living in New York who decides to marry an illegal immigrant from China in order to satisfy his parents.  Problems arise when his parents show up in the US to arrange an extravagant wedding celebration.  The film won several awards, and received nominations for the Golden Globe and Oscar awards.

Websites:

GlobalGayz is a gay-owned travel, news and culture website focused on les-bi-gay-trans life in countries around the world.  It provides gay travel, life, cultural information, and news, on various countries, including Taiwan. http://www.globalgayz.com/country/Taiwan/TWN

Taiwan Tongzhi Hotline Association = This group was the first registered national LGBT organization in Taiwan. With ideas of peer counseling, support network and community center, Hotline works to eliminate discrimination and unjust treatment towards the LGBT community. http://www.hotline.org.tw/

Out in Taiwan = This is a comprehensive and uncensored gay resource for English speakers in Taiwan. http://www.outintaiwan.com/

Taiwan LGBT Pride = While primarily in Chinese, this is the website for the Taiwan LGBT Pride Community, which helps organize the yearly parade. http://www.twpride.info/

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