Tag Archives: Taiwan

Taiwan Court Rejects This Couple’s Request To Register Their Marriage

On Thursday, the Taipei High Administrative Court rejected a lesbian couple looking to register their union.

In 2017, a court ruling gave the government two years to approve a marriage equality law, but sadly no legislations has passed yet.

The couple, Jennifer Lu and Chen Ling, are the third same-sex couple to be turned down by the court since October 2017.

They were part of a group of 30 couples who went to the Zhongzheng District office in 2014 to register as married. After the group was turned away, the women were among three couples who filed suit. (The other two cases were dismissed last year.)

In a statement, the court said household registration offices currently don’t have any legal standing to register same-sex marriages.

Last May, the Constitutional Court issued a landmark ruling requiring the Legislative Yuan to pass marriage equality legislation within 16 months.

Activists are urging the government to move swiftly to comply.

Activist Chi Chia-wei told the court.

“Society recognizes gay people have the same needs. They are normal people wanting to build normal relations and the law should include them.”

The country of 23.5 million will likely be the first in Asia to legalize same-sex marriage.

President Tsai Ing-wen came out in support of marriage equality in 2016, stating, “Every person should be able to look for love freely, and freely seek their own happiness.”

Taiwan, The First Step To Achieve Marriage Equality In Asia

With Asia being the last continent where no country recognizes same-sex marriage, the pressure has been on to see which country will be the one to take the first step towards equality.

Recently the Taiwanese government has delivered great news and even the hope of marriage equality becoming a reality in Taiwan. The Government is currently working on 3 different bills, one of them even supporting marriage equality.

This progression on marriage equality can be partly attributed to the country’s new head of state, Tsai Ing-wen.

Ing-wen, the country’s first female head of state is one of the country’s many supporters of marriage equality, even sharing on Facebook:

Love should allow people to feel free, to feel equal and to feel strong.”

But this move towards marriage equality transcends Ing-Wen, with 80% of Taiwanese between 20 and 29 fully supporting marriage equality (you can check out a study conducted by a Taiwanese University right here).

But exactly why is Taiwan so progressive, compared to other Asian countries? Oddly enough, this could be connected with religion. While most of us are used to seeing religion being used as an argument against marriage equality, the majority of Taiwanese are Buddhists or follow traditional Chinese religions which do not oppose to marriage between two men or two women.

We should get more news on the Government’s decision in the upcoming months but we are hopeful Taiwan will grant its LGBTQ citizens the right and freedom to marry whomever they choose. We can even hope this strong position will pressure other Asian countries to take positive action on this issue.

According to Pride.com, ‘As of May 2016, 23 countries in Asia had placed a ban on same-sex sexual acts, and even more severe, 5 of those countries have anti-LGBT legislation set in place that could lead to the death penalty’.

Change is clearly not just needed but rather necessary.

Good luck Taiwan, stand on the right side of History as a progressive country that provides equal rights to all.


These 6 Countries Are Making Big Strides With LGBT Rights

Across the world, LGBT people face different challenges to their non-LGBT peers. This may be the risk of being fired from your job, being ostracised by your friends and family and even being faced with verbal or physical abuse.

Clearly there is a lot of work that still needs to be done, but with the changing attitudes of LGBT people, some countries are making huge strides.

A new report from The Guardian details some of these steps forward, and the publication also speaks to activists about the positive changes coming to their countries.

Taiwan has a reputation for being the most ‘gay-friendly place in Asia’ and though Victoria Hsu, chief executive officer of the Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights calls this an “illusion”, there is big change on a government level.

The country’s newly elected president, Tsai Ing-Wen, supports same-sex marriage and same-sex couples can record their partnerships at household offices in Taipei, giving them access to more rights. Hsu and other activities are currently lobbying for social housing rights, equal opportunities for government employees and more.

Elsewhere in Asia, Nepal recently allowed people to add a third gender, O, to their passports, as opposed to M or F and in September, it added LGBT protections to its constitution.

Meanwhile, in Vietnam, same-sex marriage is “tolerated” by the state (though same-sex couples don’t have the same rights as opposite sex ones) and in December, a law was passed to allow people who have had reassignment surgery to register as a new gender.

In the Americas, The Guardian highlights big changes in Jamaica and Colombia. A historically, homophobic country (which stems from colonial times), Jamaica still has a law against sodomy but this year, activist Maurice Tomlinson will challenge that law in court.

The country’s justice minister, Mark Golding, and the mayor of Kingston, Angela Brown Burke, have both voiced their support for Pride events. On the other hand, Colombia may be an incredibly Catholic country but its government has voiced its support for marriage equality and late last year, it lifted restrictions on same-sex couples adopting children.

