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  • Writer's pictureNatalie Tai

LGBTQ+ VISIBILITY IN TAIWAN

Updated: Jul 2, 2021

A global crises living in Asia's most progressive nation.

This article is aimed to address situations prominent in the Christian community and in no means is directed to all faithful followers, neither to the religion in its base. If you find any of the below content insensitive, inappropriate, or dangerous to audience members, feel free to fill out the message section via the bottom of the main page. Thank you in advance.


Key Takeaways


The practice of conversion therapy is discredited by every major health organization in the world as of its ineffectiveness and lethal hazards to participants enrolled in the program.


Taiwan’s government has addressed the issue of conversion therapy in Taiwan, explaining how practitioners would be punished by existing laws.


Queer indigenous identities in Taiwan strive for visibility and oftentimes struggle with the conflict of cultural and personal identity.


The 2020 Taiwan Pride Parade celebrated a monumental milestone in the establishment of the nation’s first LGBTQ+ indigenous alliance.


Surveyed by the Civil Affairs Bureau of the Taipei City Government in 2012 towards students of Taipei City reported over 12% of students have personally experienced homophobic discrimination, almost 14% have witnessed it, and 40% having heard of bullying and harassment towards queer people on campus.


According to a 2011 online poll conducted from elementary to high schoolers, over 30% of respondents had been bullied by gender while almost 80% had witnessed gender bullying among the periods of middle school life.


The Taiwanese government is in ally of the queer community and has allocated funds towards LGBTQ-friendly facilities.


The Taiwanese president has publicly addressed a message of support for same-sex marriage.


Regulations for blood-donating remains unjust for gay people in Taiwan.


Taiwan's Pride



Caped in prideful streaks of color, sashaying the streets in love and liberty, Taiwan stands head held high when it comes to the topic of LGBT progressiveness and cultural acceptance. The nation has earned its place as the most LGBTQ+ friendly nation in all of Asia, being the first Asian country to legalize same-sex marriage in 2019 with several other legislatures set in place in ally of the queer community. With the continuous efforts of Taiwan’s progressive democracy, the nation’s works to protect the spirit of the law in which preaches equality and inclusivity among society is recognized on a global scale and continues to thrive as Taiwan holds its 18th annual pride celebration amidst a global pandemic.


Every rainbow lies in the wake of storm as every revolution comes with the strife of war. Sociocultural invalidation and prejudice against the queer community still lives on in the nooks and crannies of society’s darkest corners. As the struggles of the queer community live on at a global scope, there is still a significant inadequacy of resources and research that goes into Taiwan’s LGBTQ+ social issues, making people of our society oblivious to the problematically prevalent yet unspoken loopholes of the Taiwanese society.


Conversion Therapy in Taiwan


The division between church and state has skyrocketed developments in the humanities of our civilization yet still remains taboo among the communities striving to seek a middle ground. While this border between lawful intervention to religious denominations is still blurred in some areas, the bottommost foundation of all religions overlaps greatly in similarities among value and teachings. In the shadows of piety lie practices that go against the unprecedented intentions and beliefs of any religion, the omitted values of respect and kindness. The extent of which has no excuse or reason to be performed whatsoever, but it’s shocking widespread continues to devastate people and their families at staggering rates.


Same-sex attraction or homosexual tendencies are oftentimes interpreted from ancient religious texts as trespassing zones due to their argued demonic connotation inscribed in many of today’s bibles. Mostly rooted to the Christian religion, “Conversion Therapy” or “Reparative Therapy” claims a promise to “cure” homosexuality, a sin that some believe will impede one, if not repented, from entering the gates of heaven. Though these arguments carried against same-sex attraction originate from ancient texts that have been translated over a variety of languages and in terms are vulnerable to subjective mistranslation or misinterpretation, people today still stand firm on a lot of their beliefs in regards to homosexuality being sinful and impure. Breaking down the controversy of the queer community in religion, historians have long debunked the Christian bible’s disapproval of homosexuality, suggesting that the book was most likely addressing gross abuses of pedophilia as oppose to the commonplace impression of same-sex attraction.



The risks accompanying the naked lie of homosexual exorcism extends far beyond the trashed youth and cash put into the church. The likelihood of suicide, drug-abuse, and major depression among victims of conversion therapy is dauntingly high. In fact, victims of conversion therapy are 8 times more likely to attempt suicide while over 6 times more likely to report high levels of depression. Practitioners of these therapy camps perform exercises of extreme physical, sexual, and psychological abuse through electric therapy, sketchy medical procedures, and even heterosexual conditioning, leaving the scars and memories to haunt victims for life.


