Taiwan on the Brink of Marriage Equality

In Taiwan, our culture is not really
used to talking about love or your feelings. Especially when you are before 18 years old. So when I was young, my parents and my teachers always told me, don’t think about anything. The only thing you need to do is study. And go to a good university and your life will win. The Taiwan Tongzhi Hotline Association was founded in 1998. It is dedicated to the achievement of equality for LGBTI people in Taiwan. I have been working in Taiwan Tongzhi Hotline Association for 12 years. Tongzhi means LGBTIQ in Mandarin pronunciation. We don’t have lots of hate crime or
physical bullying in schools. But people just think you don’t exist. Especially when I was young. When I was in senior high school or in the university. A lot of teenagers committed suicide at that time because they don’t have anyone to talk to to discuss their worries and their feelings, their relationship, their love stories. Tongzhi Hotline was the first LGBTI organization in Taiwan and remains its largest. Today, it works across various regions in Taiwan, with offices in Taipei and Kaohsiung. Basically, in the very beginning, I provided
a lot of community services like support group and also phone counseling. And also we helped teenagers who live in the campus who need a support system. And also we helped the parents who have LGBT children. After a few years, I started to think the policy is really important. Two years ago, I tried to win the legislative position in Taiwan. So, I’m also the first—I think I’m the
first—coming out lesbian candidate in Taiwan as well. The Tongzhi Hotline is leading the charge
to make Taiwan the first place in Asia to achieve marriage equality. We want to build a more friendly society. So the best way is marriage equality. However, we do have a very important policy, in 2004. Every student—from elementary school to a senior in high school—they have to take at least four hours of class about gender education. And the gender education includes LGBT education. At that time—you can think 2004—an elementary school student might be seven. Right now, he or she is 20. So in our 20s generation, the percentage of support for marriage equality is really high. It’s over 85 percent. So policy, indeed, impacts people a lot. So we are facing a really serious battle. One side is love and acceptance. And the other side is hatred, fears, and also rumors around Taiwan. So this battle is still going on. So we are trying our best to impact the
middle people, to support us on our side.

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