And finally, in 2015, Mozambique decriminalised homosexuality. There are still serious challenges posed LGBT people in the African nation though, as the country’s only gay rights organisation, Lambda, has been waiting for seven years for recognition fro the government (which will give them access to funding and allow them to be tax exempt).

Taiwan Looks to be The First Asian Country to Legalise Same-Sex Marriage

Taiwan’s government’s plans to draft a “same-sex partnership” law, which would make Taiwan the first region in Asia to legalise same-sex marriage.

Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s legalisation of same-sex marriage last month, the authorities in Taiwan have announced that they have decided to draft a same-sex partnership law to mirror with the global trend and keep up with the public’s changing opinion regarding the subject.


Lo Ying-hsueh – head of Taiwan’s judicial body – said the government will put proposed bills regarding same-sex marriage online, allowing the public to vote on them freely.

The results of these votes would then serve as a guide to the government when they make changes to legislature, the Global Times reports.

Last year, an online poll revealed that 68% of the population supported same-sex marriage.


Taiwan’s LGBT community have been campaigning for same-sex unions for years – last week, thousands of supporters flooded the streets of Taipei in a bid to urge the government to change the country’s stance on gay marriage.

And although many welcome a law aimed at giving homosexuals legal protection, some activists have questioned why the government’s decision to draft a completely new law, rather than make amendments to the current marriage law.

Chen Ling – a lesbian as well as gay rights activist – argued

The fact that the government decided to set a new same-sex partnership law discriminates against homosexuals and it shows that homosexual couples are different from heterosexuals.”

Also read: Lesbian Couple in Taiwan Fight Court Over Adoption Rights

However, politicians from the country’s main parties have attempted to quash rumours that the change is simply an attempt to gain votes in the upcoming election and promised that the proposed changes will only strengthen the LGBT community’s place in Taiwanese society.


Hong Chih-kun, a member of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)’s central executive committee said

Taiwan’s gay movement has been active for at least 10 years and many polls show that Taiwan society is mature enough to accept gay marriage.”

DPP chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen said gay marriage reflects equality and upholds human rights, while Hung Hsiu-chu, Kuomintang’s head, also said she maintains an “open and optimistic” attitude toward homosexuality.

The marriage equality bill – which would legalise same-sex marriage and allow married gay couples to adopt children – was reviewed for the first time at the Judiciary Committee in December last year, after the DPP described current laws as discriminatory and unfair.

However, the discussion was put on hold, due to opposition from conservative Christian groups who have formed a network to organise rallies and petition signature collections to lobby against marriage equality.

Singapore Bans Lesbian-themed Song by Jolin Tsa

Singapore has banned the song We’re All Different, Yet The Same by Taiwanese queen of pop, Jolin Tsai.

The video is based on the true story of a lesbian couple who have been together for more than 30 years. When of the women are hospitalized due to old age and required emergency surgery, her partner not able to sign the consent form, because she was not a legal spouse or family member. She then has to call around to try and find her partner’s estranged family members to the sign the form.

Also read: Taiwanese Queen of Pop, Jolin Tsai Tells Touching Lesbian Love Story in New Music Video

The music video has already received a lot of attention in Taiwan, where same-sex marriage is a hot topic.

Singapore’s censorship board, the Media Development Authority, recently issued a document to all TV and radio stations banning the broadcast of the song, which it said promoted gay marriage and therefore contravened Singaporean law.

Gay sex is still technically illegal in the country.

Tsai’s manager said:

Jolin expressed her support for gay marriage through the music of We’re All Different, Yet The Same. She will feel it’s a pity, but respects different opinions.”

Lesbian Couple in Taiwan Fight Court Over Adoption Rights 

A lesbian in Taiwan has been told she can not adopt the children she parents with her partner, because it would have a “negative impact” on them will appeal the landmark case.

Neal Wang, 36, wanted to formally adopt the children that she and her partner of 15 years planned together and now co-parent. Wang’s partner, Ashley Chou, gave birth to their twins – one boy, one girl – who are now three.


Under Taiwanese law, the unmarried partner of a birth mother is not allowed to adopt their child – but the couple had applied as a “de facto” married couple, saying that they want to wed, but are barred as same-sex marriages are illegal.

More: Lesbian Couple in Taiwan Battle for Recognition of Their Two Children

The court ruled against the adoption, citing potential “negative impact” on the children, despite an evaluation from a child welfare group finding Wang fit as an adoptive parent.

Wang spoke to reporters outside the Shihlin district court, as the couple announced their appeal bid.

“I have a healthy family and the children are happy. I don’t understand what the ‘negative impact’ would be. I was there from the beginning when the kids were still eggs and I’ve taken care of them like any other parent.”

