2018 has been a mixed year for the LGBT Community in Asia, with several countries seeing outright erosions of LGBT rights and freedoms - and with very negative developments in Indonesia and Malaysia in particular, and recently in Myanmar as well. It has also been disappointing to see two major International Business & Finance Centres in the region, Hong Kong and Singapore, fail to make any real progress on LGBT Equality - in the case of Hong Kong, with its government even fighting the Courts to stop progress and with Singapore still maintaining its colonial era anti-gay law on the statute books.
However, on positive notes, we have very recently seen the Government in Thailand moving forward with same-sex Civil Partnership legislation and The Thailand Tourism Authority endorsing the importance of the LGBT Community by proactively supporting an LGBT Festival. Also, despite the disappointing aspects of Taiwan’s recent public vote, regarding Marriage Equality and an informed and inclusive school curriculum, we are seeing commitment by Taiwan's Government to move forward nevertheless with same-sex marriage legislation in compliance with a prior court judgement.
We obviously hope to see more positive developments in 2019. As we enter the new year, we have no Asian country or region with marriage equality for the LGBT Community. We anticipate that both Thailand and Taiwan will introduce versions of Equal Marriage in the coming year and we also hope that these initiatives will be the start of progress across the wider region. We hope that the challenge to the 377-A colonial-era anti-Gay law in Singapore, led by DJ Big Kid (Johnson Ong), will be successful - and we also hope and that Hong Kong will eventually grasp that if it wishes to continue as a major World City, it needs to recognise the benefits of Diversity and Inclusion and rights for all sections of its Community.
For our Community in Indonesia, Malaysia and other locations where there are significant challenges to the LGBT Community, we hope that either some element of internal common sense and decency or international pressure will manage to at least reduce the nasty threats to our Community there.
Wherever you are, we would like to wish you a Happy New Year and let’s take care of each other as we progress as a Community across Asia.