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23 Oct 2019

Taiwan's LGBT communities face backlash after marriage victory

Education policy targeted as conservatives fear teachers will turn kids gay.

Taiwan, which hosts Asia's biggest Pride event this coming weekend, has long been known for its progressive attitudes toward the LGBT Community.
But now that the island has legalised same-sex marriage, it might come to be known for a conservative backlash against the gay community.
Since May, when Taiwan became the first in Asia to grant marriage equality, conservative groups have been targeting the Gender Equity Education Act of 2004, which originally called for upholding human dignity and gender equality but in recent years has also been used to implement anti-discrimination and LGBT sex education courses.
As a result, LGBT rights activists, who spent years campaigning for marriage equality and were still celebrating their court-mandated victory, have had to campaign for unity all over again.
In May 2017, Taiwan's constitutional court ruled that not allowing same-sex marriage violates constitutional articles pertaining to equality and freedom to marry. It gave the island's legislature two years to legalise same-sex marriage.
That is when the backlash began, with some conservatives arguing that traditional families might feel threatened and that gay partners' rights should be guaranteed by a special law, not by revising civil law.
In a referendum last November, conservatives' proposals won 72% of the vote. Then, six months later, President Tsai Ing-wen's administration followed through by enacting a special law legalising same-sex marriage, but falling short of altering the civil law's existing definition of marriage.
The name of the new law does not even include the word "marriage," out of consideration to conservatives and in recognition that voting for Taiwan's president, vice president and legislators takes place in January.
Indeed, there is reason for Taiwan's incumbent politicians to worry. Rather than be mollified by the compromises, the conservative forces are pushing to roll back the LGBT Community' gains.
Lai Shyh-bao, a lawmaker of the Kuomintang, Taiwan's main opposition party, has vowed to repeal the new law if the KMT takes back the presidency in January.
Also, the anti-LGBT Stability of Power party in September announced it will field 10 candidates in the legislative elections (the legislative Yuan has 113 seats). A party official said it wants to gain enough political leverage to have one of its members named minister of education. From that perch, it would peck away at education policies aimed at deepening students' understanding of LGBT citizens.
But few expect conservative groups' extreme views to prevail. Many Taiwanese, particularly young people, are fine with their LGBT friends' desire for equality.
To read more, click here! 

Taiwan, which hosts Asia's biggest Pride event this coming weekend, has long been known for its progressive attitudes toward the LGBT Community.

But now that the island has legalised same-sex marriage, it might come to be known for a conservative backlash against the gay community.

Since May, when Taiwan became the first in Asia to grant marriage equality, conservative groups have been targeting the Gender Equity Education Act of 2004, which originally called for upholding human dignity and gender equality but in recent years has also been used to implement anti-discrimination and LGBT sex education courses.

As a result, LGBT rights activists, who spent years campaigning for marriage equality and were still celebrating their court-mandated victory, have had to campaign for unity all over again.

In May 2017, Taiwan's constitutional court ruled that not allowing same-sex marriage violates constitutional articles pertaining to equality and freedom to marry. It gave the island's legislature two years to legalise same-sex marriage.

That is when the backlash began, with some conservatives arguing that traditional families might feel threatened and that gay partners' rights should be guaranteed by a special law, not by revising civil law.

In a referendum last November, conservatives' proposals won 72% of the vote. Then, six months later, President Tsai Ing-wen's administration followed through by enacting a special law legalising same-sex marriage, but falling short of altering the civil law's existing definition of marriage.

The name of the new law does not even include the word "marriage," out of consideration to conservatives and in recognition that voting for Taiwan's president, vice president and legislators takes place in January.

Indeed, there is reason for Taiwan's incumbent politicians to worry. Rather than be mollified by the compromises, the conservative forces are pushing to roll back the LGBT Community' gains.

Lai Shyh-bao, a lawmaker of the Kuomintang, Taiwan's main opposition party, has vowed to repeal the new law if the KMT takes back the presidency in January.

Also, the anti-LGBT Stability of Power party in September announced it will field 10 candidates in the legislative elections (the legislative Yuan has 113 seats). A party official said it wants to gain enough political leverage to have one of its members named minister of education. From that perch, it would peck away at education policies aimed at deepening students' understanding of LGBT citizens.

But few expect conservative groups' extreme views to prevail. Many Taiwanese, particularly young people, are fine with their LGBT friends' desire for equality.

To read more, click here! 

Taiwan

Reader's Comments

1. 2019-10-24 01:05  
Yes, I am a conservative, too, and I do strongly believe in the existence of Santa Claus! LOL
2. 2019-10-24 09:59  
Such fears simply arise from abject ignorance about the nature of homosexuality, which is misperceived as being able to be spread, fanned by gross distortions from misinformed seniors.
3. 2019-10-25 03:46  
Christians make up only a small percentage of Taiwan’s population, between 4-5 percent on most estimates, however, Christian groups in the United States is a large part of the anti-LGBTQ opposition in Taiwan. Anti-LGBTQ campaigns are gathering momentum, benefiting from training in U.S. mega-churches.

Disinformation campaigns such as claiming the LGBTQ community creates “moral decay” that threatens Taiwan’s society. These campaigns are exploiting beliefs and scaring citizens; using their widespread traditional views about family values in predominantly Buddhist Taiwan, such as notions of “carrying on the bloodline”. Even more, Christians groups are distributing fake news about falsehoods that marriage equality would lead to incest or bestiality, an increase in HIV rates, and an end to population growth.

These actions are one of the many reasons Religions should be heavily monitored, lawfully controlled, and their tax exemption stopped.

It is ironic that people traveled in droves to the United States of America, not too long ago, to escape the persecution of their freedom of choice in religion and/or other things and now the decedents from the very same people are going globally and doing what their ancestors escaped from. It is hypocritical at the very least and at the worst, it is criminal!
4. 2019-10-25 07:46  
These so-called Christians will never simply pack up and go away. Sad to say that we can never let our guard down. Fortunately, attitudes are changing worldwide to varying degrees and countries like Taiwan show us that progress can be made.
5. 2019-10-27 19:45  
We are still waiting on that swarm of locusts in the UK, then again Boris Johnson may be divine punishment!
6. 2019-10-28 01:46
Doesn't surprise me one little bit. I lived in Singapore for 8 years. What always killed me was that they were much more accepting of transvestites than they were gay people.

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