Last month, over 80,000 lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and their supporters marched in the 13th Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade (台灣同志遊行). Turnout was historic, as the parade has become the second largest LGBT event in Asia and the Middle East, after the Tel Aviv Gay Pride Parade.
A number of events were also held last month to celebrate LGBT pride, including the Taiwan International Queer Film Festival (台灣國際酷兒影展), the Hand in Hand Asian LGBT Choral Festival, which featured over 150 vocalists from around the world, and the ILGA-Asia Conference, the largest of its kind in Asia with 300 activists from over 30 countries.
In the past, most foreign participants were from neighboring countries. But this year, many hailed from the West. According to the Taiwan LGBT Pride (台灣同志遊行聯盟), organizer of the parade, over 5,000 foreign participants took part in the parade and related international events. And thanks to the foreign media’s coverage, the parade successfully boosted the global visibility of Taiwan’s LGBT community.
“The Taiwan LGBT Pride Parade is a famous international event. I want to be part of it to show support,” said Father Silas of the Romanian Orthodox Church during his visit to Taipei. Silas posed nude for the Orthodox Calendar this year to protest homophobia and show his support for the LGBT community.
Meanwhile, some presidential and legislative candidates promised to protect LGBT rights should they be elected.
On the day of the parade, the Ministry of Justice completed the nation’s largest online vote to date on same-sex marriage, which will serve as a reference for policymaking. More than 310,000 people participated in the three-month vote, which was held between Aug. 3 and Oct. 31 on the government’s Public Policy Network Participation Platform (公共政策網路參與平台).
The poll revealed that 59 percent support legal protection for same-sex couples, 71 percent support a same-sex marriage act and 45 percent support a same-sex partnership act, where gay couples are offered certain rights enjoyed by married couples, instead of full marriage rights.
These figures clearly show that support for same-sex marriage has surged to a new high compared with a 2013 poll.
TIME TO ACT
For that poll, the ministry commissioned the Police Research Association (中華警政研究學會) to conduct a study on the feasibility of same-sex marriage legislation. The results showed that 53.7 percent of respondents agreed that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry, and 61.1 percent said that married same-sex couples should be allowed to adopt children.
In response, the association recommended that the ministry push for marriage equality legislation.
However, when the legislature commenced discussion of the draft bill for marriage equality last year, not only did the ministry ignore the association’s recommendations, it also called same-sex marriage “an ethical violation of human relations” in its report to the legislature.
With the results of this new poll showing support for marriage equality increasing from 53.7 percent to 71 percent within a few years, will the ministry continue to groundlessly criticize it while ignoring public opinion?
Some politicians and officials claim that Taiwanese are not ready for same-sex marriage. But the results of the ministry’s own polls clearly show that the majority of Taiwanese are. It’s about time our politicians faced up to this reality.
Sept.13 to Sept.19 Fu Pei-mei (傅培梅) leafed through the telephone book and jotted down the address of every prestigious Taipei restaurant she could find. She then mailed out her request: “Seeking famous chefs to learn cooking from, high pay.” A star student from a wealthy family in Japanese-occupied Manchuria, Fu never bothered with cooking growing up. After fleeing her hometown at the age of 15 due to the Chinese Civil War, she eventually ended up in Taiwan, where she held a number of clerical jobs in Taipei. She enjoyed office work, especially since the company provided meals. This was the 1950s, however, and
Last week the Transitional Justice Commission proposed taking down the statue of Chang Kai-shek (蔣介石) at Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in central Taipei. It depicted the move as part of a plan for excising markers of authoritarianism from the park. The most important task, the commission said, would be removing the hall’s “axis of worship,” the 6.3m-tall bronze statue of Chiang. Let us hope that if and when that obscenity is finally removed from the memorial, it is placed in the famed Cihu Memorial Sculpture Garden in Taoyuan’s Dasi District (大溪), where it can be properly mocked for all eternity. CHIANG,
The pandemic seems to be far from over, but the Post Pandemic Renaissance Theater (PPRT) is getting a head start by putting on its first event last Friday: the first round of the Taiwan Monologue Slam. Ten contestants delivered passionate and nuanced pieces on stage, and the audience voted with their phones for two winners who will advance to the local finals in November. There will be four finals in the next year, and each winner is automatically entered into the World Monologue Games regional finals, bypassing the preliminaries. The goal is to eventually get a Taiwan team to next summer’s games,
As dozens of pro-China lawmakers in Hong Kong’s legislature stood up in May to heap praise on a bill giving Beijing an effective veto over candidates in the city’s elections, only one legislator condemned the move. “Cronyism will be the primary prerequisite for this election,” said Cheng Chung-tai, by then the legislature’s sole directly elected opposition member, after the others had either resigned or been removed. “Corruption is bound to happen,” he told the assembly at the time. By late last month, Cheng had been stripped of his seat by the committee he had criticized, which ruled that he didn’t “genuinely uphold”