Having been discredited by medical and mental health professionals for decades, several US states have taken it into their own hands to rule conversion therapy as unconstitutional. Regardless, the practice is still accessible in several US states and nations around the world. Global momentum has grown as the methods practiced in conversion therapy facilities are surfaced to the media, urging countries to unite and discuss protocols in the protection of LGBTQ+ youth and young adults. The Taiwanese government has since responded to a proposed ban by explaining how practitioners could already be punished by existing laws, paving way for measures to be taken in the near future


Queer Aboriginal Identities



The turbulent journey of seeking visibility among Taiwan’s aboriginal population furthermore hurdles communities like the LBGTQ+ to recognize the existence of queer aboriginals; seeking validation and acceptance for queer aboriginal identities oftentimes are pushed to being impossible. Conventional values and tradition dominate a huge portion of aboriginal culture in Taiwan. Though the strong ties back to tradition have molded Taiwan’s cultural identity, it is beyond important to recognize how foundational values as such aren’t an all-fitting solution and moral-guide to cover all aspects of modern life.


The 2020 Taipei Pride Festival brought the nation to meet some monumental milestones from overcoming a pandemic’s hurdle to finally shedding light on some of the most overlooked minority groups living on the island of Taiwan. With an exceptional invitation to Taiwan’s first LGBTQ+ Aboriginal association, Taiwan Indigenous LGBTQ Alliance, the struggles for queer aboriginals were finally voiced for in solidarity, inspiring queer aboriginals and allies around the country to love freely for others and most importantly, themselves. These accomplishments are to be celebrated but beyond important it is that the grey areas that have trailed behind still need to be fought against. Every point of the way is crucial and every fighter makes a difference.


Homophobia in Education


School is a safe space for many but a battleground for others. Unlike many countries of the western world, homophobia hate crimes for young members of the LGBTQ+ community is most commonly prevalent among peer to peer interaction where a culture of same-sex discrimination and gender stereotypes are normalized. Educational facilities like schools are breeding grounds for homophobic toxicity as well as gender-based bullying.


A survey conducted by the Civil Affairs Bureau of the Taipei City Government in 2012 towards students of Taipei City reported that over 12% of students have personally experienced homophobic discrimination and belittling, almost 14% have witnessed it, and 40% have heard of bullying and harassment towards queer people on campus. Not only is the problem of sexuality-based prejudice common among teenagers and adolescents, the statistics on gender-based bullying among elementary school students are staggering. According to a 2011 online poll conducted for elementary to high schoolers, over 30% had been bullied by gender while almost 80% had witnessed gender bullying among middle school life. With this data having been proved as underestimating, these social crises that could very well be witnessed through our interpersonal experiences have led the Taiwanese government to mandate “gender equality education” for all primary and high schools. It is through lessons like kids receive information and education to explore and learn their authenticity. It is returning back to the core of what the education system was built for from the start. It is the expelling of guilt and fear, the empowerment and validation, that has the power to bring the world into middle grounds of equality and acceptance.


The Place of Us



Taiwan’s history of LGBT progressiveness has started early since the late 1900s. With now Asia’s first female president running in the office, the nation’s works towards marriage-equality and gender inclusivity have grown exponentially. Practices of homophobic hate and discrimination have been outlawed with rising efforts in normalizing same-sex attraction and the unconformity to traditional gender-stereotypes being brought to schools. The Taiwanese government has allocated specific funds towards organizations like adoption centers, surrogacy facilities, and the annual pride festival, most importantly having publicly spoken out of her support towards marriage equality.


LGBT bookstores, gender-inclusive bathrooms, and cultural spaces are just some examples of queer safe havens in Taipei; however, this does not cover up the fact that many areas of equality are still in lack among queer folks such as the right to donate blood just as cis-hetero individuals do. In addition, sociocultural barriers from Chinese tradition and religious pressures remain as hurdles for people’s journey towards outcoming and self-acceptance.

With such grievous prevalence of insensitivity towards the LGBTQ+ community from day to day life, much of the power for change lies within the hands of youth who believe in love and kindness in allyship of the queer community. Preach love with love and kindness with kindness.


Visit Taiwan’s first LGBTQ+ support group “Hotline” for resources and information


For more information regarding Taiwan’s LGBTQ+ History




For more information about conversion therapy



Resources


“2017 Taiwan LGBTI Human Rights Policy Review Report”, Hotline Taiwan, 2017, https://hotline.org.tw/sites/hotline.org.tw/files/20180103_Ren_Quan_Bao_Gao_A4_Zhong_Wen_Ban_pages.pdf. Accessed 28 November 2020.


“About Conversion Therapy”, The Trevor Project, https://www.thetrevorproject.org/get-involved/trevor-advocacy/50-bills-50-states/about-conversion-therapy/. Accessed 28 November 2020.


“LGBTQ Movement in Taiwan”, Of Taiwan, 2020, https://oftaiwan.org/social-movements/lgbtq-movement-in-taiwan/. Accessed 28 November 2020.


Savage, Rachel. “As survivors speak out, 9 countries seek to ban ‘conversion therapy’”, Reuters, 26 February 2020, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-global-lgbt-health-trfn-idUSKBN20K00T. Accessed 28 November 2020.


“The Lies and Dangers of Efforts to Change Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity”, Human Rights Campaign, https://www.hrc.org/resources/the-lies-and-dangers-of-reparative-therapy. Accessed 28 November 2020.

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