The court ruling on Wang’s application also cited a lack of “consensus” on legalizing same-sex marriages.

The ruling said

“There are many objections against homosexual couples adopting children. If the adoption is recognized, the young children will be placed on the front line of the issue and face pressure from the outside, which could have a negative impact on their physical and psychological developments.”

Taiwan holds one of Asia’s biggest annual gay pride parades and its Cabinet drafted a bill in 2003 to legalize same-sex marriages and recognise the rights of homosexual couples to adopt children – the first in Asia to do so.

But the bill was never put to a vote due to lack of consensus among lawmakers.

Another bill to recognize same-sex marriage was sent to parliament in 2013, but advocacy groups say there has been no progress.

Taiwan’s Trans Citizens No Longer Have to Undergo Surgery for Gender Recognition

The topic of reproductive organs in relation to gender has long been a thorny one. So to speak, your sex is defined by what’s between your legs and your gender is defined by what’s between your ears and the two are not mutually exclusive.

However, for many people this does not make sense. In part the belief that those with vaginas are female or that those with penises are male (and you cannot be those genders without the ‘appropriate’ parts) are fuelled by centuries of misunderstanding, along with modern uses of phrases like ‘lady parts’ or ‘man parts’ along with ‘comedy’ videos like this.

But gender and sex are more than just an ideological issues as they provide challenges for those looking to have their gender recognised. Taiwan is one of several recent countries to acknowledge these problems and have now overturned a 2008 administrative order in which trans citizens had to undergo an evaluation by two psychiatrists and have sex reassignment surgery to remove organs deemed by the order as “gender specific”.

The decision comes after pressure from Taiwanese advocates to allow all citizens to self-identity when it comes to their gender. In December 2013, the Ministry of Health and Welfare agreed with their argument and recommended to the Ministry of the Interior that trans* citizens shouldn’t have to jump through surgical hoops just to have their gender identity recognised.

This is a huge stepping stone not just because sex reassignment surgery can be both dangerous and expensive but because having your gender legally recognised is also massively important in terms of administration. For example, trans people can have difficulty in finding housing or employment and often face discrimination, violence and harassment too.

From now on, gender reassignments will be processed by a team of people that includes gender specialists, psychiatrists and and transgender representatives. The ideal goal for many people would just be ‘being granted gender recognition without requiring a committee to approve it first’ but this is a good step in the right direction regardless.

Taiwanese Queen of Pop, Jolin Tsai Tells Touching Lesbian Love Story in New Music Video

Taiwanese queen of pop, Jolin Tsai, showcases a beautiful lesbian love story in her new video about same-sex marriage.

The video is for her new song ‘We’re All Different, Yet the Same’, which is based on the true story of a lesbian couple who have been together for more than 30 years. When of the women are hospitalized due to old age and required emergency surgery, her partner not able to sign the consent form, because she was not a legal spouse or family member. She then has to call around to try and find her partner’s estranged family members to the sign the form.

The music video has already received a lot of attention in Taiwan, where same-sex marriage is a hot topic.

The video focuses on a lesbian marriage where Jolin Tsai kisses Ruby Lin. The kiss was an impromptu suggestion from the director and took an hour to film – WOW!

‘People used to tell me that I look like Ruby Lin. I finally met her today, and we kissed on our first meeting’

Jolin Tsai



Lesbian Couple in Taiwan Battle for Recognition of Their Two Children

Chou Shu-chi and Wang Shu-yi – a lesbian couple in Taiwan are petitioning the local courts to rectify laws which currently bar one of the women from claiming two of their children as her own.

The couple, who have known each other since they were university students and have been together for 15 years, decided four years ago to start a family in Canada. After artificially insemination, Chou gave birth to two children, a girl and a boy.

Chou Shu-chi and Wang Shu-yi

Upon their return to Taiwan, the couple learned that Wang is legally barred from custody of the children she raised and has considered her own since their conception. Taiwan laws forbid and do not recognize marriage between same-sex couples. Therefore the children are technically under the custody of only their living biological mother. Also the laws do not prevent gay singles from adopting children. The couple hope to rectify this, by submitting their case to the Shilin District Court.

The two children are now three years old and are recognized by the couple’s parents, family members and friends as their children, but only Chou is registered as their legal parent in accordance with Taiwan laws.

Wang has expressed her concerns that in the event that something happened to Chou, her children will be taken away, nor would they be able to inherit her assets when she passes away.

Wang hopes to certify her parenthood by applying through court in what would be a landmark case for Taiwan’s custody laws.

A spokesperson for the Taiwan LGBT Family Rights Advocacy said that Wang has already built up strong family ties with the children, but will have to go the route of adoption if she wants to earn legal custody.